Astros’ rotation could get huge boost thanks to top prospect’s strong spring

Hooks' Spencer Arrighetti pitches during a homestand against the Sod Poodles at Whataburger Field on
Hooks' Spencer Arrighetti pitches during a homestand against the Sod Poodles at Whataburger Field on / Angela Piazza/Caller-Times / USA TODAY

The Houston Astros' rotation should eventually be in a good spot in 2024 despite some setbacks this spring. Justin Verlander and JP France are dealing with some shoulder soreness, but both pitchers are still getting work in down at camp and seem like they're only slightly behind.

With Verlander, Framber Valdez, and Cristian Javier manning the top of the rotation, Houston has the luxury of being able to experiment a little with how to fill out the rest of their starting staff.

France remains an option assuming he can get back on track health-wise; Hunter Brown will likely be a favorite for one spot despite his issues in the second half of 2023; and Jose Urquidy will almost certainly get a look.

However, one top prospect down at spring training is turning some heads already and it definitely sounds like manager Joe Espada expects him to help the team out at some point in 2024.

Spencer Arrighetti is showing out early at Astros' spring training

It's important to note that early spring training impressions are just that and nothing more. Spencer Arrighetti is a known commodity at this point as an Astros' prospect -- he's been a top pitching prospect in their system for a while now. He misses bats, has a fastball that really jumps on hitters, and has a pair of solid breaking balls (especially his sweeper/slider) to keep hitters off balance. There is a lot to like.

Still, in his first big league camp, Arrighetti has not only been busy soaking up all the big league coaching around him, but he's firmly finding himself on the Astros' radar for 2024. Arrighetti already pitched his way to Triple-A last season and, assuming he pitches well this spring, he will get closely evaluated for a rotation spot despite the fact he isn't on the 40-man roster and has some stiff competition.

The key is actually performing in games, though. Everyone already knows that Arrighetti's stuff should play against big league hitters. However, he has battled command issues in the minor leagues and MLB hitters are generally very good at their jobs. Learning how to prepare for starts against the best of the best and make adjustments during games is a huge part of being an MLB starter.

We won't know if Arrighetti is ready to make that jump until he's up against hitters that won't care about damaging his confidence, but he's off to a great start this spring.

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