Three Astros Who Will Be Even Better in 2023...And Two Who May Take a Step Back

World Series - Houston Astros v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Five
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Framber Valdez
World Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Houston Astros - Game Six / Rob Carr/GettyImages

Worse; Framber Valdez

Before we all lose our collective minds, I am not saying Framber Valdez will be bad in 2023. Quite the opposite in fact.

Valdez was dominant in 2022. He finished top-five in the AL Cy Young voting after setting a league-record for consecutive quality starts. The ground-ball machine carved up opposing lineups.

His propensity to induce ground balls is exactly why Valdez may stick a step back in 2023. His 2.82 ERA outperformed his 3.31 xERA. He has had a lower xERA than actual ERA each of the last three seasons. His ability to get out of trouble with double play balls into the shift kept many a crooked number off the board.

Framber's xERA would still be top-25 in the game. He and Javier still make for an incredibly formidable 1-2 punch at the front of the rotation. But with a 66% groundball rate, it's fair to say no pitcher may miss the shift more than Valdez.