Fantasy Breakdown: Texas Rangers for 2021

A preview of the Texas Rangers' lineup, rotation, and bullpen for 2021

As we prepare for the season ahead, the Pitcher List staff will be creating profiles for every fantasy-relevant player for 2021. Players will be broken up by team and role through starting pitchers, bullpen, lineup, and prospects. You can access every article as it comes out in our Player Profiles 2021 hub here.

 

At A Glance

 

The Rangers finished fifth in the AL West in 2020 and continue to rebuild in order to recapture their early-2010 glory days. A lot of work needs to be done. The Ranger’s offense scored the second-fewest runs, owned the lowest team OPS, and ranked 23rd in home runs in 2020. Their pitching was not much better (5.02 ERA, 24th overall). They have been very active this offseason and continue to deal for young players they hope can make an impact in 2021.

 

Hitters

By Hunter Denson

 

Projected Lineup

 

Infielders

 

Isiah Kiner-Falefa (Shortstop)

2020: 28 R, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 8 SB, .280/.329/.370 | SS #22

2021 ADP: 304.86 (SS #28)

 

Kiner-Falefa will take his Gold Glove to shortstop in 2021, swapping places with long-time incumbent Elvis Andrus. He does not offer much offensive upside apart from a solid batting average and is unlikely to reach double-digit production for home runs, though he could flirt with that many steals. Kiner-Falefa provides more real-life value and should not be a fantasy consideration apart from the deepest leagues.

 

Nick Solak (Second Base)

2020: 27 R, 2 HR, 23 RBI, 7 SB, .268/.326/.344 | 2B #16

2021 ADP: 166.16 (2B #16)

 

Despite a step back in production during the shortened season (126 wRC+ in 2019; 77 wRC+ in 2020), Nick Solak is the Ranger’s preferred option at the keystone and will have every chance to man the position in 2021. His power makes him an interesting target, especially since it comes without any plate discipline issues (18% K%, 7.8% SwStr% in 2020), and he should provide a solid batting average as well.

He possesses first-rate speed (91st percentile per Baseball Savant) and while he will not lead the league in steals, 10-15 stolen bases is not out of the question either (7/8 SBA’s in 2020). That type of power/speed blend plays very well at the keystone and could make Solak a breakout candidate in 2021.

 

Nate Lowe (First Base)

2020: 10 R, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 1 SB, .224/.316/.433 | 1B #64

2021 ADP: 342.05 (1B #36)

 

The Rangers acquired Nate Lowe from the Tampa Bay Rays in December with hopes that he is the answer to their recent first-base struggles. Ronald Guzmán (95 wRC+ in 24 games) and Todd Frazier (86 wRC+ in 16 games) logged the most time at first base for the club in 2020, and neither provided much offensive spark. Lowe himself struggled for the Rays, though he did at least provide league-average production (101 wRC+) along with good power (.209 ISO).

His approach at the plate still needs some work. He has yet to strike out less than 30% of the time during both of his big league stints, and even with some adjustments, he will always strike out at a high level. One thing he has done well in his short career is to generate quality contact. He barreled 15.4% of pitches in 2020 (10.6% in 2019) and posted a 43.6% Hard Hit%. Better production against fastballs (.188 XBA/.264 XWOBA/.313 XSLG in 2020) and elevated offerings (especially up and in) is key for his further development and viability as more than a league-average bat. Lowe will compete with Guzmán during spring training for the position but remains the favorite to win the job.

 

Elvis Andrus (Third Base)

2020: 11 R, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 3 SB, .194/.252/.330 | 3B # N/A

2021 ADP: 418.07 (3B # N/A)

 

Back issues limited Andrus to 29 games in 2020 and are a likely culprit behind his struggles at the plate (.194/.252/.330, 48 wRC+). Andrus himself noted as much, stating the injury “…cost me a lot of mobility. It caused me a lot of pain just to wake up, to get up…I look a lot slower, especially in the beginning, my bat speed wasn’t there…”. At 32 and with a history of these issues, it is unlikely Andrus will provide the same offensive value he has at times during his career. The Rangers have also let him know that he will shift to third-base for 2021. This is a big hit to his fantasy value given his lack of power and the fact that Josh Jung is knocking at the door.

