Houston Astros Rumors: Why the team might fill out the rotation internally

Houston Astros Manager A.J. Hinch (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Houston Astros Manager A.J. Hinch (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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Houston Astros P Josh James
Josh James #63 of the Houston Astros (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Josh James, Framber Valdez, Forrest Whitley, Rogelio Armenteros, and more

Here is where filling out the rotation internally gets precarious and murky. The Houston Astros would be turning over a permanent spot in the rotation to someone without extensive experience, if any, in the major leagues. This fifth rotation spot is going to be one of the hottest battles entering Astros Spring Training.

There is still a decent possibility the Astros attempt to pluck someone else off of the scrap heap like they did with McHugh four years ago and like they did with Morton two years ago. However, there is a pretty decent argument to just let the prospects battle it out and give it to the best guy in Spring Training.

First, there are the two guys the team turned to down the stretch in the regular season when they needed arms to fill out the rotation when injuries struck. Josh James and Framber Valdez both performed admirably when thrown into the rotation in the midst of a pennant race. James impressed enough to man a bullpen spot in the playoffs while Valdez’s smooth approach made him a favorite.

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Following them, the next name that comes to mind is Rogelio Armenteros. Armenteros turned heads during last year’s Spring Training and has consistently been the most solid pitching prospect the Astros have. He has nothing left to prove in the minors and could convince the Astros to give him that rotation spot.

Finally, there are the prospects who theoretically could steal a spot out of Spring Training but will likely start the year in the minors. However, there are several guys like Forrest Whitley, Corbin Martin, and J.B. Bukauskas knocking on the door that could parlay a strong early season performance into a rotation spot down the road.