The Houston Astros are led by a core of young talent that has sent the team to the top of the AL West standings. Although, no player might be more integral to the team’s success than starting pitcher, Dallas Keuchel.
Keuchel was selected by the Houston Astros in the seventh-round of the 2009 MLB Entry Draft after a successful college career at the University of Arkansas. He spent a majority of his first four professional campaigns bouncing around from the minors to the Astros.
It wasn’t until the 2014 season when Keuchel started to blossom into a full-fledged MLB ace, going 12-9 with a 2.93 ERA. However, 2014 was just a prelude of things to come. The 2015 season has been a breakout year for Keuchel, who now holds an impressive 7-1 record for the Astros. The 27-year-old pitcher also maintains a miniscule 1.76 ERA and has racked up 60 strikeouts.
Over the course of the season, Keuchel has been able to garner a decision in all but three of his 11 starts. His signature victory came during a May 30th game against the Chicago White Sox where he pitched a complete game, only giving up four hits and striking out 11. The dominating performance came a game after Keuchel suffered his first loss of the season.
When speaking to reporters after his bounce back effort, Keuchel was asked if he could recall pitching a better game in his baseball career.
“Uh I would have to think back,” he said. “I think I had some pretty good starts in high school. I think I threw a no-hitter in high school, but it was up there.”
Keuchel is making his case to be the AL starter at the All-Star game in Cincinnati. His 1.76 ERA is currently the best in the American League, and his seven wins are currently good for second place behind only Seattle Mariners ace, Felix Hernandez.
After signing a one-year $524, 500 contract with Houston in the offseason, Keuchel is arbitration eligible until the 2018 season, and like last year’s CY Young winner, Corey Kluber, is severely underpaid.
Kluber, a member of the Cleveland Indians, signed a five-year $38.5 million extension in April, and Houston might wish to negotiate a similar deal with Keuchel to keep him in an Astros uniform for the foreseeable future.
Dallas Keuchel has evolved into one of the MLB’s best, and most reliable pitchers, and could anchor Houston’s pitching staff for years to come. He will have to continue his winning ways if the Astros are going to stay a threat to the postseason party, but neither seems to show any signs of slowing down.