Astros strong on the mound without Verlander

Joshua Reese

The first World Series win in Justin Verlander’s career has turned out to be his last, at least for the Houston Astros.

Verlander has signed a two-year deal worth $68 million to pitch for the New York Mets and was officially introduced Tuesday.

When reports surfaced following the World Series about how much the flame-throwing right-hander was looking for in a contract, it was all but certain that he would leave.

It’s pretty painful to see a two-time Cy-Yong award winner leave. However, remember the Astros are in a pretty good position this upcoming year. At times the Astros used a six-man rotation because they had too many arms as it was last season.

Without Verlander, Framber Valdez – who was fifth in the Cy Yong voting – will now lead the pitching staff. Lance McCullers Jr. returned for the playoffs last season and will be back to start the year. Cristian Javier, who was a part of two no-hitters last season, is coming into his own and might be one of the best pitchers that isn’t a nationally known name. Jose Urquidy, Luis Garcia and rookie Hunter Brown look to round out the two final spots in the rotation.

All of the Astros starters last season have an ERA under 4, something no other team in baseball could say. Without Verlander, that doesn’t change and the Astros still have a pretty scary pitching rotation.

For fans saddened about the loss of Verlander, don’t forget Brown, his clone, threw big-time pitches last season. Brown has the same mechanics as Verlander and throws pitches strikingly similar to Verlander and he could see a much bigger role this upcoming year.

I’ll miss Verlander

It hurts to see one of the greatest pitchers in a generation leave, it’s now the third time it’s happened to the Astros. Nolan Ryan left for the Texas Rangers, Randy Johnson to the Arizona Diamondbacks and now Verlander to the Mets.

During Verlander’s time in Houston, he won two Cy Young awards, something he only did once in his 13 years with the Detroit Tigers. In Houston, he went 61-19 with an outstanding 2.26 ERA.

Addition

Everyone’s favored uncle Mike will return to Houston, signing a one-year deal worth $12 million.

Michael Brantley only played 64 games last season, but a healthy Brantley helps the Astros. In four years with the Astros, Brantley is hitting .306 and rarely strikes out.

Even while on the bench, Brantley was considered a big factor in the World Series giving a speech to the Astros following a loss in Philadelphia which many team members credited to helping them fire back up the rest of the way.

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