Astros' ace not named to top 10 Starting Pitcher list
Here we are again, back at it with the Astros getting overlooked, discredited and ignored. Who knows, maybe after a seventh straight ALCS, third straight pennant, and third World Series title in five trips they’ll start getting their respect.
MLB Network has spent the offseason ranking their top 10 players at each position. Some they’ve nailed, others they’ve whiffed on entirely. There was some pushback from Astros fans when Jeremy Peña wasn’t named a Top 10 shortstop, but they also listed Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez as the best at their position.
That said, their most egregious miss yet just happened. The MLB just named their top 10 starters in the game:
1) Corbin Burnes
2) Justin Verlander
3) Carlos Rodon
4) Max Scherzer
5) Sandy Alcantara
6) Shohei Ohtani
7) Max Fried
8) Zack Wheeler
9) Jacob DeGrom
10) Julio Urías
Noticeably absent from the list: Framber Valdez.
It must be said, the starting pitching position is unbelievably loaded in today’s game. There are 15-20 names that probably belong on the list. Trimming it down is almost impossible.
But how does Valdez not make the list. Did any of these 10 pitchers set the record for consecutive quality starts in a season? Any of those arms go 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA in the postseason? How about a 1.46 ERA in the World Series with a 0.89 WHIP and 13.1 K/9? Nope, that would be Framber.
201.1 innings pitched led the AL and were top-five in the game. His three complete games were the second most in baseball. No pitcher in the game has the combination of regular season dominance, postseason dominance and going deep into games every time they take the ball. He received a first team All-MLB nod for his work in 2022.
Names like Burnes, Verlander and Alcantara are locks. So should Valdez.
One of the more curious inclusions over Valdez was Wheeler. They finished with identical 2.82 ERAs. But Valdez threw 48.1 more innings. When they went head to head in the World Series, Valdez took home the win in both games 2 and 6. Care to guess who took the loss? The same pitcher that left the World Series with a 5.23 ERA—Wheeler.
Additionally, naming Rodon as high as three was a miss. He is no doubt a dominant pitcher, but if Jacob DeGrom gets punished for injury, how does Rodon not? He has thrown 310.2 innings the last two seasons, and in his lone playoff appearance, lost his velocity because his arm was fatigued and didn't last even three innings. His 2.88 ERA was also higher than Framber's.
Plenty of deserving candidates were left off the list. Names like Gallen and Manoah have a case. But there is no argument for leaving Valdez off this list.
All offseason the Astros have been disrespected. The good news is, pennants don’t get hung for these off-season media panels. They got hung for World Series titles. Framber will bring home another one of those in 2023. Maybe then he’ll get his deserved respect and find his place on next year’s list.