What can the Texas Rangers expect from reliever Kyle Bird, acquired in the Jurickson Profar trade, during the 2019 season?
The Texas Rangers added a couple of Top 30 prospects in the deal that sent Jurickson Profar to the Oakland A’s but reliever Kyle Bird may be the first to make a real impact in Arlington.
Background On Kyle Bird
The 25-year old pitcher was acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays after spending the past two seasons between Rays Double-A and Triple-A affiliates. In 2017, Bird made 53 appearances for the Ray’s Double-A team, the Montgomery Biscuits. In those appearances, he posted a 3.91 ERA in 71.1 innings and stuck out 68 during the season.
In 2018, Bird spent the season split between Double-A and Triple-A making 16 appearances and 27 appearances respectively. In Double-A his 3.66 ERA was a bit under the one he posted in 2017 and he struck out 23 in just 19.2 innings. His 1.169 WHIP was also an improvement from his 2017 campaign. In Triple-A, Bird actually produced notably better numbers posting an impressive 2.10 ERA in 55.2 innings. His strikeout rate stayed above one per inning and he was able to limit opposing hitters from getting on base.
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What Will Kyle Bird Do In 2019?
There’s a distinct possibility that Kyle Bird will start the 2019 season with the Major League club in Arlington. After the departure of Alex Claudio, the bullpen is down a lefty and Bird could slot in and take over a middle relief role. Bird seems to be at a point in his development that he can produce regularly at the big league level. While the Rangers aren’t in any rush to get their newly minted prospects to Arlington, Bird’s growth is unlikely to be stunted by making the jump and if his numbers from Triple-A are any indication, he’s ready.
Now Bird will have to compete for a spot in the bullpen with some new faces and some old ones. Texas recently brought back Jesse Chavez in free agency and he seems a lock for a prominent relief role. Wei-Chieh Huang, acquired from the Diamondbacks in exchange for Jake Diekman is a name that could make the jump to the majors from the minors.
Bird also will have more specific, lefties to compete against for a role. Jeffrey Spring made his appearance late in the season for Texas and is expected to be a part of the pitching staff in 2019. Additionally, a highly touted left-handed reliever CD Pelham is sure to make his case for being in the bullpen this season. There’ll be plenty of competition heading into Spring Training this year and it’ll be interesting to see where Kyle Bird falls.