If the ALDS Started Today- Astros Pitching Roster

Updated: 4 days ago

The Astros have clinched the AL West for the fifth straight full season. (Yes 2020 doesn't count.)


Now that we KNOW they are in, who should be on the Astros postseason roster? This article will focus on the pitching.


First, let's look at the post season schedule. The series schedule is important because

In the ALDS, with two off days, a team is likely to need only four starting pitchers and twelve pitchers total.


Notice the big change in the ALCS schedule. ALCS teams have to prepare for FIVE games in a row from Game 3 to Game 7. It is likely ALCS teams will need thirteen and possibly fourteen pitchers due to this five games in a row.


The World Series schedule follows its traditional pattern. Teams are likely to choose to carry thirteen pitchers in that series.


So now that we know the number of pitchers the Astros need, WHO will the pitchers be?









Here are the season stats for the Astros pitchers (per Fangraphs.com) through 9/19

Let's start with the easy choices.


Starting Pitchers

  1. Verlander

  2. Valdez

  3. McCullers

  4. TBD

Core Relief Pitchers

  1. Pressly

  2. Montero

  3. Stanek

  4. Neris

  5. Abreu

  6. TBD

  7. TBD

  8. TBD

This leaves 4 slots for 9 remaining pitchers in the table above. It's pretty easy to rule out Taylor and Bielak. Martinez who was demoted to AAA despite a very good performance in 2022 is probably out.


Therefore, the decision comes down to


Four Starter types

  1. Javier

  2. Urquidy

  3. Garcia

  4. Brown

Two Bullpen Guys

  1. Smith (the only LHRP)

  2. Maton

So who should be the ALDS Game 4 Starter? I will assume it will NOT be Brown. As I wrote in an article focusing on Hunter Brown, I suspect he will have a David Price in 2008 like role in this post season for the Astros. We are then down to three postseason spots left.


My game 4 starter would be Javier. Look as these tables sorted by the 2022 statistic shown.


ERA

Javier better than Garcia and Urquidy


xERA

Javier best SP.


FIP

Javier again better than Garcia and Urquidy.


xFIP

Javier again better than Garcia and Urquidy.


It seems pretty clear, Javier is the right choice. Due to the way he pitches, Javier averages only 5.1 IP/start. Urquidy and Garcia are at 5.2 IP/ start- not a big difference.


Another interesting fact I found before the game tonight. Who has the best career ERA of the Astros SP (excluding Brown's limited innings)?


That's right- Javier. Here is the career table.

I know one objection will be "Urquidy is a great postseason pitcher. He should start Game 4."

I think the sample size is too small to make such statements, but the "PS ERA" column above is each starter's postseason career ERA. Urquidy's 4.05 is greater Javier's 3.15. Well there goes that narrative.


So now my ALDS Astros staff is:


Starting Pitchers

  1. Verlander

  2. Valdez

  3. McCullers

  4. Javier

Core Relief Pitchers

  1. Pressly

  2. Montero

  3. Stanek

  4. Neris

  5. Abreu

  6. Brown

  7. TBD

  8. TBD


I expect either Urquidy or Garcia (or both) will be on the ALDS roster. Watch for both to work out of the bullpen before the season is over. If Urquidy struggles as he did on 9/17, he may be off the ALDS roster. I will give Garcia the edge to be on the roster, pending the last two weeks.


Smith might hold an important role if the ALDS opponent has strong LHH.

  • If the Astros face Tampa Bay in the ALDS, I expect Smith will not be on ALDS roster

  • If the Astros face Toronto in the ALDS, I expect Smith will not be on ALDS roster

  • If the Astros face Seattle in the ALDS, I expect Smith will be on ALDS roster

For now I will assume Smith is off, but it should be noted Smith's Astros ERA is only 2.76. If the Astros were to face Cleveland in the ALCS, I think Smith is added to the ALCS roster.


I would not take Maton, but Dusty loves him. I don't love the 3.68 ERA and 4.22 FIP (including tonight). Ultimately, the last spot comes down to Maton, Smith, or Urquidy. I'll take Urquidy for the ability to eat innings.


Therefore, here is my ALDS pitching staff pending changes based on the match-up.


Starting Pitchers

  1. Verlander

  2. Valdez

  3. McCullers

  4. Javier

Core Relief Pitchers

  1. Pressly

  2. Montero

  3. Stanek

  4. Neris

  5. Abreu

  6. Brown

  7. Garcia

  8. Urquidy

  9. (ALCS) Smith

Garcia and Urquidy would need to work out of the bullpen these last two weeks to make this work.


Check out what batters are hot and not.


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