The Houston Astros have somewhat of a good problem. They have too many starting pitchers.
However, all these starting pitchers aren’t exactly aces. Their real problem is that they have too many back-end-of-the-rotation type pitchers.
Mike Fiers has been in the rotation most of the season and he has struggled. His 4.69 ERA is highest among Astros starters and he doesn’t have the best stuff to get out of jams. His spot should be up for grabs.
Many will say Scott Feldman should replace Fiers. While that’s certainly understandable, Feldman may have better value on the trade market than at the end the Astros’ rotation.
Feldman is third on the pitching staff with a 2.40 ERA in 60 innings pitched this season. He’s been dominant in his bullpen role and the Astros may opt to put him back in the rotation. However, the veteran is on the last year of his deal and their are a plethora of teams looking for decent starting pitching at the trade deadline. I would trade him.
Climbing Tal's Hill
Regardless of whether or not the Astros do trade Feldman, the 25-year old Chris Devenski has been lights out with the Astros this season and has earned a spot to go (back) into the rotation.
Devenski sports a 2.19 ERA in 65.2 innings pitched this season. The rookie was placed into the rotation earlier this season and impressed in his four starts. In his first three starts, Devenski allowed just 5 ER in 17.2 innings pitched. His fourth wasn’t as succesful, allowing 6 ER in 2 innings against the Red Sox. However, if you remember that game you’ll remember the Astros defense doing him no good and misplaying a few balls. While they were all earned runs, Devenski could have easily gone five or six strong with a good defensive effort.
Alas, the start against the Red Sox was his last start before being “demoted” back to the pen. But since the “demotion”, Devenski has proven he’s here to stay. In 32.1 innings since then, Devenski has allowed just 4 earned runs, showing that he’s still capable of mowing down major leaguers.
Anyone that has watched Devenski pitch knows he has the stuff. His circle change is one of the best in the game and his fastball packs heat.
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Of course people will point out the Astros use of an innings limit. While certainly fair, we’re up to the point of the season where the Astros need wins. Assuming Devenski makes his first start in August, it’s likely he’ll receive about 10 starts during the remainder of the season. Assuming he averages about 6 innings per start, Devenski would reach 125.2 innings by the time the season is over. His Minor League career high is 119.2, so the Astros would probably be just fine with him going to 140 or 150 innings if need be. In other words, his innings shouldn’t be a concern.
It’s no secret the Astros need rotation help. As I previously wrote, I don’t believe searching for an Andrew Cashner type pitcher would make a difference. If they want to replace a guy like Fiers, using internal options would be the best move and the best option then is Chris Devenski.
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