Lucas Harrell Looks to Avoid Sophomore Slump for Houston Astros

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Only one rookie pitcher in the National League had a lower 2012 ERA than Houston Astros right-hander Lucas Harrell.

Wade Miley’s 3.33 ERA garnered him plenty of MLB Rookie of the Year votes but, Harrell received none despite his 11 wins and 3.76 ERA.

Harrell will now move to the incredibly difficult AL West division where he will face the likes of Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre all summer. The Astros won just 55 games last season, so the win total may not be there for Harrell in his sophomore season but, that doesn’t mean he can’t improve in other categories.

A fourth round pick by the Chicago White Sox in 2004, Harrell has always showed promise but was never given the prime opportunity until last spring. He would take the chance and run with it, as he started 32 games and was just 6.1 innings shy of pitching in 200 innings. Improvements in quality starts is a must, as he threw just one complete game in 2012.

Success came for Harrell in the second half as he yielded just four home runs and struck out 75 batters in 15 starts–I have no doubt his triumphs late in the year will transfer to March and April of 2013.

Harrell will pitch in the same rotation as journeymen like Bud Norris and Phillip Humber so hopefully he garner some advice on how to win in this league. While the shift in leagues will be tough I have faith that Harrell will exceed expectations in 2013 with improvements in ERA, WHIP and strikeouts.

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