Texas Rangers: Kolby Allard’s solid start against Houston is a good sign
By Kenneth Nash
Despite taking a loss in the game, the Texas Rangers have reason to be excited after Kolby Allard put out a quality performance.
I mentioned earlier this week about the final few series of the Texas Rangers season being a sort of measuring stick against some of the teams they’ll have to compete against to be considered a contender next year. While that comparison got off to a poor start with back-to-back losses in Houston, Kolby Allard measured up fairly well against arguably the best team in baseball.
The Rangers 22-year old starter put out a solid performance against the Astros albeit in a losing effort. Allard as of right now is more or less found money. Texas acquired him for a reliever with an expiring contract in Chris Martin which is pretty low value despite how good Martin had been this season. Allard, a former top left-handed pitching prospect in baseball had fallen off the radar in the past couple of years meaning it was a low-risk, high-reward deal for both teams.
After an impressive beginning to the year, Allard’s start on Wednesday was a nice proverbial measuring stick as he fights for a spot in the rotation next season. Allard was up to the challenge throwing five innings and allowing a pair of runs. He’s never going to be a massive strikeout guy and only had two while walking four, but at just 22, if he can be at the end of your rotation next season that’s a win for Texas.
The game against Houston was necessarily an outlier either. Allard has been pretty good since he made his Rangers debut back at the beginning of August. Despite a rough start against the Angels and a so-so start against the Rays, Allard has continually put Texas in a spot to win. Through eight starts Allard has thrown 42.1 innings with 32 strikeouts. He has a 4.25 ERA which isn’t eye-popping but also probably doesn’t tell the whole story. His FIP or fielding independent pitching is 3.74 which is more than acceptable for a guy who you’re hoping can fill a fourth or fifth starter role next season.
He also is limiting the long ball, something that is impressive in today’s game. His home runs allowed per nine innings rate so far is just 0.4 which is pretty stellar. That’s especially impressive considering he’s a guy who doesn’t miss tons of bats and relies on getting outs on balls in play. It shows he has a unique ability to generate regular soft contact.
Allard is joined by a few pitching prospects hoping to play a significant role next season. Joe Palumbo and Brock Burke have shown some positive signs in their opportunities but Allard as of now looks to be the best of the bunch. Or at least the most ready. This is a big win for a Rangers organization that has struggled to find young starting pitching.