Things are starting to look up for the Texas Rangers pitching staff
By Travis Koch
Pitching has been inconsistent for the Texas Rangers thus far this spring. But there is a lot to like, especially about the young guys.
The first few spring training games had Texas Rangers fans thinking “here we go again”. Texas pitchers allowed at least five runs in four of the first five games. Much of the damage came against arms that are either guaranteed a roster spot or have a decent shot at one. It was a discouraging start, but things are looking better as guys are taking the mound for a second or third time.
Yohander Mendez gave up three runs in one inning of work in his initial spring start vs. the Brewers. He relieved Shelby Miller in his second outing on Friday and tossed two innings, allowed no runs and fanned two.
Ariel Jurado gave up two runs on four hits over two innings in his first outing. His second outing consisted of two innings pitched, no runs and two strikeouts.
Both pitchers are competing for a rotation spot.
The projected rotation contributed mixed results. Drew Smyly threw a scoreless inning in his first action since 2016. Mike Minor has been great over five innings of work. He’s given up just two hits and struck out five batters.
The other three had their struggles; however, they left the mound with positive takeaways. Edinson Volquez‘s velocity is up; he touched 97 mph on the gun. Lance Lynn worked longer than manager Chris Woodward intended, and Shelby Miller left his start feeling refreshed. Most importantly, the entire staff survived their outings with no injury scares.
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Many of the Texas Rangers’ young relievers are impressing.
Brock Burke, an offseason trade acquisition (Profar deal) and the organization’s #6 prospect, threw three scoreless innings as a starter yesterday afternoon. He allowed one base runner and struck out six.
Jeffrey Springs has yet to allow a run. The lefty has walked four over two innings, though none of the free passes have crossed the plate.
Kyle Bird, Brett Martin and Connor Sadzeck have pitched well. Also, Taylor Hearn and Adrian Sampson have settled down after rough starts.
Throw C.D. Pelham and Joe Palumbo in the mix and the Rangers have a lot of interesting roster decisions to make over the next few weeks.
A good spring appearance doesn’t spell season long success and a bad spring appearance doesn’t spell season long failure. That said, spring performances for pitchers carry much more weight than they do for hitters.
Jon Daniels has done an excellent job of collecting young, promising arms. A few will get their chance to join the experienced ones on March 28th. Even the arms that don’t make the cut will be monitored closely in the minor leagues. Ranger pitching won’t be smooth sailing in 2019, but it will certainly be better than last year.