There is more depth now in the Texas Rangers bullpen than at any point in recent memory. With C.J. Wilson gone to that American League team who may or may not be in Los Angeles, it looks like Neftali Feliz will move into the rotation. Feliz will be joining Alexi Ogando who goes for his sophomore year as a starting pitcher, this time with a bit more warning than he had last year. There is much to rejoice about in the Rangers pen. Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels have made this part of the Rangers pitching staff very stable.
Let’s look at the newest three additions to the pen right now, Joe Nathan, Mike Adams and Koji Uehara. The three main stats that I look at when judging pitchers are the classic ERA, WHIP or walks plus hits divided by innings pitched and SO/BB ratio or strikeouts to walks. I feel that these stats give a good overall look at the what the pitcher can do independent of the wins ratio.
Coming in as the presumed new closer is Joe Nathan formerly of the Twins. Nathan was a 2008 and 2009 All-Star with the Twins but missed the entire 2010 season with injuries and attempted to come back in 2011 too early resulting in a subpar 1st half of 2011, but was able to come back in style for the 2nd half of 2011. Nathan is 37 years old and will start his 11th season in the majors. His career stats are 2.87 ERA, 1.1 WHIP and 2.76 SO/BB ratio. His status as a former all-star and a veteran should result in the ability of Feliz, but the knowledge to keep his head in do or die situations.
Returning for a full year with the Rangers is Mike Adams. When Adams was acquired from the Padres for two AA prospects, Robbie Erlin and Joe Weiland, I will admit I was the first to think the price paid was too high. But I am very fond of prospects. Adams, 33, will be in his 8th major league season having posted career numbers of 2.11 ERA, .999 WHIP and SO/BB ratio of 3.56 If Adams is able to put up anything like his 2011 73.2 IP and 1.47 ERA and SO/BB of 5.29 it may hopefully settle the ghosts of lost prospects.
Koji Uehara. Let’s just say that I hope Koji is able to return to the stats he was able to post with the Orioles. He appeared to just freeze when he came to the Rangers after the Orioles traded him for Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter trade. This meltdown was so complete as to have Koji not placed on the World Series roster. Koji is 36 and will be entering his 3rd major league season and has posted career number of 3.13 ERA 9.79 WHIP and SO/BB ratio of 7.23. His 2011 1.72 ERA with the O’s was phenomenal, his 4.00 ERA with the Rangers, not so much.
Assuming that these pieces of the pen work at their expected level as their best split in 2012, then a Koji/Adams/Nathan 7/8/9 should provide the starting rotation a shutdown relieving corps.
As always, Go Rangers!