What Does the Loss of Justin Verlander Mean for the Astros?

The New York Mets announced on December 5th that they had signed former Astros pitcher Justin Verlander to a two-year $86 million deal, which marked the end of Verlander’s six-year tenure in Houston.

During his time in Houston, Verlander had a record of 61-19 with an ERA of 2.26 and a WHIP of .83 in 102 starts. Verlander also won two Cy Young awards, pitched his third career no-hitter, recorded his 3,000th career strikeout, pitched a 300-strikeout season, was awarded ALCS MVP and won two World Series titles.

While the loss of a great talent like Verlander isn’t great, it doesn’t quite hurt the Astros as one might think. The Astros still have a relatively young pitching staff that will only continue to improve over time.

As it stands currently, the Astros starting rotation heading into the 2023 season would look something like this:

  1. Lance McCullers Jr. (4-2, 2.27 ERA, 1.23 WHIP in eight games last season)
  2. Framber Valdez. ( 17-6, 2.82 ERA, 1.15 WHIP in 31 games last season).
  3. Cristian Javier. ( 11-9, 2.54 ERA, .94 WHIP in 30 games last season).
  4. Luis Garcia. ( 15-8, 3.72 ERA, 1.13 WHIP in 28 games last season).
  5. Jose Urquidy. ( 13-8, 3.94 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, in 29 games last season).

The Astros also have their number one pitching prospect, Hunter Brown, who could once again get called up for the upcoming season. Brown was excellent in 2022 despite only appearing in seven games, as he bolstered an impressive .89 ERA and 1.08 WHIP for a rookie.

On paper, the Astros should be fine without Verlander, much like how the team survived after losing Gerrit Cole in 2019. The Astros have continued reloading their ranks and won’t be affected too much by losing a pitcher.

However, the regular season is still months away, and a lot can happen between now and then. There are still some top pitchers on the market that Houston could pursue, but as it stands now, Houston is already loaded.

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