 

Jose Trevino (Catcher)

2020: 10 R, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 0 SB, .250/.280/.434 | C #37

2021 ADP: 494.87 (C #40)

 

A mid-August injury to Robinson Chirinos gave the out-of-options Trevino an audition as starting catcher, which he nailed. He slashed .295/.304/.500 in August and gained another vote of confidence when Chirinos was dealt to the Mets at the end of the month. Injuries limited him to only eight games after that. Trevino projects to be a mid- to low-end option in 2021. He has solid power but will struggle to post more than a .250 batting average.

 

Outfielders

 

Leody Taveras (OF)

2020: 33 R, 6 HR, 22 RBI, 24 SB, .256/.294/.416 | OF #87

2021 ADP: 208.15 (OF #55)

 

Taveras was one of the youngest (21) players to make their debut in 2020 and though he struggled somewhat (.227/.308/.395, 84 wRC+), he flashed the potential to be a multi-category producer in the future. He swiped eight bases without being caught during the season. That type of success is an improvement from his last showing in the minors (11/19 in AA; 32/45 between A+ and AA) and hopefully foreshadows how he will use his plus speed in the future.

His plate discipline needs some work (32.1% K%, 13% SwStr%) and will be an area of focus in 2021. Though his power is below-average, there is enough there to flirt with double-digit production, and if he continues to walk at a solid rate (10.4% BB% in 2020) he should find himself at the top of the order in time.

 

David Dahl (OF)

2020: 33 R, 6 HR, 22 RBI, 24 SB, .256/.294/.416 | OF #177

2021 ADP: 306.58 (OF #82)

 

When healthy, Dahl has consistently provided above average offensive production during his MLB career since his debut in 2016. Health has been hard to find, however. Dahl missed all of the 2017 season with core injuries and, due to a myriad of other physical ailments, has topped 100 games played only once in his career. 2020 was no different.

Shoulder issues limited him to 24 games of barely-existent production (.183/.222/.247, 10 wRC+) and ended up being the last straw for the Colorado Rockies, who declined to offer him a contract in the off-season. If he can stay healthy, Dahl has the potential to be a productive bat in Arlington. That is no guarantee though, and his struggles away from Coors Field (.248/.302/.420) represent another obstacle to that possibility.

 

Willie Calhoun (DH)

2020: 33 R, 6 HR, 22 RBI, 24 SB, .256/.294/.416 | OF #184

2021 ADP: 325.82 (OF #84)

 

If you read David Dahl’s blurb, you have a good idea of what I am going to say about Willie Calhoun. Lots of unmet potential. Calhoun’s strong 2019 season (21 HR, 110 wCR+) made him a popular target coming into the new season. Then, an errant pitch by Julio Urias in spring training broke his jaw.

Calhoun had surgery in March and was able to start the season on-time because of the delay caused by COVID-19. Unfortunately, he struggled at the plate (.190/.231/.260, 22 wRC+) and missed almost a month with other injuries. He enters 2021 with promise (above-average hit tool and power) but not as someone who can be counted on for consistent production. Great buy-low opportunity.

 

Joey Gallo (OF)

2020: 23 R, 10 HR, 26 RBI, 2 SB, .181/.301/.378 | OF #74

2021 ADP: 166.34 (OF #47)

 

Not much went right in 2020 for Gallo. He posted a sub-.200 ISO (.197 ISO) for the first time since his cup-of-coffee opportunities with the Rangers in 2015 and 2016. His BABIP (.368 BABIP in 2019; .240 in 2020) came back down to earth and he saw large decreases in his Average Exit Velocity (-3.4 MPH), Barrel% (-11.6%), and Hard Hit% (-8.9%). It bears mentioning that his quality of contact rates remain excellent, just lowered given the outlandish rates he typically posts.

