Astros somehow gifted incredible spot on CBS' starting rotation rankings for 2024

Championship Series - Texas Rangers v Houston Astros - Game Six
Championship Series - Texas Rangers v Houston Astros - Game Six / Bob Levey/GettyImages

There's no question that the Houston Astros' rotation has some real upside. Justin Verlander is a legend and future Hall of Famer and Framber Valdez is among the best lefties in the entire league.

They also have a pretty decent back end of the rotation with Cristian Javier firmly in the No. 3 spot and Hunter Brown, JP France, Jose Urquidy, Spencer Arrighetti, and others all competing in camp for Opening Day jobs. Combine them with Lance McCullers Jr. and Luis Garcia (hopefully) returning this season from injury, and there's a lot to like.

However, when you think about the Astros' rotation versus the rest of the league, it does seem to be more of a top-10 unit than one of the absolute best in baseball. Sure, if everything breaks their way, the starters could be a dominant group and be among the game's elite rotations, but that is asking a lot when Verlander is fighting off Father Time and at least 40% of the rotation has yet to be settled down at camp.

Nevertheless, the fine folks at CBS Sports decided to make the leap and placed Houston's rotation as the second-best in all of baseball behind only the Braves heading into the 2024 season.

CBS Sports gave the Astros' rotation almost perfect marks for some reason

Even in looking at their reasoning for putting the Astros' starters at No. 2 doesn't provide much in the way of actual answers. All of the questions raised above were asked point blank, but CBS decided to bet that everything was indeed going to break the Astros' way, and we certainly hope they are right.

That said, it does feel like some other teams have some strong cases to be ranked ahead of Houston here. The Phillies have Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola at the top of their rotation which at least matches what the Astros have in Verlander and Valdez. Plus, Philly also has Ranger Suarez and Taijuan Walker behind them. The Yankees also have a strong argument if their outstanding questions/concerns about their rotation get the same optimism that the Astros' did. The Mariners, Blue Jays, and Diamondbacks all have formidable starting groups as well that were ranked behind Houston here.

Ultimately, these rankings don't matter all that much until guys actually perform on the field. Still, it's fair to wonder about the thought process here especially with so much unknown about the Astros' starting staff heading into the 2024 season. Don't get us wrong, Houston fans will take all the good news they can get, but it may be wise to temper one's expectations instead of buying into a single hype piece.

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