The Houston Astros made some big changes to their rotation over the last year, and with the departure of Justin Verlander, they are now looking to their depth to help fill the gap. As the 2023 season approaches, the Astros are counting on Luis Garcia and José Urquidy to step up and provide quality innings. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the ZiPS projections for Garcia and Urquidy and explore how the Astros’ depth could help mitigate the loss of Verlander.
The Astros’ rotation had an impressive logjam last season, with up to seven names deep at various points. This forced top prospect Hunter Brown into a full-time relief role and also pushed two capable starters—Luis Garcia and José Urquidy—to the bullpen for the postseason. Now, with the absence of Verlander, the Astros are relying on their overall depth to help make up for his departure.
But the Astros’ depth appears slightly less impressive than it did just a couple of weeks ago, with Lance McCullers Jr. experiencing arm soreness. While the organization isn’t expressing too much concern at this stage of camp, arm soreness in a pitcher isn’t something to lightly toss aside. With no meaningful external addition to the rotation, it is clear that the organization is banking on Garcia and Urquidy to help mitigate the loss of Verlander.
So, what do the ZiPS projections for Garcia and Urquidy look like for the upcoming season? Garcia is projected to pitch 137 innings with a 23.6% K%, 7.4% BB%, 4.09 ERA, and 4.10 FIP. Urquidy is projected to pitch 141 innings with a 21.1% K%, 5.4% BB%, 4.04 ERA, and 4.23 FIP. While it is possible that both pitchers could outperform their projections, it is also likely that their final figures more closely resemble those listed above.
The greatest value Garcia and Urquidy provide is to absorb as many innings as possible in the regular season while providing average to above-average pitching on the aggregate. In a season where the Astros’ depth could be tested more often than last year, the duo raises the floor of the rotation. Their collective performance could hold wider ramifications by July or August, so it’s important to keep an eye on their progress as the season progresses.
The Astros have some big shoes to fill with the loss of Verlander, but with their depth, they are in a good position to make up for his absence. Keep an eye out for Garcia and Urquidy in the upcoming season, as their performance could be a key factor in the Astros’ success.