The Houston Astro’s starting rotation couldn’t possibly get better, right? Well, it did, it got much better. The Astros were somehow able to pull off a blockbuster move to acquire six-time All-Star and former American League Cy Young award winner, Zack Greinke. However, the movie did not come cheap.
Houston’s 3rd ranked prospect, first baseman/outfielder Seth Beer, right-hander J.B. Bukauskas (No.4), right-hander Corbin Martin (No.5), infielder Josh Rojas and cash were all sent back to Arizona for Greinke.
Houston also made moves for starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez, relief pitcher Joe Biagini, and minor league outfielder Cal Stevenson from the Toronto Blue Jays for relatively cheap, only having to give up outfielder Derek Fisher. Both of these moves were done after the Astros had already acquired catcher Martin Maldonado from the Cubs.
The Astros starting rotation was easily the best in the MLB even before they acquired Greinke and Sanchez, with their top three being Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Wade Miley.
Now their five could look even better with Sanchez and Greinke added into the rotation. Everyone who follows the MLB knows who Zack Greinke is and that he is a great pitcher, but he is having a bit of an under the radar good season with not much attention being paid to the Diamondbacks.
Greinke is 10-4 with a 2.87 ERA in 141.0 innings pitched with the Diamondbacks this season. He is being added to a rotation where Verlander is 14-4 with a 2.73 ERA this season, Cole is 12-5 with a 2.94 ERA for the Astros this year, and Miley is 9-4 with a 3.06 ERA. That makes for quite the dynamic rotation on the first three pitchers, and with Miley fourth and Sanchez five which is still amazing.
Your 2019 leaders in WHIP:
1-Justin Verlander 0.81
2-Zack Greinke 0.94
5-Gerrit Cole 1.00
That’s your Game 1-2-3 starters in Houston. Scary.
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 31, 2019
Verlander and Cole are also number one and two in the MLB in strikeouts, Cole has struck out 212 batters while Verlander is just under him striking out 196. The best pitching duo in the MLB just became a three-headed monster and it must be terrifying for opposing teams to see what Houston has put together.
Acquiring Sanchez is a move that isn’t being looked at as much as it should be because they got him for dirt cheap. Sanchez is a very good MLB starter that has proved that in the past, in 2016 he was 15-2 with an ERA of 3.00. Unfortunately, since that season he has dealt with a lot of injuries, the worst being his blisters that haven’t allowed him to throw a ball for extended periods of time.
Sanchez has been almost the exact opposite of his 2016 season this year with a dreadful record of 3-14 and an ERA north of 6.00, but at this point in his season hopefully, the only way he can go is up. Even if he can only be 75% the pitcher he was in 2016 he would be a better than average fifth option for the Astros rotation. Sanchez has gotten his blistering issue under control which should allow him to get back to the solid starter that he once was.
Many people had Houston being one of the teams that could contend for the World Series at the start of the season, but now it looks like they are undoubtedly the team to beat. They have everything a team could want, good defense, consistent bats and unreal pitching staff.
The Houston Astros are easily the winners of the deadline, making smart and timely moves that will pay off huge for them this season and for the next couple years.