Considering how dim the 2021 outlook is for the Texas Rangers, it should be thrilling (and somewhat heartening) that multiple positions are expected to be up for grabs this spring.
Now, it’s pitching time.
The consensus appears to be that the first four rotation spots in Texas will be occupied by newly acquired righties Dane Dunning and Kohei Arihara, followed by veterans Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles.
That leaves one clear opening on the starting staff: the infamous fifth spot.
Of course, the Texas Rangers have not ruled out the possibility of getting creative with their rotation configuration (translation: a potential six-man wrecking crew), so it’s possible we’ll see two players listed in this piece in the rotation by April 1st.
We can’t necessarily anticipate that scenario, however, so we’ll assume that the normal five spots are on the table.
Here are the contestants who will be vying for that precious final starter job in spring training this year.
Texas Rangers’ fifth starter competition: RHP Mike Foltynewicz
Out of all the pitchers on this list, this former All-Star righty is the most experienced, as well as the most decorated.
Mike Foltynewicz comes to the Texas Rangers on a one-year, $2 million deal with heavy incentives.
“Folty” has dealt with numerous injuries over the years, which has derailed his ability to build on his 2018 All-Star form.
He has also dealt with confidence issues, losing faith in his ability to pitch.
The hope is that this bargain bin buy will be able to regain his confidence knowing he has a decent shot to make the Rangers as their fifth starter.
Folty has playoff experience and other big stage appearances, meaning he’s not afraid of pitching under the lights when it’s all going well.
Assuming health and a boost in morale, the 29-year-old right hander is too talented not to stand as the heavy favorite to clinch the final starter’s role on the 2021 Texas Rangers.