Houston Astros No.1 Prospect To Begin Season In Starting Rotation

The Houston Astros will begin the season without their starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr, who recently confirmed that he won't be ready for Opening Day due to a forearm injury.

As a result, the team is expected to turn to their highly-touted prospect, Hunter Brown, to fill the void.

Brown, who impressed during his brief stint in the majors last year, delivered a fantastic 0.89 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 22 strikeouts across 20.1 innings in seven appearances, two of which were starts.

His impressive performance in the big leagues followed a successful run at Triple-A Sugar Land, where he dominated for the first five months of the season, recording a 2.55 ERA and 134 strikeouts over 106 innings and 23 appearances.

The Astros did not sign any replacements for ace pitcher Justin Verlander, who left for the New York Mets in free agency this offseason, and the team appears content to rely on their strong pitching depth and give Brown a chance to prove himself at the major league level.

Given Brown's elite strikeout rates in the minors and his promising debut in the majors, it will be very interesting to see how he performs as a full-time starter in the majors.

It's possible that the team will limit Brown's workload this season and not give him a full-time rotation spot once McCullers returns, but if he continues to impress, he could make a significant impact on the Astros' pitching staff. Photo Credit:  James A. Pittman-USA TODAY Sports