Cristian Javier is one of the Astros’ starting pitchers who deserves a shot at being a full-time starter. We’re all left with the impression that in his bullpen role, he has the potential to provide even more.
Since the 2020 season, when he made his debut in the Major Leagues, Javier has shown us correct.
For the start of the season, Javier appears healthy. His 8 1/3 scoreless innings, one base on balls, and 12 strikeouts in three relief outings against the Angels (2) and D-Backs are the best in the league.
When you have a starter like Jake Odorizzi, how do you not put Javier in the starting rotation?
The 25-year-old right-hander has an 8-3 record, a 3.42 ERA, and 106 strikeouts in 100 innings as a starter. Those are impressive figures for a pitcher who has mostly acted as a swingman or emergency starter due to a lack of a clearly defined job.
Then there’s the fact that Javier has an 8-2 record and 2.78 ERA in starts lasting five innings.
It is also worth noting that he began last season in the rotation and pitched in all nine games in the season’s opening week. A 3.14 ERA and 48.2 innings yielded a total of 29 hits and 17 earned runs for Javier throughout that time.
“Javier doesn’t have enough points to be stretched out as a star,” you say? Well, here’s something to tell you. Because his fastball and slider are both above-average pitches, he can trick more than one hitter at a time with them.
With only 13 hits allowed in 161 at-bats and an opponent batting average of.081, this delivery, particularly his slider, has delivered him tremendous results since 2020.
We may also infer the quality of his setup by looking at his whiff percentage. Since he made his MLB debut in 2012, things have only gotten better:
Aside from encouraging him to use his changeup more frequently, the Astros might also encourage him to use it more frequently. Since 2021, he’s gone 5-for-23 (.217) with that pitch, which implies he should give it a go more often.
In spite of the fact that the Astros’ rotation is currently full even without Lance McCullers Jr., the team should not hesitate to give Javier a shot and even prioritize him when they have a spot especially given Odorizzi’s 0-2 record, 9.00 ERA, and 9 earned runs over his last nine innings of work (seven walks).
His maximum potential may be the same as employing him as a starter.