The Texas Rangers’ failures of 2020 have brought on the destruction of a perennial competitor, entering them into a long avoided total rebuild.
The Rangers have been fortunate to postpone the painstaking, years-long process needed to grow a title contender.

The Dark Days

The likes Astros and Padres fans are well aware of. Albeit there is no position in baseball as important as a QB in football, if you were building a team, you can’t go wrong with a strong starting rotation. While we, the fans, have seen many good pitchers pass through Arlington, they’re usually free agents. CJ Wilson and Derek Holland come to mind as homegrown starters, and even they seem a bit lackluster.

The Rangers are doing what has long been missing, filling out one of the more important roles in the game. They received Glenn Otto from the Yankees in the Gallo trade. Kolby Allard from the Braves in the Martin trade. Taylor Hearn from the Pirates in the Keone Kela deal. AJ Alexy from the Dodgers that sent them Darvish. Dane Dunning from the White Sox for Lynn and Spencer Howard from the Phillies in exchange for Gibson/Kennedy. That’s a lot of trading and not a lot of drafting, but we’ll get to that later. The primary thing here is they took note of pitchers they wanted, saw the potential, and got them.

To the Numbers!

Quickly running some numbers, we can see a picture forming. At 27, Hearn is the eldest, and he’s making the most of his opportunity. He’s managed an impressive 3.09 ERA through his last 9 appearances (6 starts), totaling 40 2/3 innings. All of this, coming after stalwart showings from the pen. Another who made a similar move after holding his own in relief is Kolby Allard. At the ripe age of 24, he has the most major league experience in the group. Across 17 starts this year, he’s played serviceable at a 5.40 ERA in 91 2/3 IP. That may not exactly seem inspiring, but he has fared better of late with 4 Quality starts in the last 6 outings. Sticking with previous first-round picks, Dane Dunning was the prize in the winter Lynn trade. At 26 years old, he’s started all 22 games played, putting up a respectable 4.31 ERA in 104 1/3 innings. It’s safe to say he’ll be around.

Spencer Howard, at 25, is the most heralded of the group, having reached 28th in MLB Pipeline top 100 in 2020. As a rookie, he’s bounced around from AAA to the bullpen to a starter. Carrying a 6.06 ERA in 29 2/3 IP as a major league starter. Not exactly inspiring, but there’s still hope and plenty of time for him to right the ship.

Photo: Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

But wait, there’s more!

Now we have the newcomers to the group. Glenn Otto and AJ Alexy each made outstanding 5 shutout inning debuts against Houston and Colorado, respectively. Otto followed it up with 4.2 innings of 2-run ball, demonstrating perseverance and focus. Alexy followed his debut up with a drumming of the Angels. He managed 6 more shut-out innings allowing just 1 hit. Yes, that’s 11 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs. Some avid fans may be asking, “wheres Leiter or Winn?” But we’re sticking with the major league for now.

However, these stats are the tip of the iceberg. Other stats to check into are K/BB, left/right splits, Strike/ball, WHIP, and ERA+. If that doesn’t quench your statistical proclivity, there are more you can dive into. You can drown in stats and cherry-pick away, but I recommend coupling it with actually watching the games.

Hope for the Future…

So the season rundown is:

  • Taylor Hearn 27, 3.95 ERA
  • Dane Dunning 26, 4.23 ERA
  • Glenn Otto 25, 1.86 ERA*
  • Spencer Howard 25, 6.30 ERA
  • Kolby Allard 24, 5.00 ERA
  • AJ Alexy 23, 0.00 ERA*

These will be the names highlighting next year’s rotation and most likely for years to come. Whether in relief, starting, or in a trade, these are key names for the future. There may not be a Kershaw/DeGrom in the bunch…but maybe there is?

However, one thing that’s without question is that this is the deepest, most promising group of young major league starting pitching that this club has had to choose from.

Nothing is constant, and nothing is promised in baseball (except Cal Ripken Jr), but ultimately, these young men should give Rangers fans something to look forward to with excitement!

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