After a difficult start to his big league career, Taylor Hearn is carving out a new role with the Texas Rangers and has impressed while doing so.
The beginning of Taylor Hearn’s big league career was a rocky one. The Texas Rangers left-hander made his first career start for his hometown club against the Seattle Mariners in April 2019 and wasn’t able to make it out of the first inning. The following day Hearn hit the Injured List with left elbow inflammation and would miss the remainder of the 2019 season after complications during rehab. However the Royse City native is back and not only is he a part of the Rangers’ big league pitching staff, but he’s a shining example of who Texas needs to keep building their future on.
Hearn’s role with Texas this year has been slightly different than probably both parties would have hoped when he was acquired, alongside Sherten Apostel, from the Pittsburgh Pirates for reliever Keone Kela. Hearn was a lefty with rotation upside who had featured in that role in the minors prior to, and after being trade to the Texas Rangers. However in 2020, he’s been playing a role in the Rangers’ bullpen and is quickly establishing himself as a shutdown reliever.
So far this year Hearn has appeared in six games for Texas throwing a total of 7.2 innings. In that time he’s flashed his premium fastball which can push the upper-90’s and allowed just a pair of earned runs. Both those runs came in his first outing of the year against those same Mariners he debuted against. Since then, Hearn has been stellar with 6.2 scoreless innings and racking up nine strikeouts.
Even more impressive is the role in which he’s performed in his most recent pair of appearances where he put in two inning relief outings rather than just getting one frame of work. He allowed four baserunners in that span, two walks and two hits, while striking out seven including a five K performance against those same Seattle Mariners and in that same ballpark in which he made his ill-fated debut.
A multi-inning reliever who can be dominant in those innings is a high value player to big league teams. Hearn’s value is increased because he’s a lefty with late-inning quality stuff who can generate outs to both left-handed and right-handed batters. earn attacks the zone relying on that fastball paired with a nice slider to generate swings and misses.
Moving forward, Hearn’s role will likely shift as Texas looks to get his talented arm on the mound in different situations. The Texas Rangers might look to stretch him out against next season as a starter or they could opt to shift him into a multi-inning, high-leverage relief position. His season this year though has been confirmation of the talent Texas thought was there when they acquired him and his confidence on the mound is visible.