Houston Astros: 5 Young Arms Who Could Help Fix Their Pitching Problems

Brandon Croce@@BrandonCroceAnalyst IApril 15, 2011

Houston Astros: 5 Young Arms Who Could Help Fix Their Pitching Problems

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 10: Pitcher Aneury Rodriguez #62 of the Houston Astros gestures to home plate umpire Jim Joyce after getting ejected from the game for hitting Gaby Sanchez #15 in a MLB  baseball game on April 10, 2011 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, T
    Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

    Entering the season, the pitching staff for the Astros was supposed to be a strength for this team, but after two weeks, the results have not been good outside of Brett Myers. The Astros have a team ERA of 5.57, which makes the team 28th out of 30 teams.

    This was partially expected as some of the Astros pitchers, like Wandy Rodriguez and Bud Norris, are perennially slow starters and usually get it together in the second half of the season. However, there are some pitchers within the Astros organization who could potentially help the Astros pitching staff.

Aneury Rodriguez

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    HOUSTON - APRIL 12:  Pitcher Aneury Rodriguez #62 throws in the ninth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Minute Maid Park on April 12, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Rodriguez was suspended for three games for hitting a batter during the Florida series.Rodriguez
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Aneury Rodriguez is off to a little bit of a rough start like the rest of the Astros pitchers, but he may be struggling more with his role than anything else. So far this season, Rodriguez has appeared in six games in four innings of work and has given up five earned runs for an ERA of 11.25.

    I think Rodriguez fits better as a starting pitcher than coming out of the bullpen and you could see him thrive in that role given the chance. The Astros may want to wait a bit if they want to use Rodriguez, as he is facing a three-game suspension that he has appealed for hitting Marlin's Gaby Sanchez earlier this season.

Wesley Wright

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    NEW YORK - JUNE 12: Wesley Wright #53 of the Houston Astros throws a pitch during the game against the New York Yankees on June 12, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    Wesley Wright was with the Houston Astros for the majority of last season but starts this season down at the Triple-A level, and he allowed three runs in his only inning of work so far. I think Wesley Wright is another pitcher who fits better as a starter rather than coming out of the bullpen.

    He got four starts last season, going 1-2, with his best start coming against the Brewers when he went seven innings and only gave up two runs and struck out five. He also had 14 starts in the minors last season, going 4-1 with an ERA of 4.65, and I think if Wright is given some consistent time as a starter, he could provide the Astros' staff a boost. 

Ryan Rowland-Smith

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    KISSIMMEE, FL - FEBRUARY 24:  Ryan Rowland Smith of the Houston Astros poses for a portrait during Spring Training photo Day at Osceola County Stadium  on February 24, 2011 in Kissimmee, Florida.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Ryan Rowland-Smith was signed as a free agent this offseason by the Astros to compete with Nelson Figueroa for the fifth spot in the rotation. He did not have a strong spring and ended up losing to Figueroa and is now pitching for the Triple-A affiliate, the Oklahoma City Redhawks.

    He has only made one appearance so far, going 2.2 innings with no runs allowed and striking out four. He had a couple of decent years in Seattle and might be able to regain that form for the Astros.

Fernando Abad

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    KISSIMMEE, FL - FEBRUARY 25:  Fernando Abad #93 of the Houston Astros poses during photo day at Osceola County Stadium on February 25, 2010 in Kissimmee, Florida.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Fernando Abad has been in the Astros organization for a few years and some people had high expectations for this pitcher, as evidence of this scouting report back in 2009. This is Abad's first season starting the season with the Astros, but did pitch in 22 games last season. He pitched pretty well last year, with an ERA of 2.84, and held batters to an average of .200.

    This season he has not started as strong, giving up three earned runs in 5.1 innings of work. I still think Abad has the talent to be a starting pitcher and should be considered if the Astros decide to shake up their pitching staff.

Jordan Lyles

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    KISSIMMEE, FL - FEBRUARY 24:  Jordan Lyles #70 of the Houston Astros poses for a portrait during Spring Training photo Day at Osceola County Stadium  on February 24, 2011 in Kissimmee, Florida.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Jordan Lyles is the top prospect pitcher in the farm system and almost beat Figueroa out for the final spot in the Astros' starting rotation, as he pitched the best this spring of any pitcher. The organization, though, felt as though he could use a little bit more time in the minor leagues and Lyles started down at the Oklahoma City Redhawks.

    He hasn't been nearly as dominate through his first two starts, giving up five runs between them in eight innings of work. He has kept his walks down, only allowing two, but has given up way too many hits, 13 so far this season. I think Lyles will be the first name called upon if the Astros decide to shake up the rotation in an effort to fix the pitching woes.