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Who's Next? - Astros SP Options in MiLB

Today, JP France will make his big-league debut.

The Astros were incredibly lucky to have only eight starting pitchers. As I showed in the link below, the average number of SP has been almost TWELVE (2017-2019, 2021-2022). This year the Astros are facing the opposite SP luck.

  • In February Lance McCullers Jr. strained his elbow apparently ramping up too quickly in spring training.

  • In the last week the Astros have lost two Starting Pitchers-

    • Urquidy- 5/1/23- Shoulder Inflammation- Urquidy sounds optimistic. No timetable for return has been communicated yet. Guess? 4-6 weeks

    • Garcia- 5/2/23- Elbow Discomfort- It was announced tonight he will be getting Tommy John surgery- return in LATE 2024 or for 2025 season.

Today we got dual news reports from the Astros involving Starting Pitchers in AAA

J.P. France called up

"Brian McTaggart @brianmctaggart Astros announce they've placed J.P. France on the Major League taxi squad. He's expected to start Saturday. Astros haven't named a starter for Saturday or Sunday."

As I noted on Twitter

This allows for the team to have the option to use the RP they are likely to send down tonight while having France with the team and to give him 24 hours to get integrated.

Trade News

"Ari Alexander @AriA1exander The #Astros have traded for LHP Nick Allgeyer, according to the MLB Transaction wire. They are giving up CASH, who had a terrific career in Houston and will be missed."

This gives the Astros another potential #4/#5 SP. Dana Brown is working. IF the SPs did recover Allgeyer could be deployed to the bullpen. I don't expect him immediately or even at all, but Brown is giving himself options.

Read my Analysis of why the Astros got Allgeyer

All of this leads to a lot of questions what the best SP options are left in the minors for the Astros.

Here is how I would order the AAA SPs coming to the Astros if needed.

I have used a combination of three factors

  • What the projection algorithms project for each of these players IF they pitched in the MLB this year

  • How well they are currently pitching in AAA

  • The prospect grades - those that have been a top 30 prospect

One number to understand relative to what appear to be HORRIBLE ERAs for the AAA pitchers is that the AVERAGE ERA in the PCL is 5.82. For Allgeyer, who was in the International League, the average ERA in IL is 4.89.

You can understand why the Astros would also value Allgeyer relative to these other pitchers in AAA.

Well, there you have it. This is the order you should be looking for the AAA SP to be used.

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