The Texas Rangers have moved their equipment to Surprise, Arizona, and are waiting on pitchers and catchers to report on February 14th. The start of spring training will be strange as Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, and Tyler Mahle are all still rehabbing from injuries. With those three pitchers out for maybe half the season, The Rangers could have some new faces in the starting rotation to start the year. Let's look at the projected starting rotation for the Rangers in 2024.
Texas Rangers Starting Rotation: 1. Nathan Eovaldi
Nasty Nate should be the Opening Day pitcher this season due to his postseason heroics last season. He is arguably the best healthy pitcher the Rangers have right now. He finished the 2023 regular season with a 3.65 ERA and 132 strikeouts. His starting experience will help the Rangers get through the first half of the season without deGrom or Scherzer. He finished off the World Series in 2023 with a legendary performance in game five.
Texas will probably lean heavily on Eovaldi to be the leader and stabilizing force for this rotation early on in 2024.
Texas Rangers Starting Rotation: 2. Jon Gray
Who is ready for another season with Jon Gray on the mound for the Rangers? Gray is entering his third season for the Texas Rangers. He was up and down throughout the 2023 season. He finished the regular season with a 9-8 record and a 4.12 ERA. He came up huge in the postseason pitching out fo the bullpen. He and Scherzer together helped the Rangers take the series lead in Arizona with a combined six strikeouts in Game 3.
He should be the second starter in the starting rotation while deGrom and Scherzer are rehabbing. He will be back in the rotation to start the season and the Rangers are hoping for a healthier season for the veteran right-hander.
Texas Rangers Starting Rotation: 3. Andrew Heaney
While his 4.15 ERA doesn't look great on paper, the Rangers will need Heaney this season. He finished the season with 151 strikeouts and was solid coming out of the bullpen in the postseason. It's hard to find a pitcher who batters have such a hard time making contact against. The way that he mixes up his four-seamer, slider, changeup, and curveball makes him a weapon on the mound. Heaney was able to remain healthy throughout 2023. The hope now is that he can find a way to pitch deeper into games and limit the amount of short starts he has in 2024.
Texas Rangers Starting Rotation: 4. Dane Dunning
It's great to have the Great Dane back for another season. Dunning had a 12-7 record while recording 140 strikeouts last season. During his tenure with the Rangers, Dunning has been used as a starter and a middle relief pitcher. Dunning was moved into the starting rotation after deGrom was injured last season and provided quality innings as a starter. He also was a solid pitcher in the bullpen during the playoff run.
2024 could be the year that Dunning takes that next step from a good pitcher to a great pitcher.
Texas Rangers Starting Rotation: 5. Cody Bradford
Cody Bradford will compete to be in the starting rotation to begin the season. Bradford finished with a 5.30 ERA and struck out 51 batters last season. Bochy trusted Bradford on the mound and was rewarded in game two of the ALDS when Bradford pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings as Texas went up 2-0 in that series against the Orioles. Bradford averaged three innings a game last season as a starter. He will need to show that he can get through a lineup more than once if he is to stay in the starting rotation long-term.
Texas Rangers Starting Rotation: 6. Owen White
Before everyone comes after me for adding Owen White to the starting rotation as a sixth pitcher, listen to why he should be in the rotation. With deGrom and Scherzer out for half a season, White would be the sixth starter in the rotation. He would give the other starters an extra day of rest, and they could make this a bullpen game. It would only until the injured starters come back, but it would give the Rangers a look if they want to add White to the bullpen for the remainder of the year. It would also carry the competition between Bradford and White into the regular season. Whoever pitches the best stays on the team when deGrom, Scherzer, and Mahle return.
There is some doom and gloom about this rotation, but the talent is there for it to be a good enough rotation to help this team stay above water. That is all they need to do is pitch well and stay healthy until reinforcements arrive. Be good enough will likely be the motto for this rotation.