With Cole Hamels gone, someone has to take over as the Texas Rangers ace. That someone appears to be transitioned starter, Mike Minor.
The Texas Rangers aren’t exactly killing it in the starting pitching department this season. An overall staff ERA of 5.28 and a .283 BAA (Batting Average Against) both rank 29th in Major League Baseball. The Baltimore Orioles rank last in each stat (not surprising considering the current Texas vs. Baltimore series). Though, poor numbers do not take away from the fact that every team has an ace. And the Rangers’ acting ace is Mike Minor.
Critique his numbers all you want, but Cole Hamels was the Rangers’ ace while he was a member of the team in 2018. He had the prowess, experience, leadership and intimidation of an ace; therefore, he was one. However, with Hamels gone, another Texas starting pitcher had to take over the “ace” title…
Mike Minor has had two starts since Hamels’ departure. In those two starts, he combined for 13 innings pitched, three runs allowed, 14 strikeouts, one walk and one home run given up. One start resulted in a win over the division leading Houston Astros and the other one in a win over a hot Baltimore Orioles offense.
In short time, Minor has become a guy that the Texas Rangers feel confident in earning the team a win. He has also become a guy that can pitch deep into ballgames. Sounds like ace-type qualities, right? Not bad for a guy that spent all of last season as a relief pitcher for the Kansas City Royals.
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Alongside Minor, the Rangers’ staff consists of a 45-year-old Bartolo Colon, a Yovani Gallardo that is pitching for his fourth team in three seasons, a Ariel Jurado that has 15.2 big league innings under his belt, and a Martin Perez that can never stay healthy. Surely, Minor’s competition is not of the highest caliber, but they’re still major league pitchers. He’s still had to pitch well to outshine each of his starting pitching buddies.
This is a much more important topic than it seems. Reason being, it extends out to next year. The Texas Rangers don’t have much in line for the 2019 season, at least in regard to their pitching rotation. Minor and Perez appear to be the two arms that have guaranteed spots. Perhaps Jurado will earn one as well, though he still has a lot to prove in 2018 alone.
With 2019 being a clear rebuilding year, it is unlikely the Rangers make any serious efforts to sign an ace this offseason. Thus, the #1 slot in the rotation will likely be up for grabs entering the year. The way things project, Mike Minor may very well be next season’s opening day starter.
It’s certainly a nice thought, but 2019 opening day is a ways away. Minor has plenty of time over the next two months to make his case for next year’s ace. Though, as for this very moment, I deem Mike Minor the Texas Rangers new Ace of Staff.