Tanner Scheppers: To the rotation? Or to the pen?


Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

When Tanner Scheppers landed on the disabled list on April 18th (elbow and forearm inflammation), it was as a starter.  Of course, he wasn’t having much success in that role at the time; beginning his first-ever season as a Major League starter with an ERA of 9.82 in 4 starts.

So that begs the question, when Tanner comes back, should he be in the rotation?  Or the ‘pen?

Scheppers is technically eligible to come off of the DL on Friday; but MLB.com is reporting that he’s just today starting a throwing program.  So, he’ll still be a couple weeks away from rejoining the team most likely.  So let’s do a little leg work for JD and Wash in the meantime, shall we?

The Rotation –

Guess who’s back?

Somehow in the last two weeks the Rangers rotation has become more whole even after Scheppers’ injury.  Colby Lewis has made his triumphant return.  Well…okay…I wouldn’t normally call a 4.60 ERA “triumphant”, but Colby has looked decent given the fact that he hasn’t pitched in 2 years and is coming off major surgery.

Matt Harrison has also rejoined the starting rotation for the first time since last April. Harrison looked pretty good last Sunday and has an ERA of 3.00 after that 6 inning outing.

Guess who never left?

Yu Darvish had his shortest outing of his career in his last start; giving up a startling 4 runs in 3.1 innings.  But, Yu is still Yu and I’m pretty sure there’s nothing to worry about there.  Even after that outing, Darvish still has an ERA of 2.59.

Martin Perez had a bad outing of his own last night; giving up a whopping 8 earned runs in just 4.2 innings.  And that is really shocking considering what Perez has been doing of late.  But that’s really also not that concerning to me.  Perez was due for a bad outing; it happens to the best of ’em.

Robbie Ross Jr. or as I like to call him, The Artist Formerly Known As Robbie Ross, is looking good too!  His ERA is currently at 2.45 after 5 starts.

So if you’re counting, like I’m counting, that’s:

  1. YUUU
  2. Marteen
  3. Matty
  4. The Artist Formerly Known As Robbie Ross
  5. Colby

Who’s out if Scheppers comes back?  So far it’s looking like no one should be moved out of the rotation, am I right?  Of course, we’re only looking at small sample sizes for Lewis and Harrison; and actually a super-small sample for Matty.  It could be that something happens performance-wise that dictates a move prior to Scheppers’ return.  There are other things that might happen as well, but I have taken a stance against the “I” word; and you should too.  In fact, I may have to boycott the words “disabled list” on general principal.

The Bullpen – 

Soooo….there’s this:

Neil Cotts – 6.52 ERA, 9.2IP

Alexi Ogando – 6.39 ERA, 12.2IP

Pedro Figueroa – 4.00, 9IP (<–This is actually lower than I thought it was)

And that would be the most concise argument I’ve ever made.

The truth is that when Scheppers comes back, IF he is placed in the bullpen, which seems to be a cause for concern for your Texas Rangers at the moment, then it would be one of these guys whose role he would fill.  The funny thing is, I did the math and the bullpen’s ERA is 3.79.  Not terrible right?  The problem is, I can also name at least three games that the bullpen has blown; at least.  And they’ve only played 27 games.

Figueroa is currently on the DL, so who knows what could happen with that.  But, I doubt Cotts or Ogando will be moved anywhere, maybe just used differently. The youngster Nick Martinez could be sent down to make room.  Lots of options there too, though.

It’s really hard to argue with putting Scheppers in the pen to anyone that saw what he did out there last year.  He was dominant and HUGE part of the team’s success.  My only thought is this:

Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Am I being dramatic?  Maybe.  But you cannot discount the toll roster moves make on a player’s psyche.  Granted, the Yankees probably jerked Joba Chamberlain around more than any pitcher in history, but it definitely took its toll.

What do you think about Tanner?  Where does he fit in upon his return?

27 down, 135 to go.

Your Texas Rangers are 15-12.

Go, Robbie, GO!