We looked at a perfect lineup for the Texas Rangers in 2021. What would a perfect rotation look like for the team next season?
If there was such a thing as a team-building handbook or a 101 class on how to construct a roster, establishing a strong pitching staff might be towards the top of that book or syllabus.
While the Texas Rangers have the majority of their position player needs filled heading into 2021, the team mostly lacks adequate talent in the pitching department.
Texas got a head start in the search for piecing together a pitching staff by acquiring three young pitchers during the Winter Meetings.
Right-hander Dane Dunning and lefty Avery Weems both came over in the trade that sent Lance Lynn to the Chicago White Sox. In the Rule 5 draft, the Rangers selected former Dodgers farmhand Brett de Geus.
While Dunning and de Geus are both expected to begin 2021 on the Texas Rangers’ Opening Day roster, Weems will be starting the season in the Minor Leagues as he continues his development.
With some in-house options at the Major League level and plenty of pitching free agents to be had, let’s create the optimal Texas Rangers starting rotation for 2021.
Texas Rangers’ 2021 ace: RHP Dane Dunning
Wait, that Dane Dunning? The one Texas just acquired in a deal with the Chicago White Sox for veteran right-hander Lance Lynn?
Yes, that Dane Dunning.
Dunning comes over from the White Sox having already made his big-league debut.
Across seven starts and 34 innings pitched for Chicago in 2020, Dunning went 2-0 with a 3.97 ERA, posting a 113 ERA+ and 3.99 FIP along the way.
Those stats will tell you the young righty’s brief Majors audition was no fluke. Texas appears to have something special in Dunning.
Dunning is currently ranked as the third-best prospect in the Rangers’ system according to MLB Pipeline, but should lose that title early on in 2021 as he becomes ineligible for “rookie” status with more playing time.
All of Dunning’s pitches are also graded above average on the scouting scale of 20-80, with his fastball landing the highest mark at 60.
With both Lance Lynn and Corey Kluber gone, the Rangers generally lack pitchers with “ace” stuff at the moment.
Dane Dunning is precisely the type of player that can step in and give the Rangers quality innings in 2021.
Look for him to do just that as he sits atop the team’s flimsy rotation.