Gold Glove winner and Beard Master Dallas Keuchel had a breakout year for the Astros in 2014. He had a sub-three ERA in exactly 200 innings pitched. He also lead the league in ground ball percentage (GB%) and the American League in complete games. He was tied with Zack Greinke for 16th in WAR among qualified starting pitchers. I know a lot of people have him as a solid number two, but he pitched like a number one last season and his FIP, xFIP, and SIERA suggest that he can sustain that level of success for the Astros going forward.
But we're not here to look ahead. Instead I want to look back. In 2010 we conducted our first Top 30 prospects list. Dallas Keuchel was tied for ninth with Jiovanni Mier and just behind catching prospect Ben Heath. Clack graded him as a B prospect (he's so smart); Brooks and I rated him as a B- prospect; and Christian and David rated him as a C+ prospect.
A national prospector writing for Baseball Prospectus at the time had this to say about Keuchel back in 2010:
Keucel is hardly a monster prospect, but he'll likely be a big leaguer, as there are two thnk he does extremely well - throw strikes and get ground balls. The reason he caught my eye was the headline on the Lancaster press release for last night's game, which said "Dallas Keuchel Makes JetHawks History In 3-2 Win." The history? It was Keuchel's third complete game of the year, tying a team record. That's right, three, and his only true nine-inning version, as he went the distance in a seven-inning game, and also took the loss during one that just required eight innings of work. Because of his efficiency, he leads the Cal League with 114 2/3 innings, and teams need guys like this as well - just look at what many teams are throwing out the as their No. 4 or 5 starters for evidence of that.
That writer was none other than current Director of Pro Scouting for the Houston Astros, Kevin Goldstein.
It's nice to see Keuchel exceeding expectations that were set for him four years ago. In fact it looks like we may have undersold him a bit as his numbers don't appear to indicate he'll revert to his 2012-2013 form. We can expect some negative regression from Keuchel, but maybe we shouldn't.