Jose Urquidy’s adjustment to pitch tipping last year could save Astros rotation

Astros fans may notice some big changes from Jose Urquidy in 2024.

Oct 23, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros pitcher Jose Urquidy (65) throws during the eighth
Oct 23, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros pitcher Jose Urquidy (65) throws during the eighth / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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There have been plenty of Houston Astros players that have seen their production dip or even crater over the years. Sometimes that happens because of age, sometimes it is because of injury, and then there are guys that simply lose their edge. When more than one of those things happens, that's generally a sign big changes need to happen or a guy needs to find another way to make a living.

However, there are also times when players are just making one slight error with outsized consequences, and that's never more true than when the intent is telegraphed to the other team by something said player is doing. For hitters, if they set up a certain way when they are going to swing versus when they are going to take a pitch, MLB pitchers are going to eat them alive. For pitchers, if they alter their setup or delivery based on the pitches they are throwing, they are going to get punished by MLB hitters.

For Jose Urquidy, it became apparent that something was amiss late last season. Sure, most of his struggles in 2023 stemmed from his shoulder injury, but he couldn't get the proper feedback from hitters upon returning. However, he soon figured out that he had started tipping his pitches and had to use some cagey pitch clock management to work around it in the playoffs.

Now, Urquidy has made some changes to his delivery to not only prevent him from tipping his pitches, but also to help him reclaim his former glory and stay healthy.

Astros' rotation could be off to the races if Jose Urquidy's adjustment pays off

The Astros' rotation is already in a pretty good spot. While true depth is an issue, having Justin Verlander and Framber Valdez at the top with Cristian Javier chipping in with some encouraging young arms is a good place to be.

However, Urquidy experiencing a true resurgence could make the Astros look brilliant for not moving him this offseason, as was rumored from time to time. Even if Urquidy can get back to being the guy he was before 2023, who averaged a 3.74 ERA in his first four seasons, Houston all of a sudden has one of the deepest rotations in baseball, especially if Spencer Arrighetti can keep up his production in camp.

It remains to be seen whether or not that will actually happen, though. According to Urquidy, the changes he has made will help keep him healthy, prevent him from tipping his pitches, and allow his stuff to play up.

However, Urquidy is not a perfect pitcher even at his best and is coming off a season where he missed significant time with a shoulder issue, so the damage may already be done. Fans can't say they don't like the adjustments, so maybe that's all that's needed for him to get back to his usual self.

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