Who Will Be The Astros' Fifth Starter In 2020?

Astros pitching coach Brent Strom weighed in

Brandon Scott
February 19, 2020 - 2:13 pm

The Houston Astros know what to expect at the top of their pitching rotation.

Justin Verlander will lead the way, followed by Zack Greinke and the return of Lance McCullers Jr. has been huge topic at spring training.

Carlos Correa compared McCullers' return to "a big free agent signing," adding the pitcher returning from Tommy John surgery "feels sexy."

Jose Urquidy is likely the No. 4 starter, so the question remains as to who fills the fifth spot. 

Astros pitching coach Brent Strom spoke about that Tuesday

Strom said Austin Pruitt, Josh James and Framber Valdez are vying for that last spot in the rotation. 

He said Brad Peacock is probably more valuable to the 'stros from the bullpen, and so it will be interesting to see how it unfolds in spring training. 

Astros manager Dusty Baker has said he will rely on Strom, who Baker played against in Triple-A ball back in the early 1970s, to make recommendations. 

"Who knows, it could be some more guys in the mix," Baker said Wednesday. "Those are the names that are at the forefront. And so I keep my eyes on them. Strommy knows them better than anybody. So I'm depending a lot on Strom. I depend a lot on my catchers and what they see because they're back there catching them all of the time and they're catching them in the (bullpen)."

Strom told Brian McTaggert of MLB.com that he is really impressed with Bryan Abreu. He said Abreu could be an exceptional Major League pitcher. 

Abreu spoke with SportsRadio 610 in the early days of spring training and said he was trying to make the most of his time in West Palm Beach.

"The opportunity is right there and you have to take advantage of it," Abreu said. "We have to do our best, control what we can like being healthy, being in shape and doing the best job we can."

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