It’s time for another installment of 40 in 40, with just under a month left until Opening night. It’s starting to get exciting. The regular lineup is starting to take shape, and we are getting to look at the new guys firsthand. It’s a good time for baseball. So here we go with the 10th man-
#78 Eddie Gamboa
This 32-year-old rookie was drafted in the 21st round of the 2008 draft by the Orioles. He was acquired by the Rangers from the Rays in February. He has only logged 13.1 IP in his short career. He appeared in 7 games last year with the Rays. Not much is to be said about this reliever, as he will most likely start the season in Round Rock. There’s a pretty good chance, however, that he will get some playing time at the big league level. This could help stabilize the ‘pen.
Value in 2017: 4.0
#21 Chi Chi Gonzalez
Chi Chi is entering his third season, and the first-rounder spent most of his 2016 at Round Rock. He did make 3 starts for the big club, but those didn’t go over very well. However, he made 24 starts at Round Rock and posted 138 innings with a 4.70 ERA. The reality is that Chi Chi is another one of those guys that just need more time to develop. He has an encouraging fastball and movement on his breaking balls; he will prove to be effective soon enough. Until then, he can be used as a spot-starter if the Rangers need him. He just needs more innings under his belt and he will be a fine big leaguer.
Value in 2017: 4.2
#64 A.J. Griffin
A.J. started 23 games last year and even saw a spot in the rotation for part of the 2016 season. He has a sweetheart of a curveball and a developing slider. The main problem with Griffin is that hitters can pound his fastball. He had an ERA north of 5, mostly due to his staggering 2.1 HR/9. His whip was at 1.361 last year. The truth is that he has to get his heater under control to have any chance of being successful. Once he does that, he could be huge for the rotation going forward, especially with his other pitches.
Value in 2017: 4.0
#35 Cole Hamels
Where do we start with Cole? Having two top-notch starters is one thing. But having two aces back to back? Insane. Cole Hamels was arguably the best starter for the Rangers in 2016. He had a bad september (by his standards) but he was stellar the rest of the year. The all-star struck out 200 batters in 200.2 innings pitched, and posted a 3.32 ERA last season. The main thing Cole needs work on is his walks, of which he allowed 77. But that is not too concerning given his 5.01 WAR on the year. Cole looks to have another great season in the red and blue.
Value in 2017: 8.5
#49 Mike Hauschild
Hauschild is a rule-5 pick from the Astros, and while the Rangers could send him back to Houston, he is expected to compete for a spot in the rotation in spring training this year. He went 9-10 in AAA with a 3.22 ERA. Don’t expect anything amazing from him right out of the gate, but he could fill in fine at the bottom of the rotation in his rookie year.
Value in 2017: 4.6
We will get started with Jeremy Jeffries later this week. Hang in there, and go Rangers!