Texas Rangers: Predicting the 2022 bullpen before free agency

Chris Giles
Sep 30, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Texas Rangers relief pitcher Joe Barlow (68) pitches against the Los Angeles Angels during the third inning at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 30, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Texas Rangers relief pitcher Joe Barlow (68) pitches against the Los Angeles Angels during the third inning at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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Joe Barlow Texas Rangers
Sep 30, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Texas Rangers relief pitcher Joe Barlow (68) pitches against the Los Angeles Angels during the third inning at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

Injuries to key relief pitchers Jose Leclerc and Jonathan Hernandez opened the door for younger pitchers to show how they could fit into the Texas Rangers bullpen in 2021. And a lot of them made the most of their chances.

Stalwarts Jose Leclerc and Jonathan Hernandez both had Tommy John surgery and will not be ready for Opening Day in 2022, leaving many of these players a second chance to prove themselves once again.

Here are the Texas Rangers internal possibilities for the bullpen prior to the start of free agency.

Predicting the Texas Rangers’ 2022 bullpen

Joe Barlow

  • Draft: 11th Round, 339th Overall, 2016 by Texas Rangers
  • Age: 26
  • 2021 Appearances: 31
  • MLB 2021 Record: 0-2
  • IP: 29.0
  • ERA: 1.55
  • SV: 11

Joe Barlow is a homegrown pitcher drafted by the Rangers.  In June, Barlow made his MLB debut and didn’t disappoint.  He only allowed 12 hits in 29.0 innings and was 11/12 in save opportunities after Ian Kennedy was traded to the Phillies.  Barlow looks like he has solidified his place in the Texas bullpen.

Brett Martin

  • Draft: 4th Round, 126th Overall, 2014 by Texas Rangers
  • Age: 26
  • 2021 Appearances: 66
  • MLB 2021 Record: 4-4
  • IP: 62.1
  • ERA: 3.18
  • SV: 0

Brett Martin is another homegrown pitcher drafted by the Rangers.  Martin just completed his third season in the majors.  When he is healthy, Martin is a very good left-handed option out of the bullpen for Texas, though he does struggle with command.

Drew Anderson

  • Draft: 21st Round, 668th Overall, 2012 by Philadelphia Phillies
  • Age: 27
  • 2021 Appearances: 9
  • MLB 2021 Record: 1-1
  • IP: 22.0
  • ERA: 3.27
  • SV: 0

Drew Anderson made his MLB debut in 2017, pitching for Philadelphia.  Prior to the start of the 2021 season, Anderson was signed by Texas as a free agent.  He has pitched in parts of five seasons in the MLB and brings experience as well as innings to an inexperienced bullpen. He’s also capable of being an opener.

Jharel Cotton

  • Draft: 20th Round, 626th Overall, 2012 by Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Age: 29
  • 2021 Appearances: 23
  • MLB 2021 Record: 2-0
  • IP: 30.2
  • ERA: 3.52
  • SV: 0

Prior to Spring Training 2021, Jharel Cotton signed a minor league free agent contract with Texas.  In 2016 and 2017, Cotton started 29 games for the Oakland A’s.  After successful Tommy John surgery, Cotton returned to pitching as a reliever.  In September 2020, the Chicago Cubs released Cotton before he ever pitched a big league game for them.  Moving forward, Cotton adds a wealth of experience to the Rangers bullpen.

Spencer Patton

  • Draft: 24th Round, 726th Overall, 2011 by Kansas City Royals
  • Age: 33
  • 2021 Appearances: 42
  • MLB 2021 Record: 2-2
  • IP: 42.1
  • ERA: 3.83
  • SV: 2

In 2014, Spencer Patton was traded by Kansa City to the Rangers for Jason Frasor.  In September 2014, after September rosters expanded, Patton made his MLB debut with Texas.  In November 2015, Patton was traded to the Chicago Cubs and he was a member of the 2016 World Championship team in Chicago.  In 2017, Patton signed to play in Japan and completed four seasons there before re-signing with Texas as a free agent.  Patton’s experience and success at the major league level is beneficial to the Texas bullpen.

Josh Sborz

  • Draft: CB-B, 74th Overall, 2015 by Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Age: 27
  • 2021 Appearances: 63
  • MLB 2021 Record: 4-3
  • IP: 59.0
  • ERA: 3.97
  • SV: 1

Josh Sborz made his MLB debut in 2019 with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  In February 2021, Sborz was traded by the Dodgers to the Rangers.  Sborz was fairly consistent throughout 2021 and should be in the Rangers bullpen to start 2022.

Dennis Santana

  • Age: 25
  • 2021 Appearances: 55
  • MLB 2021 Record: 2-4
  • IP: 54.2
  • ERA: 4.28
  • SV: 0

In 2018, Dennis Santana also made his MLB debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  For parts of four seasons, Santana was inconsistent with the Dodgers.  In June 2021, Santana was traded to the Rangers.  Santana was fairly consistent during his 1/2 season with Texas.  In September, Santana was terrific when he posted a 0.75 ERA.  Moving forward, Santana should be in the bullpen for the Rangers in 2022.

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