If you check out Gallo’s 2020 average exit velocity zone chart on Baseball Savant, you will see that he struggled to generate strong contact on up and in pitches outside the zone. That is not news and his struggles there have existed to varying degrees for several seasons. What was different in 2020 were his struggles with high and away outside the zone offerings. After consistently generating strong exit velocities from that corner since 2017 (93 MPH in 2019), Gallo owned a 36.2 MPH average exit velocity there in 2020:

While there may be other reasons for this dip, a change in Gallo’s approach is one. My colleague, Chad Young, recently wrote an excellent article that dug into some plate discipline changes we saw from Gallo last season. I encourage you to check it out if you have not already. Gallo is becoming more patient, which is a good thing, right? I am not so sure. While his O-Swing% (21.1%) in 2020 was a career low, he still struggled to make contact on outside offerings (39% O-Contact%).

I am not saying Gallo should go back to a grip-it-and-rip-it approach. Patience for a hitter is a good thing. What I am saying is that perhaps Gallo should be more aggressive in jumping on selected pitches outside the zone, especially up and away. Doing so could cause him to lose a bit of the plate discipline he has gained but could help get his quality of contact rates back where they need to be for his approach. Either way, Gallo is undervalued heading into 2021. I do not think we will see the 2019 version of Gallo except in brief stretches, but a return to his 2017-2018 production is likely.

 

Watch List Considerations

 

Given their status as a rebuilding club, the Rangers have some uncertainty at various positions that will be cleared up during spring training. First base is one such position. While Nate Lowe has the inside track on the job, Ronald Guzmán will get the chance to battle for playing time. In three seasons with the Rangers, Guzmán has yet to post a plus-100 wRC+. In 2020, he struck out at a high rate (27.9% K%), increased his SwStr% (14.9%), hit too many ground balls (50% GB%), and generated lackluster quality of contact (6% Barrel%; 33.3% Hard Hit%).

He did rake during winter ball, slashing .360/.450/.523 with five home runs and an impressive 23/17 K/BB Ratio. That performance was rewarded with the LIDOM MVP award. It is unlikely Guzmán suddenly becomes a viable fantasy first baseman, but that performance adds an interesting wrinkle to the battle.

Since 2017, Rougned Odor is tied with Brandon Drury for the worst wRC+ (73) among qualified second-basemen. Despite that, few can match the power and speed he provides. He has the second-most home runs (93) and 10th most stolen bases (38) among second-baseman in that same period.

Josh Jung, the Ranger’s top prospect, should make his debut in 2021 and offers good upside once that occurs. The only thing blocking him right now is further development and Elvis Andrus. He offers plus power and a plus hit tool, though he has yet to play above Single-A due to the pandemic.

Another young player who could carve out some time with the Rangers is Anderson Tejeda. He did some interesting things during his MLB debut in 2020 (.200 ISO, four SB) despite never playing above High-A coming into the season. More development (39% K% & 18.5% SwStr% in MLB) is needed before he can be counted on as a regular contributor, however. One last player worthy of consideration is catcher Sam Huff.

Huff made his MLB debut in 2020 and took full advantage of the opportunity, swatting three home runs to go along with a .355/.394/.742 slash line in his 10 games. That display of power is not shocking for Huff (55 GamePower grade; 70 RawPower), though he is unlikely to supply a good batting average without further development at the dish (35 Hit Tool; 28.9% K% in High-A). Given these 10 games were his first above High-A, that need for development is unsurprising and he will likely start the season in the high minors for more work there and on his defense.

