Houston Astros First Half Report Card

With the first half of the 2023 season all but in the books, here is how the Astros grade out so far.

Houston Astros v Texas Rangers
Houston Astros v Texas Rangers / Sam Hodde/GettyImages
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Houston Astros Starting Pitching: B+

Despite losing Justin Verlander from their rotation, the Astros rotation has performed surprisingly well in 2023. In 85 games this season, Astros starters have put up 7.0 fWAR which is good for a three-way tie for 7th in all of baseball. By FIP, the news has been less good as Houston's rotation ranks 12th in the league at 4.23 this season. However, the results on the field have been better than that as their ERA as a team is fourth in MLB at 3.71.

A majority of the heavy lifting has been done by Framber Valdez who has become one of the best pitchers in the league. His 3.0 fWAR is top 4 in the league and he has posted a 2.49 ERA in 16 starts this season. Hunter Brown has performed well as well with a 3.76 ERA and 3.44 FIP in 91 innings this season.

Unfortunately, injuries have cost Houston in their starting rotation as well. Lance McCullers Jr. and Luis Garcia are out for the season after both of them had surgery on their throwing arms. Jose Urquidy has also been out since late April with shoulder inflammation, but at least it sounds like he is about to head back out on rehab assignment and should return in July.

Given all of the injuries they have dealt with, earning a B+ is nothing to be ashamed of. Valdez is putting together a special season for Houston at the moment to, but there is just an understandable lack of depth at starting pitcher to grade them any higher than this. Hopefully Houston adds at least one starter at the deadline to help them out. At the very least, getting Urquidy back should provide a boost assuming he pitches well upon his return.