If you follow the Texas Rangers at all, you’ve probably heard of a 20-year-old pitching prospect named Martin Perez. A lot of people have closely followed his steady climb to Triple A, and with good reason.
There is another LHP in the Rangers’ system that I don’t think should be overlooked, one that has already shown off his stuff in Arlington and has what it takes to be a success going forward.
His name is Michael Kirkman.
Kirkman is an interesting case. The Rangers drafted him when he was 18 and, for a while, his command just left him. In 2006 he walked over 50 batters in only 34.1 innings. For some reason, he couldn’t put things back together again.
At one point he was approached by somebody* in the organization who suggested that he watch some video of Cliff Lee. Not being an expert in pitching mechanics, I can’t say what similarities there are between the two other than both being southpaws, but the advice seemed to pay off.
*If I remember, it was his pitching coach who suggested it, but I can’t say for sure.
By 2010, his ERA was down to 3.09 in Triple A and he was ready to make his major league debut. When he did join the Rangers, he struck out just under a batter per inning. In 2011, his ERA ballooned from 1.65 to 6.59, but he still struck out 21 in 27.1 innings pitched.
No doubt he needs to make some adjustments, but I like Kirkman and I want to see him succeed. Hopefully he continues to develop and contribute in 2012.
Maybe he’ll even have a breakout year, which is something that we could all get excited about.
Press on, Rangers fans.