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Texas Rangers Pitching Analysis: 2014 Fantasy Baseball

And now for a sentence that may have never before appeared in print: The Texas Rangers finished last season near the top of the American League in several key pitching categories, including ERA (3.62-4th), shutouts (10-4th), opponent’s batting average (.248-2nd), strikeouts (1,309-2nd) and earned runs allowed (589-4th).

By mjl816 on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

However, even with all the good numbers, the Rangers had only one pitcher in the top ten in WAR (Yu Darvish was 5th with 5.8 Wins Above Replacement) and no one in the top ten in wins. Throw in a non-pitching statistic – the Rangers were seventh in runs scored, a full 120 runs behind league-leader Boston – and the problem becomes clear: Texas was not scoring enough runs to win the close games.

Will the offensive upgrades be enough to lift this pitching staff over the top, considering the losses of closer Joe Nathan and front-line starter Colby Lewis?

2014 Texas Rangers - Pitching Staff Preview




2013 line

Projected 2014 line



Yu Darvish

209 IP, 13 wins, 2.83 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 277 K

200 IP, 20 W, 3.00 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 270 K

Darvish has duplicated his success on the other side of the Pacific Rim and established himself as one of the top starters in the league. Darvish's strong point is the varying release points and grips on his fastball, and hitters simply don't have any time to react when Darvish is at his best.

Darvish's ERA may go up a bit and his strikeout total may go down, because he can rely on the offense to score runs. His win total should go up for the same reason. Darvish had four 1-0  losses last season, including a critical game against eventual division-winner Oakland in September, which has only occurred nine other times in MLB history.


Derek Holland

213 IP, 10 W, 3.42 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 189 K

180 IP, 12 W, 3.20 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 175 K

Like Darvish, Holland probably pitched better last year than his win total would indicate and should do better with a bit more run support. Holland began relying on his slider more last year, which is his best pitch and a very effective "out" pitch.

Holland underwent knee surgery in January and is expected to miss at least a third of the season.


Martin Perez

124 IP, 10 W, 3.62 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 84 K

220 IP, 12 W, 3.40 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 125 K

10 wins in just 20 starts is a very strong rookie campaign; the former top prospect is under team control until 2020. With Holland down, expect Perez to move up a spot in the rotation.

Perez is a straight-up fastball/curveball/changeup pitcher who can hit the upper 90s on a good day. His weakness is that he tends to let problems snowball and has a hard time working out of jams.


Alexi Ogando

104 IP, 7 W, 3.11 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 72 K

105 IP, 8 W, 3.10 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 85 K

Ogondo must be limited to around 100 innings pitched, so expect him to split time between the starting rotation and the bullpen, but he is solid when he is on the mound.

Pitching coach Mike Maddux may be tempted to give him a few more starts this year due to Holland's injury, but no one wants another Neftali Feliz mess.


Matt Harrison

10 IP, 0 W, 4.50 ERA, 1.97 WHIP, 12 K

45 IP, 1 W, 4.70 ERA, 2.25 WHIP, 10 K

Harrison is attempting a comeback from three surgeries in 2013. Some have him projected as a starter, but a more realistic expectation is that he might provide some innings out of the bullpen or late in the season.

Harrison has good stuff and has won 18 games in a season as recently as 2012, but, sadly, his body may be breaking down.


Nick Tepesch

93 IP, 4 W, 4.84 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 76 K

100 IP, 4 W, 4.70 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 90 K

A rookie last year who showed some flashes, such as nine strikeouts in a game against Houston, but he struggled with inconsistency and elbow problems. Overall, Tepesch is a solid keep-you-in-the-game type of pitcher well-suited for the back end of a rotation on a club that can score some runs.


Neftali Feliz

4 IP, 0 W, 0.00 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 4 K

15 IP, 1 W, 2.80 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 12 K

After dominating as a closer, Feliz moved to the rotation last year and almost immediately went on the DL; Feliz may now fit in as a setup man


Tanner Scheppers

76 IP, 6 W, 1.88 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 59 K

75 IP, 8 W, 1.90 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 60 K

Not much of a strikeout pitcher, but a good situational reliever who may be the go-to 8th inning pitcher in addition to Feliz


Joakim Soria

23 IP, 1 W, 3.80 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 28 K

70 IP, 2 W, 2.70 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 60 K

This year’s presumed closer had 160 saves with Kansas City from 2007-2011 with a career 2.50 ERA, but was hurt much of last year


Robbie Ross

62 IP, 4 W, 3.03 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 58 K

65 IP, 3 W, 3.20 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 60 K

Ross thinks he deserves a shot at the rotation, but his mercurial pitching career suggests otherwise


Jason Frasor

49 IP, 4 W, 2.57 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 48 K

50 IP, 5 W, 2.65 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 50 K

Very effective against left-handed batters


Michael Kirkman

22 IP, 0 W, 8.18 ERA, 2.32 WHIP, 25 K

60 IP, 0 W, 4.50 ERA, 1.99 WHIP, 23 K

Kirkman had an ERA that resembled an AM radio station in an injury-plauged 2013, but he is healthy this year and may pick up some of Holland's innings


Neal Cotts

57 IP, 8 W, 1.11 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 65 K

60 IP, 9 W, 1.15 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 70 K

Journeyman middle reliever who has very good stuff when healthy; makes leftys look foolish


Matt West


Fugget About It

Failed to record an out in rookie ball in 2013


Joseph Ortiz

44 IP, 2 W, 4.23 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 27 K

40 IP, 2 W, 4.25 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 20 K

Second-tier lefty


Cory Burns

11 IP, 1 W, 3.18 ERA, 1.68 WHIP, 5 K

10 IP, 1 W, 3.20 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 4 K

20 saves at AA in 2013; resembles a Western Hemisphere Santa Claus


Lisalberto Bonilla


Don’t expect a callup this year

Came from the Phillies in Michael Young trade


Ben Rowen



Has been dominant in low minors


Shawn Tolleson

Zeros all around


Maybe a mop-up pitcher


2014 spring training opens in Surprise on February 13 and the Texas Rangers start the 2014 season against the Philadelphia Phillies on March 31.  We'll be following them the whole way here at