Former Hog Dallas Keuchel Named Astros’ Opening Day Starter

Dallas Keuchel will be looking to follow up his AL Cy Young winning 2015 performance on the right (or left) foot opening day for the Astros.

The Astros naming leftie Dallas Keuchel the opening day starter is somewhat of a no brainer after the way he torched batters last season to the tune of a 20-8 record with a 2.48 ERA and the manliest beard in the majors. The fact that he had a 15-0 record at home shouldn’t be much of a factor for his opener since it is at Yankee Stadium where he pitched 6 scoreless innings, leading the Astros to a 3-0 win in the AL Wildcard game last October.

As a Razorback, Dallas piled up 19 wins in 3 seasons while posting a 4.56 ERA over 234.2 innings. His career totals at Arkansas place him just outside the Hogs all time 10 in pitching. It wasn’t all stats though as he led the Diamond Hogs to 2 College World Series wins in Omaha in 2009. Keuchel left for the MLB his junior season after being drafted by the Astros in the seventh round.

Oct 2, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel (60) pitches during the sixth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

2016 will be the year of “Kid Keuchey” as he will be out to prove that his breakout 2015 season was not a fluke. Since being called up to the majors in 2013, and allowing more walks than strikeouts, he has progressed to a pitch commander that can paint the corner better than Rembrandt himself, choosing to dazzle batters with pinpoint accuracy at the plate rather than blowing the ball by them.

His average fastball speed is only 89.95 MPH, but combine that with his wicked slider that is designed to miss bats and you have a deadly combo. On top of that, he throws his sinker 50% of time, which gave him the highest ground ball rate of all MLB pitchers. These numbers lead us at Razorbackers to believe he will be a contender for the Cy Young again in 2016.

Since he relies more on craftiness and control rather than just raw power, his arm should be able to last him much longer than the average pitcher in the MLB. Kid Keuchey should be representing the Diamond Hogs on Baseball’s highest stage for years to come.

After a 7-0 start to the 2016 season, Dave Van Horn may have a few more MLB stars laying in wait while honing their skills on their way to Omaha. We will be watching with much interest to see who the next big star is to come out of the OmahaHogs program.