Analyzing Four Potential Breakout Candidates for the Astros in 2023
1) Luis Garcia
Three years into his big league career, Luis Garcia has largely been overshadowed by the rest of the Astros rotation. He's most known throughout the league for his now banned "rock the baby" wind-up.
With the side-shuffle windup out of the way, look for this to be the year Garcia distinguishes himself not for his footwork on the mound, but just his work in general.
Luis was really solid in 2021, playing a big piece for an Astros staff without Justin Verlander. He finished with a 3.48 ERA and made some big playoff starts. A case can be made that 2022 was a bit of a letdown for Garcia. His ERA jumped to 3.78 and he was incredibly erratic month-to-month.
The regular season letdown can be forgiven for his ALDS Game 3 heroics. Garcia entered the game in the bottom of the 13th and didn't give the ball back until he had closed it out in the 18th. He threw five scoreless innings, yielding only two hits. He basically made a full-blown start without having any idea he'd be entering the game.
Look for that to be the Garcia that carries over into 2023. The Astros will begin the season without Lance McCullers Jr. Justin Verlander is in New York. Houston is in need of a pitcher to step up and go six innings every time out, preserving their dominant bullpen.
Don't be surprised if Garcia blows past his career high of 157.1 innings and earns his first AL all-star nod. Luis Garcia will be the next dominant Astros arm to make his presence felt on a national stage.