The Texas Rangers need answers from their pitching staff
What will the Rangers gain from Japanese-league star but rookie major leaguer Kohei Arihara? Can Kyle Cody maintain his effectiveness when stretched out in his starts? Are Jose Leclerc’s best seasons behind him? Which controllable starters and relievers will make statements in 2020?
The uncertainty detector beeps most rapidly when hovering over the Rangers pitching staff. The good news is most pitching-related concerns will be answered over the next seven months.
Arihara prompts plenty of intrigue, as he had great success across six seasons in Japan. Like all international signees, he faces a significant learning curve and talent adjustment in his transition to Major League Baseball.
The Rangers will found out early on if his “stuff” translates. To their benefit, Arihara threw more innings in 2020 (132.2) than any MLB pitcher. He should be in good shape as spring games get started.
For nearly every other Rangers pitcher, the goal is to pitch well enough this season to gain favor for next season. Jonathan Hernandez and Jose Leclerc are the only relievers who have wholeheartedly earned the team’s trust. The others are battling against one another for mound time in 2021.
Only two of Texas’ projected starting pitchers have made more than 20 big league starts, so a fascinating competition is forthcoming for that group as well.