 

Starting Pitchers

By Zach Hayes

 

Kyle Gibson (Locked In)

2020: 2-6, 67.1 IP, 58 K, 5.35 ERA, 1.53 WHIP | SP #241

2021 ADP: Undrafted

Repertoire: 35% Sinker, 25% Slider, 18% Changeup, 14% Four-Seam. 8% Curveball

 

Perhaps a more alliterative name would have brought better fortunes in 2020 to the now-33 year old former first round pick. After Texas found tremendous success in consecutive seasons with aggressive, unexpected three-year deals for Mike Minor and Lance Lynn, they looked to make it a threepeat with the once again surprising three-year, $28 million contract awarded to Gibson before the 2020 season. Unfortunately, the big right-hander took a sizable step back in his first 12 starts in Arlington, soaking up 67.1 innings but to a 5.35 ERA, 123 FIP-, and 5.65 xERA, all career-worsts. Gibson decreased his fastball usage for the fourth straight season, but it did him little good, as his typically sharp slider (24.9% usage) suddenly stopped missing bats, with its swinging strike rate dropping precipitously from 28% to 15%. This is partially because he threw it in the zone more than ever, reflecting a return to being reliant on balls in play after increasing his K% for three straight years in Minnesota from 2016-19. It remains to be seen how effective defensively the Rangers’ reshuffled infield will be, but Gibson’s reliance on grounders will make it difficult to bounce back if he’s got a subpar defense behind him and the strikeouts don’t return. Still, the Rangers’ rotation is paper-thin, and Gibson is one of 19 pitchers with at least 1100 innings pitched dating back to 2014 (though his 13 fWAR is the second-lowest of that group—thanks, Julio Teheran), so while the Rangers hope he recaptures his mid-rotation form, he’s a good bet to take the ball every fifth day regardless.

 

Kohei Arihara (Locked In)

2020 (NPB): 8-9, 132.2 IP, 106 K, 3.46 ERA, 1.17 WHIP |

2021 ADP: 289 (P #109)

Repertoire: Sinker, Four-Seam, Splitter, Changeup, Cutter, Slider, Curveball

 

As Eric Longenhagen noted in his thorough writeup of Arihara last month, the Rangers have frequently tapped the international market for cheap, mid-rotation innings, and Arihara fits the bill, projecting for 150-ish innings of league average-ish production. Per Longenhagen, his fastball has increased its velocity for several consecutive seasons, sitting at 92 MPH in 2020. However, Arihara is generally contact-oriented, working to keep hitters off-balance with an extensive arsenal including four- and two-seam fastballs, a slider, curveball, cutter, and a changeup and splitter that reportedly serve as his primary out pitches. A strike-thrower who won’t draw many whiffs—his K/9 did spike to 8.8 in 2019, though that looks like more of an aberration—Arihara doesn’t appear to have the upside of some of his countrymen who have hopped the pond recently, but he should have a solid floor as a back-end rotation member who may be worth streaming now and then. All that being said, while decade-old comparisons are pretty worthless, it might be worth considering that both projections and traditional scouting were similarly low on Hisashi Iwakuma, another contact-oriented, splitter-heavy NPB alum who wound up posting 17 rWAR in his first five MLB seasons. It’s unlikely, but there’s always a chance he ends up as something more than the unremarkable mid-level starter we see him as now.

 

Dane Dunning (Locked In)

2020: 2-0, 34 IP, 35 K, 3.97 ERA, 1.12 WHIP | SP # 93

2021 ADP: Undrafted

Repertoire: 39% Sinker, 22% Slider, 21% Four-Seam, 11% Changeup, 7% Curveball

 

Acquired for Lance Lynn in December, Dunning is lined up for a full-time role this season after a promising but (obviously) truncated rookie campaign in which his stuff played better than expected along with quite solid run prevention. Still eligible for rookie status, Dunning’s overall numbers were hampered slightly by two tough starts to end the season. His first five starts, however, displayed considerable potential, allowing just seven earned runs in 27 IP (2.33 ERA) with nine walks and 28 strikeouts, and the White Sox winning all five games. Despite averaging only 91.9 MPH on his fastball, just about all of his secondaries have a ton of bite to them, leading me to suspect Dunning might have more swing-and-miss in him than initially projected. When he’s rolling, his command is pinpoint, peppering the edges of the plate with backdoor sinkers, high four-seamers, and an unpredictable mix of sliders, curveballs, and changeups below the zone. When he doesn’t have that command, though, almost everything leaks into the middle of the plate, and he’ll get hurt accordingly, as he did in allowing nine hits and nine runs against bad Cleveland and Chicago (NL) lineups to close the season. Now nearly two years removed from Tommy Juan, Dunning looks like a solid source of mid-rotation innings who will likely have a good share of streamable matchups, with the potential for more if his good command consistently plays. This Texas rotation is starving for viable fantasy options, but if for some reason you feel a pressing compulsion to have some Rangers innings on your staff, Dunning might be your best bet.

