It’s never to early to start to think about the Texas Rangers 2016 rotation. Basically once the 2015 season ended with the Rangers losing to the Toronto Blue Jays in game 5 of the American League Division Series I started thinking about how things could have been different.
Forget the obvious. By that I mean the horrible plays by shortstop Elvis Andrus. But, I’m thinking about the starting rotation. This season it was solid considering the injuries the team was coming off of in 2014. Derek Holland and Martin Perez both had to work to rebound from injuries. Both had great and bad moments, and for Holland his happened during game 4 of the ALDS.
So enough about 2015. Time to think about the Texas Rangers 2016 rotation. One important piece of the rotation that was missing during the 2015 was ace pitcher Yu Darvish. In my opinion it’s going to be tough to have him back by Opening day, but I’d expect him back near the beginning of the season. He’s got to be the anchor of the starting rotation. During the 2012 and 2013 season he was a very dominate pitcher. He struggled at times against the Oakland Athletics, but he absolutely owned the Houston Astros. Now that we play them 19 games a season it’s very important to win those games. That fact alone helped the Texas Rangers make the playoffs this season.
Next, behind Darvish would be Cole Hamels. Hamels was a piece that was supposed to payoff during the 2016 season. After Hamels was acquired from Philadelphia fans expected him to win. It didn’t go that way during his first 2 games. But, he kept positive and along with the team kept up with Never Ever Quit mantra and ended up helping the team win the next 10 games. With him in the rotation next season he’ll help his team win many more and hopefully find himself in another playoff run.
For the third spot it will be a battle between Martin Perez and Derek Holland during spring training. In my opinion I think out of the gate it will be Derek Holland’s position. Even though that Holland struggle late in the season, he does have a lot of good history with the team. He’s had a couple of good seasons and pitched well in the 2011 postseason. I think he has a chance to get ready for the season this offseason being basically injury free. Probably something he hasn’t been able to do in about 2 years. With that said I think Holland will take the third spot.
Since Holland will take the third spot that means Martin Perez will take the 4th spot in the rotation. He returned around the mid-point this season after having Tommy John surgery. He started off the 2014 season very well and unfortunately it had to end due to injury. In my opinion he’s easily a pitcher who will someday be a number 2 or 3 pitcher in the rotation. He’s still young and doesn’t have a lot of innings under his belt just yet. He’s quickly learning and rebounding and I think the 2016 will be his comeback season.
Lastly, to finish out the rotation should be Colby Lewis. He’s currently still a free-agent with several other teams showing interest, such as the Miami Marlins. I think there’s a good chance that the Texas Rangers will re-sign him. If the Rangers sign another starting pitcher then I’d guess that would throw up a strong signal they won’t. That’s because I don’t see Lewis being a long man in the pen. Lewis wants to be a starter so if it’s not for Texas it will be for someone else. In my opinion he pitched very well this past season. He pitched above my expectations and proved he’s able go the distance of a full season. It’s hard to tell how long he’ll be able to do it, but I think one more season it’s unreasonable.
So there you have it. Without any big trades or anything unexpected the rotation will probably be Darvish, Hamels, Holland, Perez, and Lewis. If they can repeat and improve on the 2015 season it should be a good one. I’m looking forward to next season and seeing how the rotation looks by Opening day.
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