3 Astros who could crack Opening Day roster after Justin Verlander injury update

With Justin Verlander set to begin the year on the IL, these three Astros players now have a chance to crack the Opening Day roster.

Oct 20, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander (35) is removed from
Oct 20, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander (35) is removed from / Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports
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1) Justin Verlander's injury gives Spencer Arrighetti a chance to make the Astros Opening Day roster

Is it likely? Absolutely not, but let's have some fun. The Justin Verlander injury will likely result in France beginning the year in the rotation (if healthy) and one or both of Blanco and Bielak in the bullpen, but what if Houston promoted one of their top prospects and arguably their best pitching prospect Spencer Arrighetti?

The right-hander was considered the third-best prospect by MLB Pipeline last season, and will be near the top of Houston's ranking this season as well after making it up to AAA for the first time in 2023.

Arrighetti's numbers from last season don't jump off the page as he posted a 4.40 ERA in 28 appearances (21 starts) and 124.2 innings of work, but the fact that he was able to make 15 appearances and 13 starts in AAA suggests he's at least somewhat close to making it to the majors. The fact that he pitched in the notoriously hitter-friendly PCL also has to be taken into account when looking into his numbers.

The right-hander has made just one start this spring but made the most of it, delivering two scoreless innings and striking out three. It's probably a long shot, but Verlander's injury at least opens up the chance for the 24-year-old to at the very least battle for a spot on the roster.

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