5 Astros storylines to follow as 2022 season begins

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Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports /

How will Justin Verlander pitch in 2022?

While it was initially reported as a two-year deal with the Astros when Verlander reupped with the team, it’s actually a one-year deal, with a player option for a second year if Verlander reaches 130 innings.

Over his career, Verlander has averaged 6.2 innings in his 454 starts, but he’s also never come off of Tommy John surgery. Manger Dusty Baker has already indicated the Astros will watch Verlander closely, especially early.

Verlander looked fantastic this spring, striking out 15 of the 55 batters he faced, giving up 11 hits and four walks enroute to a 1.32 ERA. With the absence of Lance McCullers Jr. for an unknown period of time, the Astros will need at least 130 innings from Verlander in 2022.