Texas Rangers roll the dice with an independent league pitcher

With the holiday break over, the Texas Rangers are warming up for spring training. One of the weaknesses that the Rangers need to address in the upcoming seasons is the bullpen. They may have just done that with the signing of a former GWU pitcher.
May 25, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA;  Texas Rangers General Manager Chris Young on the field
May 25, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Texas Rangers General Manager Chris Young on the field / Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Rangers are back from the holiday break and are starting to pick up some steam. The Rangers have recently signed minor league players to deals with the team. One of the names that stands out in that group is George Washington Pitcher Trevor Kuncl. He's come to the Texas Rangers from a different route. He was undrafted in 2022 and decided to pursue playing independent ball in the Frontier League. Let's look at Kuncl's journey through college and independent ball.

Trevor Kuncl's journey: George Washington

Kuncl was an impact player in his four seasons with the Revolutionaries. He ranks third in program history in saves with 16 through 75 appearances. He also finished with a 6-3 record and a .667 win percentage. Kuncl was also awarded GWU's Jackie Robinson Commemorative Award following his 2022 season. He played four other positions during his freshman season.

Trevor Kuncl's journey: Independent Ball

Kuncl played two seasons with the Lake Erie Crushers in the Pioneer League. During his rookie season with the Crushers, Kuncl finished with a 3.62 ERA and struck out 33 batters that season. In 2023, he had a similar ERA and struck out 27 batters. He averaged 8.89 strikeouts a game and only walked 14 batters.

Trevor Kuncl's journey: Why the Rangers decided to sign him

There are two reasons why I think the Rangers decided to sign him. The first reason is the amount of strikeouts he had in the two seasons with Lake Erie. Recording 60 strikeouts in two seasons is impressive, even at the Independent League baseball level.

The second reason is that he's also played other positions in his career. While with George Washington, Kuncl played catcher, left field, second base, and third base. He will probably not play any of those positions with the Rangers, but it's a good thing in case of injuries.

Trevor Kuncl's journey: Conclusion

Kuncl's journey to professional baseball is a pretty unique route. He went undrafted in the 2022 MLB draft and chose to pursue independent baseball. He showed what he can do for an MLB team at that level. He put the work in, got noticed, and signed for a major league team.

Kuncl has a long shot of making the 40-man opening-day roster for the Rangers. He will most likely spend this year down in the minor leagues. His ERA and his strikeout ratio make him a long-term project. With the uncertainty of the bullpen in the future, he could find a spot on the Texas Rangers roster that way. I cannot wait to see how he does at spring training here in six weeks.

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