1st Starter: Justin Verlander
The Houston Astros announced late last week that Justin Verlander will get the ball to kick off the regular season as the team’s Opening Day starter. This comes as no surprise since he is one of the best pitchers in the league. If he continues to pitch at a high level, expect him to sign an extension sooner rather than later.
2nd Starter: Gerrit Cole
Next up to the bump for the Astros will be Gerrit Cole. Cole is in a similar boat to Verlander in several ways. He will look to contend for the AL Cy Young once again this year in a contract year. The Astros will have to decide if they’ll pay up big money this offseason on this ace.
3rd Starter: Collin McHugh
At this point, the Astros get into new territory for their starting rotation. The final three spots will be different from the year before. Collin McHugh was the most obvious candidate to take over a starting job. He’s struggled a bit this Spring but come the end of March, he’ll be locked, loaded, and ready to go.
4th Starter: Wade Miley
The Houston Astros made their main pitching acquisition off of the free agent market this offseason when they inked Miley to a one year deal. Miley adds a lefty arm to the rotation in a very similar fashion to Dallas Keuchel. Solid stuff that’s not overpowering but gets balls on the ground. He could also be a bullpen candidate down the road if prospects rise quickly.
5th Starter: Brad Peacock
After the Miley signing, the fifth spot in the rotation became the object of attention in Spring Training. Josh James dropped out of the competition due to injury so that pretty much left Framber Valdez and Brad Peacock in the running. Peacock has already all but won the spot this past couple of weeks. He’s earned it though, like Miley, if prospects rise he could get bumped back to the bullpen.