 

Jordan Lyles (Likely)

2020: 1-6, 57.2 IP, 36 K, 7.02 ERA, 1.56 WHIP | SP # 295

2021 ADP: Undrafted

Repertoire: 43% Four-Seam, 30% Curveball, 13% Slider, 10% Changeup, 4% Sinker

 

This guy’s been in the majors for TEN years already? Sheesh. That being the case, it’s hard to believe Lyles is still just a few months removed from his 30th birthday, as he’s now pitched for six teams and accumulated nearly a thousand big league innings since 2010. In 2019, it appeared Lyles might have made a long-awaited leap to serviceable-MLB-starter-dom, posting a 106 ERA+ and a career-high 24.4% strikeout rate, including an 11-start post-trade run with Milwaukee in which he went 7-1 with a 2.45 ERA. But in 2020, the gains Lyles made on his fastball disappeared, and while his breaking pitches remained acceptable, it wasn’t enough to compensate for the .427 wOBA carnage hitters inflicted on his four-seamer and sinker. The result? And ERA peeking over 7 for the second time in four seasons. Lyles has vacillated between average and sub-replacement level for nearly a decade now, yet his scouting report is more or less unchanged. At 6’5″ and 230 lbs with five viable (if not particularly good) pitches, he’s still a spitting image of the old-school starter’s profile, and the outline is still there for a useful back-end rotation member. Still, he pitched primarily in a long-man bullpen role from 2016-18, and his walk and strikeout numbers have undoubtedly played better in relief. If he can’t right the ship early on in 2021, it seems probable he’ll end up there again, or even off the MLB roster entirely, sooner rather than later, as the rebuilding Rangers may prioritize seeing what they have among their plethora of fringe starters in the upper minors.

 

Kyle Cody (Fringe Starter)

2020: 1-1, 22.2 IP, 18 K, 1.59 ERA, 1.42 WHIP | SP # 111

2021 ADP: Undrafted

Repertoire: 37% Slider, 30% Four-Seam, 21% Sinker, 12% Changeup

 

One of those several MLB-ready back-end pitching prospects in the Texas system, Cody separated himself from the pack with a pristine 1.59 ERA over 22.2 IP (eight appearances (five starts) in his first taste of major league action. With a 5.4% K-BB and 5.30 xFIP, however, it’s still not too much to get excited about. Nonetheless, Cody’s profile is intriguing, leading his arsenal with a hard mid-nineties four-seamer whose tilt and 95% active spin rate gives it an interesting, somewhat unorthodox movement profile that might be behind the seemingly unsustainable amount of weak contact it drew. He’s also got a sharp, low- to mid-eighties slider that he can locate either in the zone or low and away to righties. However, his changeup hasn’t shown much, and without any other secondaries or an uncanny ability to locate a backdoor slider to lefties, it’ll need to make significant improvements if he wants to stick in a rotation, much less replicate 2020’s results. Cody is on track for at least an opportunity to show that he can get lefties out as a starter, but will still need to compete with a glut of similarly-performing fringe options for the fifth and sixth spots in the rotation. With that being the case, the strength of Cody’s fastball-slider combination—the latter managed an impressive .182 wOBA/.209 xwOBA despite a quite heavy 37% usage rate—might keep him on a short leash from the rotation to the bullpen, where he might instantly play as an impact arm.

