Josh James

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Brad Peacock favored to be Astros’ No. 5 starter

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Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Brad Peacock is the “leading candidate” to open the regular season as the club’s No. 5 starter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.

Peacock has registered a 1.50 ERA in 12 innings of work this spring. His competition, pitching prospect Josh James, has logged just one inning this spring due to a quad injury.

Last season, Peacock pitched almost exclusively out of the bullpen, compiling a 3.46 ERA with 96 strikeouts and 20 walks across 65 innings. He was a fixture in the Astros’ rotation in the last four months of the 2017 season, so this is certainly not a new role.

James, 26, impressed in a cup of coffee last September, yielding six runs on 15 hits and seven walks with 29 strikeouts in 23 innings. MLB Pipeline rates James as the No. 4 prospect in Houston’s system. James could open the season in the bullpen and then transition into the rotation if needed.