The Texas Rangers have lacked pitching depth in recent seasons. But help is on the way, and sooner than Texas Rangers fans think.
It’s always fun to watch a lineup mash. Chicks dig the longball, after all. But as fun as home runs are, it takes more than big bats to win big. The Texas Rangers have been sorely lacking on the mound in recent years. Injuries took their toll. Free agents didn’t work out. Pitching prospects never developed. Sometimes that’s just the way baseball go. (I miss Ron Washington.)
But really, how important is pitching to going deep in the playoffs? Let’s look at the World Series participants from the last few years to see.
Last year, the Dodgers ranked second in MLB in ERA, and the eventual champion Red Sox were eighth. In 2017, the Dodgers ranked second and the Astros eleventh. And in 2016, the Cubs were first and the Indians seventh. In fact, for the last ten years, the World Series participants have averaged eighth in ERA in MLB.
The Rangers, as mentioned above, haven’t had that kind of pitching success. They have ranked 19th in ERA the last ten years, on average. The highest they’ve ranked is tenth, in 2010 and 2013. The last five years they’ve ranked 24th. If you’re looking for a reason the Rangers haven’t gone deep in the playoffs lately, that’s it right there. Pitching wins championships, and the Rangers have not developed great pitching lately. But that’s about to change. Help is on the way.
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Take a look at MLB.com’s top 30 prospects list for the Texas Rangers. It’s littered with pitching prospects. Cole Winn, Hans Crouse, Jonathan Hernandez, Joe Palumbo, Brock Burke, Taylor Hearn, Cole Ragans, and C.D. Pelham are intriguing young hurlers. You’ll probably see three of those guys this season, maybe more than three. Keep a close eye on Crouse, as might turn into the club’s ace in the not too distant future.
Not all of those pitching prospects will work out. After all, TNSTAAPP. But you have to like how many chances the Rangers have given themselves to find some homegrown, high quality pitching. Add in veterans acquired on the cheap like Lance Lynn, Drew Smyly, Mike Minor, Edinson Volquez, and Shelby Miller, along with the recently extended Jose Leclerc, and the Rangers will soon be pitching rich.
A lot of those veterans are coming off injuries. Some will work out, some will not. The ones that don’t work out will be replaced by the young prospects. Those that do succeed for Texas will either be traded for more prospects this season, or possibly stick around to be a part of a competing squad in 2020.
For the first time in a long time, the Texas Rangers have young pitching on the way. Fans just have to be patient for a little while longer.