JB Bukauskas, RHP
The Houston Astros are in a precarious situation in regards to their starting pitchers. Currently, the team has four starters penciled into their rotation that will be slated to hit free agency next offseason in Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Collin McHugh, and the recent addition Wade Miley.
Fortunately, the Houston Astros have some fairly solid organizational depth in the pitching department. We’ve already discussed Whitley and his dominance and the impact he could have on the rotation this year. But, there is another guy who has pitched well this Spring and needs some recognition and that man is J.B. Bukauskas.
The Astros selected Bukauskas in the first round of the 2017 draft after he slipped due to some size concerns. But, that didn’t change how dominant he was at the University of North Carolina and how he’s pitched since being drafted. In his first full year of baseball, last year, he was able to work his way up to AA.
This year, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Bukauskas start in AA before quickly rising to AAA and taking his talents to Round Rock to play for the Express. His pitching this Spring has backed that up with a 1.80 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP, and a .125 batting average against.
What’s interesting is that the starting pitcher has only made appearances out of the bullpen where some have speculated he could be really special. Regardless, he’s boosted his value these past two weeks. He could potentially have an impact on the big league this year but he could also be used as a trade chip to bring in another stud halfway through the season.