Who will start for the Astros in 2022?

HOUSTON – In addition to determining who will be their shortstop in 2022, whether it be Puerto Rican free agent Carlos Correa or another player, the Astros will look to acquire at least one experienced starter this winter. Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke are also free agents and are unlikely to return, although Houston is expected to make an attempt to renew with Verlander.

As the Astros wait to make their first impact move of the winter, here’s a look at who could make their rotation in 2022:

1. RHP Lance McCullers Jr.

McCullers had a solid season in 2021, going 13-5 with a 3.16 ERA in 28 starts in the regular season. It was the best year of his career, in which he reached career highs in wins, starts, innings pitched (162.1) and strikeouts, while finishing with the third-best ERA in the American League.

McCullers, who signed a five-year, $ 85 million extension with Houston in the spring, pitched twice for the SDLA before suffering a strained forearm that knocked him out of the SCLA and the World Series. The right-hander will be healthy next season and ready to once again be the anchor of the rotation.

When Valdez broke his finger on his first training outing in March, the Astros were so concerned they signed Jake Odorizzi to have another option. But the Dominican recovered faster than previously thought and ended up making 22 starts in the regular season, posting an 8-3 record and a 3.62 ERA.

After a breakout season in 2020, Valdez’s walk rate rose, but the southpaw remains aggressive when it comes to throwing strikes and has an elite curveball. He finished third in the American League in walks per nine innings and sixth in strikeout / walk ratio (4.74). He had ups and downs in the postseason, including eight brilliant innings against the Red Sox in the American League Championship Series.

The Venezuelan, a finalist for the AL Rookie of the Year award, was 11-8 with a 3.48 ERA in 30 regular-season games (28 starts) for the Astros. He led the Young Circuit’s rookie pitchers in WAR (3.1), wins, innings worked (155.1) and strikeouts (167) – the second-highest total by a rookie in club history.

Garcia, who made his major league debut in September 2020, struggled in the postseason, posting 8.04 in five starts, including four earned runs in 6.1 innings in two World Series starts against the Braves. He’ll benefit from a good rest in the winter after having worked the most innings in a season in his career, and his playoff experience would be valuable to him in 2022.

Mexico’s Urquidy made just 20 starts in the regular season as he fell on the disabled list twice with ailments in his shooting shoulder. Still, he was consistent for the Astros when he was healthy: He was 8-3 with a 3.62 ERA and allowed two laps or fewer in 14 of his 20 starts.

Urquidy, who throws a lot of strikes, is looking to take the next step with Houston in 2022 and could be a linchpin of the Siderales’ rotation for years to come. The Sinaloan finished third in the American League in walks per nine innings (1.60) and has the weapons to remove elite hitters from the strike zone.

Odorizzi’s first season in Houston was uneven, as the right-hander was injured earlier in the season and later said he was upset that manager Dusty Baker wouldn’t let him throw deep in games. Odorizzi didn’t sign with the Astros until March and made three starts (10.13 ERA) to start the season, before falling on the disabled list for a month on April 26 due to a strained right pronator muscle.

Odorrizi pitched in 21 games (20 starts) after coming back and was 6-5 with a 3.84 ERA. He lost a few starts in September due to foot pain. He didn’t work more than five innings in his last six outings and was limited to two relief appearances in the playoffs after being dropped from the American League Division Series roster.

The Astros moved Javier to the bullpen early in the season because they had too much starting pitching, but the team struggled to find a consistent role for the Dominican. Javier’s command was affected as a result. Javier, who averaged 12.3 strikeouts per nine innings, walked 21 in 48.2 innings as a starter and 32 in 52.2 innings as a reliever.

Javier became a multi-inning weapon in the bullpen to help the Astros reach the World Series, but he gave up three home runs in losses in Games 4 and 6 of the Fall Classic. The Astros insist Javier’s future is as a starter and he’s likely to compete for a rotation spot in training.


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Who will start for the Astros in 2022?