A recent string of Texas Rangers player debuts during the second half of the season has undoubtedly made watching this struggling ballclub more exciting down the stretch.
But just as we’ve been enjoying these debuts, we should also enjoy the successes of players who are finally finding their way, like lefty Taylor Hearn.
Hearn, 27, is getting the opportunity to start regularly for a Texas Rangers team that lacks depth in the rotation, thus the need for calling up Glenn Otto and A.J. Alexy. And Hearn is making the most of his chance.
Over his last 15 games (seven starts), the big lefty has a 2.87 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in 53.1 innings pitched, acting as a “stopper” of sorts when the Rangers have called on him.
Taylor Hearn has been excellent for the Texas Rangers in 2021, finally hitting on his promise
It’s the kind of breakout we’ve been anticipating for years since Texas acquired Hearn from the Pirates with Sherten Apostel for reliever Keone Kela back in 2018.
The talent has always been there, but not in a consistent role, as the 27-year-old has had to switch between reliever and starter. Now, both factors have come together and are paying off for both Hearn and the Rangers to the point where the southpaw is earning high marks from his skipper.
"“He looks like a legit, top-end big league starting pitcher. That’s what he looks like to me,” Woodward said. “You talk to him, same thing. He is calm and in control every time. … He is arguably the biggest success on the year, the way I look at it.”"
Hearn isn’t finding success in the traditional mold of strikeouts and overpowering stuff (he has just 83 strikeouts in 90.1 total innings in 2021), but he’s generating soft contact and weak swings, which works just fine.
As for Chris Woodward’s comments, we definitely agree. Taylor Hearn has arguably been the biggest success of the 2021 season, especially since he feels like a reclamation project, and a homegrown one at that. To have potentially acquired a future rotation cog is no small feat for an organization that has struggled over the years with pitching development.
At minimum, Hearn has been the best Texas Rangers pitcher since August, when he started getting consistent opportunities to start and not just relieving or coming in as a tandem. That’s when the transformation really began for the 27-year-old southpaw.
For a team with so little to be certain of, Taylor Hearn has provided an oasis and an exciting preview of what he can bring to the table as a full-time starter in 2022.