2) Joey Lucchesi
Joey Lucchesi is in a similar spot as Megill and even David Peterson who'll be out at the beginning of the year. Tommy John Surgery threw a nasty churve Lucchesi's way back in 2021. He has been attempting to make a full comeback for two straight seasons now. While good at times, he hasn’t stuck around in the majors.
Another one of the stack of starting pitcher depth pieces, the fact that he throws left-handed separates him slightly from Houser and Megill. Still, the option to demote him but not with Houser makes him depth and not a serious contender for an actual Opening Day spot.
This puts Lucchesi on-call alongside Megill. The new front office and manager won't have an immediate favorite. What they do in the spring can give a first impression that will last.
Ultimately it's how they perform in the regular season that will determine if they can move up again. Houser, in the final year of his deal, isn’t above getting released if disaster strikes. We should prepare for any of these players to find themselves moved to the bullpen, too. Throughout Stearns’ tenure with the Milwaukee Brewers, pitchers like Houser frequently worked as a starter and reliever. By the end of 2024, we could see a couple of these guys with a dozen starts and another 20 relief appearances.
For now, move Houser ahead of Lucchesi on the depth chart. The lefty will need to win back his spot.