 

Kolby Allard (Fringe Starter)

2020: 0-6, 33.2 IP, 32 K, 7.75 ERA, 283 WHIP | SP # 283

2021 ADP: Undrafted

Repertoire: 47% Four-Seam, 30% Cutter, 13% Changeup, 10% Curveball

 

The former Atlanta first-rounder will still be just 23 in 2021, but he’s running out of chances to impress after allowing 65 earned runs through his first 87 MLB innings, mostly scattered between 2019 and 2020. He’s a ready-made finesse lefty archetype, so while he’s liable to get completely lit up now and then, there’s still room to settle into a consistent back-end rotation role. Underwhelming results aside, he’s still got more MLB experience than the rest of the team’s fringe options, which may be a factor in his favor, at least early on. Considering workload limits and the underwhelming top of the Rangers’ rotation, he should have plenty of opportunities to pitch his way either in or out of a solidified starting role. The main issue is that for a finesse pitcher, Allard hasn’t pitched with much finesse, frequently leaving just about everything in the middle of the plate over the course of his limited big league run. If better feel and command comes with experience, a Tommy Milone-esque role isn’t out of the question. But until he shows it, that’s still wishful thinking more than anything else.

 

Watch List Considerations

 

Acquired from Pittsburgh for Keone Kela, Taylor Hearn ran a 3.49 ERA and 9.8 K/9 in 129 Double-A innings in 2018, but was beset by injuries in 2019 and pitched well out of the Texas bullpen in 2020, so he may stay there. Joe Palumbo will likely start in Triple-A if he doesn’t start in the majors, and like Allard, will probably have his share of chances to work himself into or out of a major role. Most of the team’s top pitching prospects are still several seasons away, so other depth options will come from minor league or low-end free agent acquisitions, of which there may still be a few. Hey, our old friend Jharel Cotton will be in camp with the team—classics never die, right? Overall, this rotation runs about as deep as Curt Schilling’s commitment to democracy, so expect to see quite a few names cycle through their Probable Pitchers page throughout this forthcoming summer.

 

Relief Pitchers

By Hunter Denson

 

Bullpen Roles
Closer Next In Line Other Holds Options Middle/Long  Relief Middle/Long Relief Middle/Long Relief
José Leclerc Jonathan Hernández Joely Rodríguez Taylor Hearn Brett Martin Jimmy Herget

 

José Leclerc (Closer)

2020: 1 SV, 0 HLD, 2 IP, 3 K, 4.50 ERA, 2.00 WHIP | RP #214

2021 ADP: 456.61 (P #179)

 

Leclerc tossed two innings in 2020 due to a shoulder injury and his outlook remains a mystery. Is he the dominant closer we saw in 2018? Or will his control issues undercut his ability to be more than a high-leverage reliever? If healthy, he has three legitimate offerings in his arsenal, highlighted by a wicker slider (41.1% Whiff% & 30.2% PutAway% in 2019; Peaked at 56.1% Whiff% & 35.9% PutAway% in 2017).

He has struck out +30% of batters faced in each of his last three full seasons. His Baseball Savant page is covered in red. All things that point to an unhittable closer…except for his walk issues. With health and improvement there, Leclerc should dominate as an upper-tier closing option. If not, Matt Barnes-like production is a good comp.

 

Jonathan Hernández (Next in Line)

2020: 0 SV, 5 HLD, 31 IP, 31 K, 2.90 ERA, 1.03 WHIP | RP #16

2021 ADP: 454.87 (P #177)

 

The biggest improvement Hernández made in 2020 was to his control/command. In 2019, he walked 16.7% of batters faced (16.2 IP), rarely pitched in the zone (32.2% Zone%), and routinely pitched from behind (35.9% F-Strike%). In 2020? Hernández cut his walk rate by 10.3% and showed improvement in both of those other metrics, especially with his F-Strike% (+19.3% F-Strike%).

