Are the Houston Astros doomed to a decline in their starting rotation? According to a recent Fangraphs article by Jay Jaffe, the answer may not be so clear cut. While the projections do show a decline in the Astros’ rotation, it is important to note that they were still projected to be firmly above average. However, there are a few key takeaways to consider.
Firstly, two division rivals, the Mariners and the Rangers, are projected to have a rotation better than the Astros. Furthermore, regression is not the Astros’ friend, as it is likely that some of their standout performers from 2022 may experience a decline in performance due to the statistical tendency for performance over time to move in the direction of the mean or average.
Additionally, projections based solely on high-level outcomes such as ERA, FIP or BABIP can be inaccurate, as it does not take into consideration other factors such as defense or more granular measures like velocity and pitch type. To this end, Jaffe compared ZIPS 2023 projections to Stuff+ projections, which takes into account release point, velocity, and spin rate, amongst other factors.
Overall, while the projections may not be ideal, it is important to note that the Astros’ rotation is still projected to be above average. With pitching depth being key, it remains to be seen how the Astros will fare in the upcoming season.