The league adjusted to the 2015 Cy Young winner in a big way (4.80 ERA, 2.8 K/BB first half) and while he started to adjust back in the second half (3.94 ERA, 3.6 K/BB), he then lost the final month of the season to a shoulder injury. The major change was that the opposition started swinging less often at Dallas Keuchel's pitches out of the zone, which forced him back into the zone in hitter-friendly or even counts. Additionally, his OPS-against on plate appearances ending out of the zone skyrocketed from a league-best .339 in 2015 to .530 last year -- or slightly better than the .579 average (min. 150 IP). Each one of his pitches performed worse, too, but especially his "hard" stuff. The fastball and cutter combined for an .837 OPS, up from .669 in 2015. He was cleared to resume throwing this offseason and should enter camp healthy. Keuchel is definitely far from his 2015 peak, but he's better than his 2016 bottom line. Don't pay for more than high-3.00s ERA.
Keuchel (shoulder) will throw his first live batting practice session over the weekend, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports. The left-hander is set to take an important step toward being ready for Opening Day. The Astros are being careful with the 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner's recovery from left rotator cuff inflammation. He said he tried to pitch through it for just about all of 2016, so better management of the injury -- or any other one moving forward -- could do wonders for his durability. Keuchel could be worth a buy-low gamble in mixed fantasy drafts if he progresses strongly through his five scheduled spring outings.
Keuchel (shoulder) isn't expected to make his Grapefruit League debut until early March, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports. Keuchel suggested he's not behind the curve in his recovery from a bout of shoulder inflammation that sidelined him late last season, but it sounds like the Astros aren't inclined to overextend him early on in the spring. He already resumed throwing off a mound last week and came through the session without incident, and is still on track to make about five starts during spring training. The former Cy Young award winner saw his numbers decline considerably a season ago, but with some better luck on balls in play and a reduction in his home-run rate closer to what he provided in 2014 and 2015, it's not unrealistic to expect him to turn in a sub-4.00 ERA in 2017.
Keuchel (shoulder) had a 20-pitch bullpen session and reported feeling good, Brett Dolan of CBS Houston reports. Keuchel, who should be Houston's Opening Day starter if healthy, was shut down in September of last season with a case of shoulder inflammation. The 2015 Cy Young award winner in American League said he never felt right when he reported to spring training in 2016. He nevertheless took the ball every fifth day -- that's what staff ace's do -- but hitters caught up to all of his pitches, particularly his trademark sinker. The Astros have added some lumber in the offseason, which should help the starting staff, but they'll need Keuchel healthy if they want to contend in the A.L. West.
Keuchel (shoulder) plans to throw a bullpen session Thursday at Minute Maid Park in the next phase of his recovery, Jake Kaplan of The Houston Chronicle reports. It will be Keuchel's first time throwing off a mound since August, a major step in his rehab process. The 2015 Cy Young Winner missed the final month of a disappointing 2016 campaign, but says he's in the best shape of his life after the long offseason. Keuchel expects to throw between two and four bullpen session before heading to spring training Feb. 12.
Keuchel (shoulder) has been playing catch three times a week for the past few weeks, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports. The 2015 AL Cy Young winner, who was shut down in late August last season due to shoulder inflammation, has been steadily progressing his offseason workouts and has thrown from 110-115 feet away. He struggled in 2016 before being shut down for the season, posting a 4.55 ERA across 168.0 innings. A healthy Keuchel will look to return to his Cy Young form for the Astros in 2017.