The Astros have lots on their plate after a difficult couple of weeks in the public eye, but they have on-field issues at hand as well. Now that the manager and GM are in place, the focus can soon return to the field. Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke make for an enviable top of the rotation, but there’s uncertainty beyond their veteran aces, writes MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart.
Lance McCullers Jr. will return from elbow surgery to man the third spot in the rotation, and after his strong performance in the postseason, Jose Urquidy has a good chance of claiming one of the two remaining slots. But with a new GM and manager stepping in, there’s a potential clean slate working against the otherwise favored.
A host of candidates are on hand to push Urquidy and contend for the final rotation role. Brad Peacock and Austin Pruitt are the veterans with rotation experience on hand, with either one capable of taking turns in the rotation.
Beyond the vets, there are a host of young arms capable of proving their readiness and stepping into the rotation. Josh James, Bryan Abreu, Framber Valdez, Forrest Whitley, Austin Pruitt, Cy Sneed and Francis Martes. There’s more at stake in this arms race, as there are three to four bullpen spots available for those left out of the dugout.