Texas Rangers: 2021 bullpen unit has some fascinating talents
By Seth Carlson
The Texas Rangers’ 2021 bullpen might be the most dynamic unit they’ve had in years.
We’re continuing our preview of the different positional groups on the Texas Rangers‘ 2021 roster.
On Tuesday, we examined the projected starting lineup and the likely starting rotation configuration ahead of the new season.
Now, we turn our focus to perhaps the most unheralded, but arguably the most dynamic part of the Rangers’ 2021 roster: the bullpen.
I know what you might be thinking: how would a rebuilding squad have anything close to resembling a good bullpen?
It’s a puzzling thought, as non-contending teams are usually barren in their relief corps, trading away whatever value may exist to playoff teams.
And while the Texas Rangers have some assets in their bullpen that could easily be traded to a contending team (i.e. Jose Leclerc) for prospects, they also have some young flamethrowers that could just as much become part of the team’s future.
Right-handed reliever options
RHP Jose Leclerc
RHP Demarcus Evans
RHP Jimmy Herget
RHP John King
Left-handed reliever options
LHP Taylor Hearn
LHP Wes Benjamin
LHP Kolby Allard
LHP Joe Palumbo
LHP Joely Rodriguez
The Texas Rangers have some potential studs lined up in their bullpen for 2021.
Wow. That’s a lot of names at first glance. And quality ones, at that.
But this serves to illustrate the fact that the Texas Rangers have a ton of depth with respect to big league relievers.
Some of the names that stick out on this list include Joely Rodriguez (2.13 ERA in 2020), Jonathan Hernandez (3.40 career ERA), Demarcus Evans (9.0 K/9 rate in 2020), Taylor Hearn (127 ERA+ and 11.9 K/9 rate in 2020) and of course, incumbent closer Jose Leclerc.
There’s a chance that Kolby Allard, Wes Benjamin and Joe Palumbo could all push for rotation spots in 2021, which would still leave Hearn and Rodriguez as quality southpaw relief options.
Additionally, pitchers John King, Jimmy Herget and even Demarcus Evans could find themselves beginning the 2021 season at Triple-A Round Rock, a testament to the organization’s depth.
This stable of young, fireballing relievers certainly puts the Rangers in an enviable position.
Not only do they provide closure in the late innings and take some pressure off of what is expected to be a middling Texas Rangers rotation, but a few of these hurlers could even pose as trade chips to advance the rebuilding cause as the team sets its sights on contention by 2023.
Or maybe the Rangers decide to merely trade Jose Leclerc while maintaining the rest of their talented relievers, possibly converting some to the starting rotation while leaving others to marinate and develop in the minor leagues.
Either way, there’s organizational flexibility with respect to this unit, and that’s a great thing for the Texas Rangers.
The team’s 2021 bullpen has the potential to be special on a roster that otherwise lacks much in the way of being spectacular.