With all the changes over the past couple of seasons, and all the excitement over prospects and postseason and awards, it has been easy to forget about the contributions of Scott Feldman. Feldman is entering the 2016 season in the final year of a three year contract with the Astros. So far it has been a successful run for Scott, even if it hasn't been the most exciting.
Feldman was the big free agent signing (relatively speaking) the Astros made before the 2014 season. When he came to Houston after another 100-loss season, it was assumed he was going to eat up some innings, be a veteran presence in the clubhouse, and possibly help the team win a few more games along the way. He has done that. He doesn't strike a lot of guys out with his 90 mph fastball, but he doesn't walk a lot either as he maintains a pretty good command of his pitches, which also include a cut fastball and a curve.
Feldman has been consistent in his time with the Astros. If you put any stock into "Quality Starts", he provided that in about seventy percent of his games. He pitched into the sixth inning in all but eight of his games over the two seasons, which is always good for the bullpen.
In 2014 Feldman had an injury-free season, but 2015 was marred by two different injuries. In May he had surgery on his knee that sidelined him for six weeks, and he was shut down for good in early September with shoulder issues. He had a couple of pretty bad outings before the first DL trip, but when he came back he had a great July and August. In those two months he started seven games, and put up an ERA of 2.36. He also gave up two or fewer runs five times in that span. He finished that stretch with a memorable game against our future Wild Card opponent Yankees, where he gave up no runs over eight innings.
I can say with some certainty that the top of the team's starting rotation is set heading into the spring, with Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh and Lance McCullers in the first three spots. Feldman will be competing for one of the last two starting spots with recently signed Doug Fister, 2015 trade acquisition Mike Fiers, and assorted others in spring training. With his consistent efforts over the last two seasons (and if he can stay healthy) there is no reason Feldman shouldn't be able to find a place in the back end of the Astros rotation this season. Even if the youngsters get most of the press, he can still be a solid piece of the team's 2016 season.