Power Ranking the Four Astros Pitchers That Need to Step Up Most While Lance McCullers Recovers

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J.P. France
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JP France

A 14th round draft pick, JP France has turned heads in the Astros organization and was just added to the 40-man roster last year to protect from the Rule 5 Draft. The Mississippi State product has worked as both a starter and a reliever, starting 53 minor league games and coming on in relief in 41. 

His versatility could go a long way in weathering a storm like the loss of McCullers. Additionally, he’s gotten better as time has gone on, lowering his minor league ERA with his promotion. In 2 AAA seasons, France is 9-5 with a 3.77 ERA and has started 28 games. He got off to a bit of a bumpy start, but finished strong in 2022, throwing 73 innings from June through September and posting a 2.96 ERA over those four months. 

France may be the least likely name to contribute on this list, but if he can take another step forward, the Astros have another Luis Garcia/Seth Martinez that emerges out of the minors as an unheralded arm but makes key contributions and proves themselves as a needed contributor. If that’s the route France goes, the Astros rotation and bullpen are bolstered even further.