#5: Hunter Brown
Houston’s top prospect, Hunter Brown will be the Astros fifth starter. Brown is coming off of a dominant season in AAA in which he won the PCL Pitcher of the Year.
He was blocked by how many dominant arms the Astros had, but did receive a late season call-up when rosters expanded, and went 2-0 over his seven appearances with a 0.89 ERA, pitching his way onto the playoff roster.
Brown still battles command issues at times, and has been somewhat erratic this Spring. He looked better in his third start, working with his AAA battery-mate in Korey Lee.
Though his mechanics eerily resemble those of his childhood idol and former teammate Justin Verlander, the Astros don’t need Brown to replace the 2022 Cy Young winner atop the rotation. But if Brown can eat 135-150 quality innings with an ERA between 3.50-3.90, that’s a big win for Houston. Anything else is just a cherry on top.