The return of the launcher opens the door for an odd rotation decision

The Houston Astros welcome back injured pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. and throw him straight into the rotation.

That Houston Astros hail returning pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. and waste no time in his return.

He will start Saturday’s game against the Oakland Athletics, although he has been out since October 2021 with a strained flexor tendon.

McCullers is undoubtedly talented. By 2021, he was producing a 3.16 ERA, a .205 batting average, and a 1.22 WHIP. The Astros have several talented pitchers overall and currently sit at the top of the AL West rankings, well above .500.

He achieved results that made him an option for a Cy Young Award. However, he has been out for almost a year. Throwing him into the starting rotation too early could hurt the team’s success.

The premature addition of Lance McCullers Jr. to the starting rotation could hurt Astros

Whatever strategy the Astros have used this season is working well for them, and they shouldn’t be changing anytime soon. McCullers has a lot of potential but his success is unpredictable given a serious injury and lack of playing time last year.

Houston doesn’t urgently need to update their roster. In the entire league, they currently have the second best ERA (2.99), best opponent batting average (.210), and second best WHIP (1.09).

Corresponding CBS sports“According to Baseball-Reference calculations, McCullers has a career ERA of 3.57 (116 ERA+) and a 2.74 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 9.7 wins over substitutes.”

He should definitely be considered for the starting rotation, but throwing him in too early could backfire on Houston and hamper their success. The return of the launcher opens the door for an odd rotation decision

John Verrall

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