Texas Rangers: 5 players with something to prove in the closing month

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ARLINGTON, TX - JUNE 15: Yohander Mendez #65 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Colorado Rockies in the top of the first inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on June 15, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - JUNE 15: Yohander Mendez #65 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Colorado Rockies in the top of the first inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on June 15, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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Texas Rangers
SEATTLE, WA – SEPTEMBER 05: Relief pitcher Yohander Mendez #65 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the fifth inning at Safeco Field on September 5, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) /

Yohander Mendez

Texas has been waiting on Mendez to figure things out at the MLB level. The left-hander has now been up with the team in three consecutive seasons; yet, he seemingly exudes less and less promise each call-up.

He made two relief appearances in 2016, allowing a combined six earned runs over just three innings. 2017 saw a 5.11 ERA over 12.1 innings of relief work. He then pitched 0.2 innings in a 2018 May outing, was sent down and then promoted once again to make his first MLB start June 15th against the Colorado Rockies. It was at that moment when he took a few steps back.

He was shelled by Colorado, allowing six runs on seven hits over three innings. But, to his defense, the Rockies are not an easy team to face in a debut start. Unfortunately, Mendez made matters worse when he broke team rules later that night. As a result, he was once again demoted.

Yohander Mendez, at 23 years of age, ranks as the Rangers’ #17 prospect. He had a tremendous opportunity earlier this season to emerge in a rather lackluster rotation. Sadly, behavior of all things spoiled that opportunity.

Now, he is once again pitching in September. Frankly, he’s pitching quite well. He earned the win in a September 2nd start against the Minnesota Twins, allowing no runs in six innings. He followed that start by tossing four innings and giving up two runs to a red-hot Oakland Athletics squad.

The Texas rotation already has the “help sign” posted for 2019. They will expect Mendez to fill a spot in next year’s rotation. All he has to do to fulfill that expectation is finish the 2018 season strong and show consistency throughout spring training.

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