Texas Rangers: Predicting the 2022 Starting Rotation

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 21: Dane Dunning #33 of the Texas Rangers pitches during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 21, 2021 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 21: Dane Dunning #33 of the Texas Rangers pitches during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 21, 2021 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

The Texas Rangers starting rotation was an area of weakness during the 2021 campaign.  Jordan Lyles and Mike Foltynewicz are currently free agents and are unlikely to be re-signed.  Where does this leave the starting rotation in 2022?

Here is a look at the internal candidates prior to the start of free agency.

Predicting the 2022 Texas Rangers starting rotation

Dane Dunning

  • Draft: 1st Round, 19th Overall, 2016 by Washington Nationals
  • Age: 26
  • 2021 Starts: 25
  • MLB 2021 Record: 5-9
  • IP: 117.2
  • ERA: 4.51

Dane Dunning was acquired by Texas from the Chicago White Sox in the Lance Lynn trade in December 2020.  The Rangers were careful with Dunning in 2021, as he was placed on the 10-day injured list twice late in the season.  Next year, Dunning should be able to increase his workload and barring trades or signings, should be the top pitcher on the team.

Kolby Allard

  • Draft: 1st Round, 14th Overall, 2015 by Atlanta Braves
  • Age: 24
  • 2021 Starts: 17
  • MLB 2021 Record: 3-12
  • IP: 124.2
  • ERA: 5.41

Kolby Allard was acquired by the Rangers in July 2019 for Chris Martin.  In 2021, Allard was disappointing for a second season with Texas.  In 2020, Allard went 0-6 in eight starts.  In 2021, Allard logged the most innings of his brief MLB career, and he went 3-12 in 17 starts before being moved to the bullpen.  Long term, Allard looks like he could still work in the rotation, but he needs to improve on his career total of 8-21 with a 5.95 ERA.

Taylor Hearn

  • Draft: 5th Round, 164th Overall, 2015 by Washington Nationals
  • Age: 27
  • 2021 Starts: 11
  • MLB 2021 Record: 6-5
  • IP: 104.1
  • ERA: 4.66

In July 2018, Taylor Hearn was traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates along with Sherten Apostel, in exchange for Keone Kela.  He had a good enough year whereby he may have solidified his spot in the 2022 rotation.  Hearn was exceptional in July and August, then seemed to fatigue in September.  Hearn needs to continue to build up strength through the winter so that he can withstand an entire season in the Texas Rangers rotation.

Texas Rangers Spencer Howard
Texas Rangers Spencer Howard /

Spencer Howard

  • Draft: 2nd Round, 45th Overall, 2017 by Philadelphia Phillies
  • Age: 25
  • 2021 Starts: 15
  • MLB 2021 Record: 0-5
  • IP: 49.2
  • ERA: 7.43

Spencer Howard was acquired by Texas in the Kyle Gibson, Ian Kennedy and Hans Crouse trade in July.  So far, Howard has struggled in his brief MLB career.  He has a career 1-7 record and 6.93 ERA while giving up 13 home runs in 74.0 innings.  Moving forward, Howard has a chance to be a part of the Texas rotation, but may not be ready to assume that role full-time to start the year in 2022.

Glenn Otto

  • Draft: 5th Round, 152th Overall, 2017 by New York Yankees
  • Age: 25
  • 2021 Starts: 6
  • MLB 2021 Record: 0-3
  • IP: 23.1
  • ERA: 9.26

Glenn Otto was the pitcher Texas received in the Joey Gallo/Joely Rodriguez trade in July.  Otto had three very good starts in six outings to begin his career as a starter with the Rangers.  Otto learned some valuable lessons down the stretch of the season and certainly has the makeup to be an effective and reliable starter for the Rangers.  Spring Training will determine where Otto begins 2022.

Texas Rangers A.J. Alexy
Texas Rangers A.J. Alexy /

A.J. Alexy

  • Draft: 11th Round, 341st Overall, 2016 by the Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Age: 23
  • 2021 Starts: 4
  • MLB 2021 Record: 3-1
  • IP: 23.0
  • ERA: 4.70

A.J. Alexy was acquired in July 2017 as part of the Yu Darvish trade with the Dodgers.  In 2021, Alexy was recalled at the end of August and he had four starts for the Rangers.  Prior to his recall in 2021, Alexy had terrific numbers (3-1 record and 1.66 ERA over 65.0 innings), at two minor league levels.  Control problems helped to increase his ERA, but Alexy looks ready to challenge for a full-time role on the Texas Rangers MLB roster in 2022.

Texas Rangers 2022 rotation: Final prediction

  1.  Dane Dunning
  2.  Taylor Hearn
  3.  Kolby Allard
  4.  A. J. Alexy
  5.  Glenn Otto

Next. 4 big time pitchers photoshopped in Rangers uniforms. dark

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the internal candidates for the starting rotation in Texas, are very inexperienced when it comes to playing in the MLB.  This rotation will continue to be in a state of flux throughout the winter.  As this list changes, I will continue to update what will likely be a fluid rotation heading into Spring Training.