Texas Rangers: The Spencer Howard vs. Hans Crouse debate starts now

Seth Carlson
Sep 24, 2021; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Spencer Howard (31) delivers a third inning pitch against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2021; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Spencer Howard (31) delivers a third inning pitch against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

Well, it didn’t take long for the major pieces of the Texas Rangers-Philadelphia Phillies trade deadline swap of pitchers to materialize.

The deal, which sent veteran righties Kyle Gibson and Ian Kennedy to Philadelphia along with prospect Hans Crouse in exchange for Spencer Howard and prospects Josh Gessner and Kevin Gowdy, is now going to come under intense scrutiny for years to come. Specifically, the performances of Hans Crouse with the Phillies and Spencer Howard with the Rangers.

With Crouse making his big league debut Sunday for Philadelphia amidst their chase for a NL East division title, their first since 2011, and with Howard having been a big leaguer for a little while, both organizations and their fans will be keeping close tabs on their pitchers’ respective progression.

Hans Crouse and Spencer Howard will try to prove the Philadelphia Phillies and Texas Rangers right, respectively

It definitely came as a surprise that Crouse made it to the big leagues in 2021. He wasn’t expected to with Texas. But as a top-five prospect in Philly’s system and a need for an opener arising, Crouse answered the bell in his spot start, tossing three innings and allowing one run. He walked four batters, though, as command gave him trouble.

The same can be said of Spencer Howard, who also doesn’t go very deep in his starts.

Howard struggled in his most recent appearance for the Rangers, going four innings and striking out four, but also allowing four runs on six hits to the Orioles.

Overall, the 25-year-old has a 7.04 ERA on the season. So, there’s a lot of work to be done. The stuff is there, though, as evidenced by the strikeouts. It was also encouraging that he had no walks in his last start.

If we’re looking at pure potential, it would seem Spencer Howard has the edge, as he was once a top pitching prospect in all of baseball. Crouse has never been that, and many scouts have speculated that he may be better off as a reliever.

Of course, the Phillies and Rangers will both try to make their young hurlers starters. But if you ask me right now who has better long-term starter potential, I would have to say Howard just based on pedigree alone.

And that’s part of the reason Philadelphia insisted that Texas include Crouse in the deal to get Howard. Otherwise, Crouse would still be a Ranger.

It’s notable that the Phillies rushed Crouse to the big leagues, as he struggled in his first ever AAA before getting a big-league call up. With the Texas Rangers, Spencer Howard can be taken along slowly, as the team is still finding its identity.

For a young pitcher, Howard certainly has the more advantageous situation, not that Crouse can’t handle being thrown into the fire of a pennant chase right away. It’s just… that’s a lot to ask, especially of someone who’s had just ONE start at the highest level of the minors.

Next. These 3 Rangers prospects are close to becoming big leaguers. dark

Either way, the Spencer Howard vs. Hans Crouse has officially begun with the latter having made his major league debut. And time will tell whether the Texas Rangers or the Philadelphia Phillies got the “better” young pitcher.

facebooktwitterreddit