A former Astros pitcher is “irreplaceable”
The Houston Astros will come into the 2023 season looking to defend their title. One MPB analyst thinks the team will miss a star from the 2022 campaign. Justin Verlander was a major part of the Astros’ success last season. The former Astros pitcher had a record of 18-4 while keeping an insane ERA of 1.75 and a WAR of 5.9.
Those numbers were incredible for the 40-year-old ace. But Astros fans will have to root against Verlander this upcoming season. He turned last season’s performance into a two-year deal with the New York Mets worth nearly $87 million. The Astros weren’t going to pay that to the aging star.
The Athletic published the results from a panel as to what free agents from this offseason are the most irreplaceable. The former Astros pitcher received the fourth-most votes, with four total cast with his name, as he dominated last season:
“We’re talking about a guy who went 18-4 … had a sub-2.00 ERA (1.75) … posted an incredible 220 ERA+ … led the AL with a sub-1.00 WHIP (0.83) … and had the lowest opponent OPS in his league by 65 points.
How dominating was that season? So dominating that in the Cy Young Award era (1956-present), only one pitcher has ever put up that set of numbers: Greg Maddux, in 1995. So what are the odds the Astros can find anybody to duplicate that? Just about none and none.
• “As good as Houston’s pitching is, I don’t think they have a No. 2 starter to replace him,” said one survey voter, “unless (Cristian) Javier becomes that guy.”
One silver lining for the Astros
Houston fans knew it would hurt when the former Astros pitcher left for New York. One piece of good news from the panel was the player who received the fifth-most votes for being irreplaceable. Newcomer first baseman Jose Abreu received two votes. His bat could help the new pitching staff get settled in this season.