The Texas Rangers have done a fair amount of work to their rotation this off-season. Adding Jacob Degrom, Andrew Heaney, Jake Odorizzi, and Martin Perez so far. Pitching was a problem in 2022, even with the All-Star season by Perez. Gray was good, but health was an issue.
With the ban of the shift, the offense should be more productive, and they are still going to add to that in my opinion (Joey Gallo anyone? No one? Alright).
In 2022 the Rangers posted a team ERA of 4.22 (baseball reference). While not terrible, the offense could not keep up. They lost the majority of 1-run-games in which they played.
So that begs the question: How good could this rotation be and how good can the offense be? Let’s start with the rotation.
Posting a career ERA of 2.52 makes you an ace. Only pitching 224.1 innings in the past three seasons makes you a seldom available ace.
The big if here is can DeGrom stay on the field? Can he make 25-30 starts?
Should DeGrom stay healthy, the Rangers will have a chance to win every fifth day with Jacob on the mound. If he can’t, well, lets not talk about that.
Jon Gray – Gray posted his second lowest career ERA in 2022 at 3.96. Again, the problem was the 3 separate ERA stints. He still managed to throw 127.1 innings, but it felt like he was never healthy for any stretch of time.
Gray, while not an ace, would be a great number 2 or number 3 starter for this team if he can stay healthy. He has the stuff, he just needs to stay consistent and healthy.
There is a trend here. Health is the key.
I said on the Ranger Report Podcast that the Rangers could win 95 games if the rotation stays healthy for the entire season. The odds of everyone making through the entire season are slim to none, of you are taking bets.
Perez was the Rangers best pitcher in 2022. He was not supposed to be.
With a career 4.5 ERA, was 2022 an anomaly? The Texas Rangers are betting it was not.
During his All-Star season, Martin posted a career low 2.89 ERA (previous career low 3.62). He also pitched the most innings for the Rangers in his 32 starts.
If Perez can even be around a point higher in his ERA, he will still be a very effective starter. I look for him to be very good again in 2023.
Staying healthy. I told you there was a theme.
Heaney had a career low ERA of 3.10 in 2022 for the Dodgers. He also only threw 72.2 innings, and in 2021 he only tossed 35.1 innings.
Health. What a surprise. Heaney will probably not be able to throw 200 innings for the club.
If he can keep you in games and make it through the season, it will be a great pickup for the Rangers. Again, a very large if.
Odorizzi made 22 starts between Houston and Atlanta in 2022. He posted a 3.75 ERA in Houston, but jumped to a 5.24 ERA in Atlanta.
For now, Odorizzi is in the rotation, but don’t be surprised if he moves to the pen at some point during the 2023 season.
The Rangers got him for next to nothing, with the Braves picking up most of his salary.
So, what does all this mean? If you look at the ERA of this rotation from 2022 it sits at 3.51. The problem comes when you look at innings pitched.
If they all made 32 starts and pitched 175+ innings, this is a huge win for the Rangers. When you starters eat up 870+ innings, your in good shape as a franchise.
The five starters combined only pitched around 567 innings in 2022. The Rangers will likely need the Glenn Otto, Cole Ragans, Dane Dunning, Cole Winn’s of the world to help fill in.
Could the Rangers be a contender? Certainly, but it would take a mostly injury free season with at least one more bat in the lineup. Should be a fun spring training and season!