"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may." -Robert Herrick
It's no secret Jim Crane and Jeff Luhnow agreed on what significantly wins championships.
Instead of a re-loading focus on bats, a la, Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker (even trading off Seth Beer & Josh Rojas), the Astros have been stockpiling pitching for several years now. Including their first pick last draft, MLB#7, Alex Santos. The fruits of which the fans and media have suddenly begun to notice in 2020 -- the most unusual of seasons.
For many pitchers who finally got their shot this year with expanded rosters, the dividends of cutting their teeth in the playoffs or staying loose & "on track" at facilities, promises to pay off in the springime.
One such name has been highlighted in a Kaplan, Atlantic article, "How the Astros got the Inside Track on Once-Overlooked Cristian Javier", who was found by a scout and childhood friend, Leocadio Geuvara. Astros fans have seen a surge in names which started by scout, Oz Ocampo (moved on to the Pirates org), which continues to bring Strom and Co. a bright outlook.
Let's take a look at 25 names who have (even an outside) shot at innings in HOU in 2021
1. Forrest Whitley, an enigma wrapped in a quandary seeking his Alpha status.
2. Cristian Javier should have the inside track on SP4
3. Enoli Paredes proved to be a mostly Starter in AA, paired as hi Lev longman in HOU with Closer potential.
4. Brandon Bielak is durable with repeatable mechanics, made some adjustments mid-Starter innings-eater upside.
4. Luis Garcia proved he can hang with the big boys, make 'em swing and miss, looks every bit the part SP4
5. Jojanse Torres has an extra year to play with but should contend by mid-year, possessing electric long relief.
6. Brett Conine is in the same boat, has major league stuff but Astros need to sort out the 40-man first.
7. Bryan Abreu came in with weight and control fluctuations much like our hi-upside #1 prospect, SLI seeks refinement
9. Jairo Solis, as big dollars go, must add to 40-man after TJ rehab, expected to make a big splash by mid-yr.
10. Pete Solomon in same boat.
11. Rogelio Armenteros (Cy Sneed; trade candidates or innings-eaters). Solid seasoned depth.
12.Tyler Ivey is ripe for the Show and will carry high expectations if completely healthy.
13. JA Rivera will be 24, a fireballer that must be roster'd, keeps it in the park, 11 K/9. Corpus by May.
14. Shawn Dubin is laying-in-wait with a rising heater.
15. Hunter Brown ran up his velo and stock, will be 22 yrs young w/99 mph gas in Corpus EOY.
15. Blair Henley displayed some of the bet spin rates in the org. Mature arm, as are;
16. Austin Hansen, the one-time closer at OU.
17. Ty Brown, same at VandyBoys should be ready to show out, but this one will be held back a yr.
18. Humberto Castellanos showed some poise, average stuff project.
19. Carlos Sanabria and
20. Nivaldo Rodriguez dipped their feet.
21. Ryan Gusto will be 22, and a name some will be watching closely.
22. Brandon Bailey, strike-throwing combo.
23. Collin McKee, repeatable reliever.
24. Willie Collado, funky stuff relief.