Texas Rangers: Projecting the 2014 Starting Rotation

Trey WarrenContributor IIIJanuary 7, 2014

Texas Rangers: Projecting the 2014 Starting Rotation

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    There is only one spot left undecided in the Texas Rangers starting rotation for 2014.

    It is presumably for the fourth or fifth spot. The team has three lefties in Derek Holland, Martin Perez and Matt Harrison, and Yu Darvish is the lone righty.

    Last season, Harrison started the year at the top of the rotation and was followed by Darvish. It will be different when next season starts, but not much. Texas fans will get to see what the rotation would have looked like last season if it weren’t plagued with injuries.

    So without further ado, here is the Rangers' projected starting rotation for next season.

     

    All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

Yu Darvish

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    Yu Darvish was very good during his second season with the Rangers.

    The 27-year-old led all pitchers in strikeouts (277) and hits per nine innings (6.2). He struck out at least 10 batters in 12 starts, including a career high 15 Ks against the Astros on Aug. 12.

    Darvish was one out from a perfect game in his first start of the season and took a no-hitter into the ninth inning during his 15-strikeout performance. He finished the year with a 13-9 record and an ERA of 2.83 in 32 starts.

    His only issue last season was walks. Only three pitchers had more walks than Darvish’s 80. Another problem was inconsistent run support. He did get an average of over four runs a game but also had four losing decisions in which the team lost 1-0.

    Darvish is the ace of this staff and with a revamped lineup, he could end up with his first career Cy Young Award.

Derek Holland

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    Derek Holland was the only pitcher for the Rangers who did not see the disabled list in 2013.

    He made 33 starts last year, one more than his previous high in 2011. The 27-year-old also had career highs in innings pitched (213), strikeouts (189) and a career-best 3.42 ERA. He recorded multiple shutouts (2) for the second time as a full-time starter.

    The 210 hits he gave up were ninth most in the American League, which isn’t anything new for Holland. He has never shied away from establishing his fastball and likes to pound the strike zone with it.

    The Ohio native has the opportunity to be a solid No. 2 behind Darvish. The whole pitching staff is going to enjoy pitching with the lineup they have, but it may fit Holland’s attacking style the best.

Martin Perez

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    A broken left forearm in spring training kept Martin Perez from making the Opening Day roster in 2013.

    He struggled in his first start on Memorial Day against the Diamondbacks, giving up nine hits and three earned runs in 5.1 innings. He followed that up with three wins and a no-decision in his next four starts.

    The 22-year-old would finish his first major stint in the big leagues with a 3.62 ERA in 124.1 innings. He was 10-6 and struck out 84 while walking 37. He finished sixth in the Rookie of the Year voting.

    Perez signed an extension with the Rangers back on Nov. 7 that is worth four years and $12.5 million, but with three team options in the deal that could keep him with Texas through 2020.

    It was a tossup between Holland and Perez for the No. 2 spot, but Holland’s experience ultimately got him the spot.

    In the long run, Perez has a great opportunity to be a front-line starter for Texas.

Alexi Ogando

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    Until the Rangers bring in another starter, this spot is Alexi Ogando’s to lose.

    He could find himself in the fifth spot come Opening Day but with three lefties, I think you have to break them apart somewhere.

    Ogando made multiple trips to the DL in 2013, allowing him to pitch just 104.1 innings. He went 7-4 with a 3.11 ERA, striking out 72 and walking 41.

    The only issue is that he doesn’t go deep into games. He pitched seven full innings just twice last year and didn’t make it past that mark in any other start. In his seven wins, the 30-year-old maxed out at 6.1 innings.

    I believe that Ogando would be best used as a set-up man or a closer. But he has also proved he can be reliable as a starter.

Matt Harrison

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    Matt Harrison is coming off of three surgeries that limited him to just two starts last season.

    The 28-year-old will be looking to post numbers similar to the ones he had in 2012. Harrison was 18-11 with a 3.29 ERA in 213.1 innings. He made his first All-Star appearance that year and had four complete games.

    Injuries are never easy to gauge. Harrison missed nearly a full year and could struggle for a while in his return but is expected to be 100 percent healthy come spring training. Depending on how well he does, he could find himself further up in the rotation.

    But it is certain he will be welcomed back with open arms. If he can get back to his 2012 form, this rotation will be solid from top to bottom.

     

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