Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Personnel at camp:
Yu Darvish (R), Matt Harrison (L), Derek Holland (L), Martin Perez (L), Alexi Ogando (R), Tommy Hanson (R), Colby Lewis (R) Nick Tepesch (R), Tanner Scheppers (R), Neal Cotts (L), Robbie Ross (L), Neftali Feliz (R), Jason Frasor (R), Joakim Soria (R), Cory Burns (R), Lisalverto Bonilla (R), Pedro Figueroa (L), Wilmer Font (R), Michael Kirkman (L), Roman Mendez (R), Miles Mikolas (R), Joe Ortiz (L), Ben Rowen (R), Luke Jackson (R), Alex Gonzales (R), Shawn Tolleson (R), Matt West (R), Nate Adcock (R), Daniel Bard (R), Jose Contreras (R), Ryan Feierabend (L), Justin Germano (R), Rafael Perez (L), Aaron Poreda (L), Armando Rodriguez (R).
The Rangers' pitching staff comes into camp a bit banged up. Derek Holland, the club's No. 2 starter, will be out until around midseason after sustaining a knee injury last month. Matt Harrison, the No. 3, has been having a roller-coaster offseason with his back issues.
Holland will start the year on the DL and therefore won't count as towards the 25-man roster. Harrison seems to be on track now, but was set back a couple of weeks and will likely miss his first one or two starts of the 2014 season.
At this point, the only sure thing in the Rangers rotation is ace Yu Darvish. Martin Perez will likely start the year behind him as the No. 2. Alexi Ogando looks to be the No. 3, while newly-acquired Tommy Hanson should be filling the No. 4 spot.
Colby Lewis and Nick Tepesch are the expected competitors to claim the final rotation spot. Because of his experience, especially in the postseason, I'm giving the nod to Lewis. Of course, Tepesch can easily make this roster if he gets his changeup working this spring. Much is to be determined during the next month.
Both Ogando and Hanson come into camp with question marks as starters. Ogando has had trouble staying healthy, and really does seem much better suited to be a lights-out late inning reliever.
Hanson is coming off a tough 2013 campaign that saw him fall far from his days as the Atlanta Braves' promising No. 2 starter in 2010.
Not exactly that World Series-caliber rotation that many Ranger fans were expecting earlier this offseason, huh? But have no fear: Harrison should return a couple weeks into the season. Additionally, the Rangers upgraded offense should be able to carry the team while Holland and Harrison get healthy.
Right now might be a good time to sign Ervin Santana. Just saying.
Overall, this is a pretty clear-cut group at camp. I'd say of all the non-bolded names, Rafael Perez, Daniel Bard, Wilmer Font and Tepesch have the best chances to crack the 25-man roster. Both Rafael Perez and Bard have been around and have performed well in the majors.
Font has been impressive in the minors, while Tepesch excelled in his first handful of major league starts last season.
As for the rest of those guys, there's quite a bit of talent there. Michael Kirkman has always had quality stuff but has never been able to find his command. Ben Rowen is a filthy submariner righty, but he's had some elbow problems.
I really like Miles Mikolas as a power arm and Joe Ortiz as a lefty specialist with that devastating changeup.
Obviously, Luke Jackson and Alex Gonzales are the young stud arms of the organization. You've heard enough about them, though.
Most of these guys don't really have a chance at making the roster, but hey, that just means more quality depth at the lower levels of the system.