His K% remained stable (24.8% K% in 2020) but should rise due to healthy plate discipline statistics (13.9% SwStr%, 32.3% O-Swing%, 52% O-Contact%) and his arsenal. Both his fastball (rated as a sinker on Baseball Savant) and slider rate as plus pitches and his changeup, while not as highly rated, generates good results (51.7% Whiff%, 43.8% PutAway%). Easily a high leverage reliever with closer ability.

 

Joely Rodríguez (Other Hold Options)

2020: 0 SV, 3 HLD, 12.2 IP, 17 K, 2.13 ERA, 1.03 WHIP | RP #135

2021 ADP: 675.67 (P #280)

 

Rodríguez’s performance in the NPB (77 K, 60.1 IP, 1.64 ERA in 2019) landed him a two-year deal with the Rangers last offseason, though injury issues limited him to only 12.2 IP in 2020. The lefty pitched well when active (32.7% K%, 1.03 WHIP) and should compete in high-leverage situations for the Ranger bullpen. A low SwStr% (10.7%) and high Barrel% (10%) are worrisome but given the small sample size, not enough to think Rodríguez will not have success in his role.

 

Taylor Hearn (Middle/Long Relief)

2020: 0 SV, 0 HLD, 17.1 IP, 23 K, 3.63 ERA, 1.38 WHIP | RP #142

2021 ADP:  Undrafted

 

Hearn did a great job limiting contact in 2020 (4.9% Barell%) and rated in the Top 10% of the league for XBA (.181), XSLG (.294), and XWOBACON (.295). He struck out batters at a good clip (30.3% K%) but may be hard-pressed to repeat that unless he can improve some of his peripherals (8.8% SwStr%, 25.8% O-Swing%, 76.5% O-Contact%). His 14.5% BB% is worrying as well. Seems destined for middle relief in 2021.

 

Brett Martin (Middle/Long Relief)

2020: 0 SV, 2 HLD, 14.2 IP, 8 K, 1.84 ERA, 1.16 WHIP | RP #132

2021 ADP:  Undrafted

 

Some things in life are misleading. Like Brett Martin’s 1.84 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 2020. On the surface, it looks like he pitched very well during his 14.2 IP. But a negative K-BB% (-1.6%) and further investigation (84.5% Yield%, 6.21 SIERA, 8.1 SwStr%) belie that fact. While Martin’s track record is better than the warning signs we see in his brief 2020 portfolio, his ceiling is as a long-relief option should he make the Ranger’s bullpen.

 

Jimmy Herget (Middle/Long Relief)

2020: 0 SV, 1 HLD, 19.2 IP, 17 K, 3.20 ERA, 1.37 WHIP | RP #158

2021 ADP:  Undrafted

 

Herget appeared in 20 games for the Rangers last season, posting a 3.20 ERA (5.68 SIERA) and 1.37 WHIP in 19.2 IP. He did a great job limiting hard contact (27.8% Hard Hit%) but issued too many free passes (16.1% BB%). A plus slider is his main weapon, though it lacks consistency, and he can hit 96 with his fastball. Herget’s value hinges on his ability to deliver the slider effectively. If he can do that, he should thrive in a middle relief role for the Rangers.

 

Watch List Considerations

 

High strikeout rates (+40% K% since 2018) and a propensity for walks (+12.3% BB% since 2018) have defined Demarcus Evans‘ career to date. He has a 70-grade fastball that can flirt with 97 and a curveball that rates as a plus offering as well. His issue moving forward will be command. If he can improve there, he will be a late-inning weapon and eventual closer. Another interesting arm to track is Rule 5 pick Brett de Geus. The Rangers snagged him from the Dodgers and hope he can add value from the pen in 2021. He has posted strong K-BB%’s (26.1% in Single-A, 22.8% in High-A) and does a great job keeping the ball on the ground (64.1% GB% in High-A).

 

Photos by Icon Sportswire | Design by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)

Hunter Denson

Hunter currently writes for PitcherList. He once fouled off a pitch against former big-leaguer Jon Lieber, only to strike out spectacularly on the next pitch. Representing the Red Sox Nation out in the Pacific Northwest

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