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The Future: Astros 2022 Pitching Rotation

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The Houston Astros in recent years have had some really great pitching rotations. They’ve featured some Cy Young Award winners, World Series Champions, and All-Stars. With the 2022 season (hopefully) starting soon, what can we expect from the Astros rotation this year?

Who’s In, Who’s Out?

The MLB is currently in the middle of a lockout which has halted all major transactions across the league. The Astros however, were able to make some moves before the lockout occurred, most notably resigning future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander to a one-year $25 million deal with a player option for 2023. This move helps to upgrade Houston’s rotation but also left some questions as to who will be in the rotation.

As it stands, the rotation would look similar to this,

Assuming the lockout ends soon, Houston can still make some moves to upgrade this rotation if necessary. The Astros will be without former pitching coach Brent Strom after he declared his retirement but ultimately became the pitching coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks, however,, they promoted assistant pitching coach Josh Miller to fill the role.

Miller will have to definitely coach the young guns Valdez, Garcia, and Urquidy if Houston wants to have any pitching success in 2022.

Fight or Flight

The Astros 2022 rotation may look intimidating, but there are still some questions that need to be answered such as “Will Verlander return to his 2019 form?”, “Will McCullers regress?”, and ” Can the young guys stay consistent?”. All of which are great questions, but the answers may be a bit difficult.

Most starting pitchers coming off Tommy John surgery typically don’t return to their full form during their first season back, but that might not be the case for Justin Verlander. During his showcase earlier this offseason, Astros general manager James Click stated that Verlander, ” Looks like himself” after Verlander pitched for the first time in thirteen months. So to answer the question, Verlander will be good, but don’t expect to see him back to his 2019 form for at least another year.

Lance McCullers Jr had arguably his best season yet in 2021. McCullers finished the season with a 3.16 earned run average with 11 wins and a career-high 185 strikeouts. With all McCullers did last season, will he regress? My answer is no. McCullers will continue to shine in 2022 with the return of Verlander meaning that McCullers won’t be carrying the load. McCullers has some of the nastiest breaking pitches in the game today, so expect him to continue putting up big numbers.

One of the biggest surprises of 2021 for the Astros was the emergence of their young pitchers. Yes, they had their moments when they struggled, but Valdez, Garcia, and Urquidy all came through when needed the most, but will they stay this consistent? Everyone struggles at some point, but it’s how you react and bounce back that matters, and the young pitchers know that all too well. Expect the young guys to put up some good numbers as they continue to build up experience, one pitcher, in particular, to keep an eye out for is rookie sensation, Luis Garcia.

The Astros pitching has the ability to be a legendary group, but we can’t predict the future, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

Final Thoughts

The Astros rotation should be better in 2022. They have two-time Cy Young winner Justin Verlander returning, as well as having their younger guys continuing to build experience and become better pitchers. This bunch can lead the “Stros to the postseason, but how far will they go this year?

As always you can find me on Twitter @KeganCrawford for more of my content.

main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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