Taylor Buchholz, Houston: Buchholz was one of three candidates for the final spot in the Astros rotation during Spring Training and has been very impressive since joining it on April 17.
“He’s been outstanding,” Astros manager Phil Garner said. “We knew he was a good pitcher and he’s shown that he is every time he’s gone out there.”
Buchholz was obtained along with pitchers Ezequiel Astacio and Brandon Duckworth from Philadelphia for Billy Wagner in 2003. Considered the top pitching prospect in the Houston organization the last two years, Buchholz was bothered by shoulder tightness last year.
“The big difference for me now is I’m completely healthy,” Buchholz said. “I haven’t felt this good in two years.
It certainly shows.
The 24-year-old right-hander ranks fourth among all Major League pitchers with a 2.16 ERA. He has gone six innings or more and allowed three runs or less in all four of his starts. He held Pittsburgh to two hits and no runs in 8 2/3 innings on April 22.
Buchholz, a third-round pick by the Phillies in 2000, has been a consistent starter in the Minors after a rocky start to his pro career. His fastball tops out at 94, and he also uses an improving changeup and curveball.
“He’s been throwing all of his pitches over the plate for strikes,” Garner said. “He’s been able to keep [opponents] off the fastball.”