Texas Rangers sitting on a pile of riches at the closer position

Seth Carlson
Aug 21, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Texas Rangers relief pitcher Nick Snyder (57) throws against the Boston Red Sox during the ninth inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 21, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Texas Rangers relief pitcher Nick Snyder (57) throws against the Boston Red Sox during the ninth inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports /
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It’s rare for a non-contending team like the Texas Rangers to have so much talent in the back end of its bullpen. But this unit might just be the exception to that rule, at least for now.

Who needs Ian Kennedy anyway?

With the emergences of Nick Snyder (who made his MLB debut closing out a 10-1 Rangers win in Boston against the Red Sox Saturday night), Joe Barlow (currently on the IL but dominant prior) and the injured but previously reliable Jonathan Hernandez as well as Jose Leclerc, Texas is sitting on a pile of riches when it comes to late-inning relievers.

That’s a great problem to have, of course. And it speaks volumes about the player development within the organization, especially as none of the above names were top prospects at any point during their respective amateur journeys.

With Nick Snyder and Joe Barlow, in particular, we’re seeing first hand just how impactful under-the-radar prospects can be at the big league level.

Texas Rangers slated to have lots of options in the late innings

That’s easy 100 mph heat and some nasty hooks from Snyder in his big league debut at Fenway Park against a solid Red Sox team. And with a 2.45 ERA and 47 K’s in 33 innings pitched in the minors this season, the 25-year-old looks more than ready to handle a big league stint.

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Considering Snyder started the season in High-A Hickory makes his rise even more astounding.

Predating Snyder’s debut this season was Joe Barlow, the Rangers’ new closer who sported a 1.08 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 16.2 major league innings before hitting the injured list.

A late-inning tandem of Nick Snyder and Joe Barlow? That sounds nice to us! Young flamethrowers with nasty breaking stuff to lock down wins is exactly what every baseball team desires to have on its roster, which reminds us, Jonathan Hernandez and Jose Leclerc still exist too.

Both Hernandez and Leclerc were expected to be contributors in the late innings this season, but succumbed to arm problems before the start of the season. Both should return in 2022 to make some noise in what should be a lights out closer battle at Texas Rangers spring training next February and March.

Next. Josh Jung knocking at the big league door. dark

I’m not sure there’s a non-contending team in baseball (except maybe the Miami Marlins) that has the late-inning relief talent that the Texas Rangers seem to have in tow. And that’s exciting to think about both now and going forward.

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