If you look at the most successful teams over the last several years, they are all teams with excellent pitching. Offense is obviously important but if your pitcher can't get his team off the field, you're not going to win many games. The core of the Astros right now is Norris, Lyles and Harrell. Not bad, but there's always room for improvement and pitching depth is also a constant concern for most teams. Kyle Weiland showed some good things before his injury and waiting in the wings we have Cosart, Oberholtzer, Clemens and Seaton. There is hope on the horizon.
In the upcoming 2013 draft, Mark Appel would be a nice choice for the Astros providing even more depth to the position and another young player who has a good chance to help the big club sooner than later. In next weeks Rule 5 draft, it appears that Josh Fields is available (special thanks to the Boston Red Sox) and another intriguing young pitcher, Ryan Chaffee from the Angels is available as well. Point being, there will be some young arms available. And the Astros should think long and hard about grabbing them while they can.
Obviously the Rule 5 draft offers the challenge of having to have the player on your 25 man roster for the entire season. But with the limited expectation for the Astros, getting a solid young talent to add to an improving pitching staff should be a priority.
Whatever money Mr. Crane and Mr Luhnow spend should be focused on pitching. The offense can come from the system. For many years under George Steinbrenner the Yankees developed position players and bought pitching. What would we give as Astros fans to have just a small part of that kind of success?