Texas Rangers: 4 pitchers who would improve the bullpen
Texas Rangers Minor Leaguer Antoine Kelly
If the Rangers chose Kelly it would pay off last Summer's Matt Bush trade. Kelly was the prize of the trade. He was a former Milwaukee Brewers top prospect who had control issues. He was being used as a starter, but was projected to be moved to the bullpen. That move to the bullpen occurred fully this season.
Kelly was returned to Frisco to start this season and has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen. The control issues are still there for the left-hander, but he is really excelling in the bullpen role. Over the last 9 1/3 innings Kelly has allowed only one run. He has 13 strikeouts to seven walks. He has picked up two saves. That includes Tuesday night when he was brought into the ninth inning of a 2-1 game. He faced five batters, gave up one hit, one walk, and struck out three. He closed the game out.
Kelly over the past month has been pitching primarily as the closer for Frisco. In the ninth innings this season he has a 0.00 ERA with 10 strikeouts to just two walks. He has been in those high pressure situations for Frisco. The stuff is there for Kelly, it just sometimes will lead to walks. He is effective against both lefties and righties and can be used in any situation. He has a 1.23 ERA for the month of May. He seems to be pitching better as the season goes along. He is certainly a candidate for promotion to Round Rock soon and then maybe to Texas later.
So two pitchers in Triple-A and two pitchers in Double-A. They both have their strengths and weaknesses. Their strengths though align with the weaknesses that the Rangers bullpen currently has. Chris Young and Bruce Bochy would do well to think outside of the box in this situation and start to give opportunities to players who have toiled on the farm for the last few years. The pen they currently have is not working outside of Will Smith. Better to know what you have before you go about shopping for what you need.