Texas Rangers: Top Headlines Entering Spring Training
By Travis Koch
Who is the Ace of Staff?
It’s ideal for a team to have an obvious ace, or at least a front-runner. However, the Rangers have neither. If anything, the ace vacancy will incentivize the starting pitchers who are in the running for the title.
The race will likely come down to Lance Lynn and Mike Minor. Both are coming off full seasons, which is more than can be said for other starters like Drew Smyly, Edinson Volquez and Shelby Miller.
Lynn went 10-10 with a 4.77 ERA in 2018. He threw 156.2 innings and struck out 161 hitters. It wasn’t his best year, though he did finish strong, allowing just five earned runs over his final four appearances as a member of the Yankees.
Minor was the Rangers’ most consistent starter last season. He led all starters in starts, innings pitched, ERA and strikeouts. By all accounts, he was the team’s ace in 2018, though he didn’t have much competition. He does have competition this year.
Being named the opening day starter is an honor, but it doesn’t carry as much weight as it once did. Certain teams, the ones which don’t have a defined ace, determine their opening day starter based on scheduled days off carried over from spring training. You may remember Tanner Scheppers being the Rangers’ opening day starter in 2014 — that did not mean he was the team’s ace.
“Ace” is just a title. For Texas Rangers starting pitchers, the title will be earned as the season progresses. I like Mike Minor starting on opening day. From there, we’ll see who pitches like an ace, or at least closest to it.