His latest start in Tampa Bay was an absolute gem, as the righty tossed four innings of two-hit, no-run ball with two walks and five strikeouts.
On the year, Dunning has a sparkling 1.00 ERA and 11 strikeouts in nine innings pitched.
Is that good?
Dane Dunning has been everything the Texas Rangers could’ve hoped for and more so far.
The 26-year-old Dunning was acquired as the main piece in the trade that sent veteran righty Lance Lynn up to the Chicago White Sox this past off-season. Minor league lefty Avery Weems was the other player involved in the deal, coming down to Texas as well.
So far, so good are the trade results for both teams in 2021, as Lance Lynn threw a complete game shutout in his White Sox home debut against the KC Royals, while Dunning has mowed down two AL East opponents in consecutive starts: first, the Blue Jays at home, and on Monday, the Rays in Tampa.
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Dunning has always been a highly-regarded pitching prospect since being a first round draft pick by the Washington Nationals in 2016. He was traded to the White Sox as part of a trade for OF Adam Eaton ahead of the 2017 season.
Known for having a plus fastball and plus breaking pitches, Dunning has been touted to have the ceiling of a solid mid-rotation starter.
He’s easily lived up to that billing early on in his Texas Rangers career.
This team lacks much talent in the pitching department, but Dane Dunning’s starts have become a source of intrigue for the staff as well as increasingly must-watch.
One could argue, in fact, that Dunning is the current ace of the rotation based on performance (Kyle Gibson holds that title in theory, though).
And while that’s fine for now, the 26-year-old righty will be even more valuable to the Texas Rangers once he can slot in behind a true ace as a No. 2 or even a No. 3-type starter.
The Texas Rangers’ future is bright, and Dane Dunning is a big reason why.