The Houston Astros rotation success is dependent on the young arms that the world was introduced to during the 2020 season. Their rotation could be among the top tier in the league if they take that next step in their development. One pitcher has certainly taken that step forward. This pitcher is Cristian Javier and he is looking like the ace that the Astros believe he can be. Coming off yet another scoreless appearance, Javier is emerging right before our eyes.
Dominance in 2021
Despite being sent to the alternate training site, Javier has impressed this season. Through four starts this year, Javier has posted a 3-0 record with a 0.87 ERA. The 24-year-old has given up two runs in 20.2 innings. However, both of those runs came in his first start. Since then, he has pitched 17 scoreless innings over his last three starts. Javier only pitched three innings in Spring Training, but he looks like he is in midseason form. There are a few reasons for his success in the early going.
The biggest reasons for his success are his ability to limit hits, home runs, and walks. The right-hander is giving up only 4.8 hits per nine innings. He hasn’t given up a homer yet and his walks per nine is at 2.6. These are incredible numbers but they are probably not sustainable. That being said, limiting walks is part of the recipe for great pitching. Another part of the recipe is missing bats, which Javier has been doing well. He has 26 strikeouts in 20.2 innings–a rate of 11.3 strikeouts per nine.
Start to Javier’s Career
Javier debuted in the shortened 2020 season and immediately made an impact. He pitched in 12 games with 10 starts and posted a 3.48 ERA. His efforts resulted in a third-place finish in the American League Rookie of the Year voting. Overall in his Major League Baseball career, Javier is 8-2 with a 2.76 ERA in 16 appearances including 14 starts. Javier has had an impressive start to his career, but based on his Minor League numbers, it isn’t a huge surprise.
Track Record in Minors
Javier pitched in the minors for five years, and he was consistently fantastic. In 108 Minor League games featuring 69 starts, Javier was 26-11 with a 2.22 ERA. In fact, he never had an ERA over 3.00 in a season. He was great at missing bats, striking out opponents at a rate of 12.2 K/9. His promotion to the Astros in 2020 was well-deserved, as he was coming off of a season in which he pitched to a 1.74 ERA across three levels–earning Astros Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
Numbers like these are impossible to maintain for anyone, but Javier is making his mark on the league. The second-year star will likely make his next start on Sunday, May 2 against the Tampa Bay Rays. In the meantime, the Astros have been playing better, which happened to coincide with the return of Javier from the alternate training site as well as Jose Altuve’s return from the COVID list. Houston is looking to continue climbing up the standings in the wide-open AL West behind potential new ace, Cristian Javier.
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