Dream Astros starting rotation for the 2024 season

With free agency now open and trades possible at any point in time, let's take a look at the Astros dream rotation for 2024.
Championship Series - Houston Astros v Texas Rangers - Game Three
Championship Series - Houston Astros v Texas Rangers - Game Three / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages
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#2: Framber Valdez

Framber Valdez woke up at the All-Star break cruising to a top finish for the AL Cy Young. In fact, had Dusty Baker not wanted to rest Valdez, he would have started the All-Star Game for the AL.

Then the second half implosion happened. After a 2.51 first half ERA, Valdez recorded a 4.66 second-half ERA. This could be attributed to the pitch clock, it could be attributed to having every one of his starts caught by the worst defensive catcher in the MLB, and it could be attributed to his increase in velocity diminishing the effectiveness of his sinker.

The answer likely is evenly distributed across all three.

After carrying an incredible workload over the last three seasons, Valdez can use this off-season to rest and reset. Bad second half or not, he's still the same pitcher that dominated the 2022 postseason, finished top-five in Cy Young voting in 2022, and has one of the most durable arms in the game.

With a contract extension and potential free agency looming, look for first-half Valdez to show up again in 2024. If he's on, very few pitchers on the planet are better. When Framber is clicking, there are very few #2's in the game better.