The Rangers will be opening Spring Training with 31 pitchers in major league camp as long as no more moves are made. This week, I analyzed half of the pitchers in big league camp and gave their chances of making the team at the end of Spring Training. I'll finish the pitcher analysis next week.
John Bannister: In 2008, John went 4-6 with a 4.14 ERA in Bakersfield and went 1-0 with a 4.56 ERA in Frisco. In his minor league career he is 22-30 with a 4.59 ERA. But improved control after being switched to the bullpen plus a good performance in the Arizona Fall League resulted in John being added to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. He probably will not make the team out of Spring Training.
Percentage of making the team out of Spring Training: 5.4%
Joaquin Benoit: After a great year in 2007, Benoit struggled in 2008 with a 5.00 ERA in 45 innings. His ERA jumped up 2.15 points from 2007 when it was 2.85. He had 35 walks and only 43 strikeouts and averaged 7 walks per 9 innings. Also he blew three saves in only four opportunities. He only had 0.55 ground outs for every fly out, .39 lower than 2007 when it was 0.94. Benoit will not make the team out of spring training, due to a torn rotator cuff that may keep him out for the year.
Casey Daigle: Casey is in camp on a non-roster invitation. Casey made his major league debut in 2004 with Arizona and really struggled. He went 2-3 with a 7.16 ERA with 27 walks and only 17 strikeouts in 49 innings pitched. He didn’t get another shot until 2006 when he went 0-0 with a 3.65 ERA with 6 walks and 7 strikeouts in 12.1 innings pitched. He has been in Triple-A ever since then. Last year, Casey went 1-5 with a 3.78 ERA in 69 innings pitched for Rochester. He is a guy who might have a chance at the bullpen and might make a few spot starts.
Thomas Diamond: Thomas was one of the Rangers best prospects until he had to undergo Tommy John surgery and miss all of 2007. Last year Thomas threw 53.2 innings for Frisco and went 3-3 with a 6.20 ERA and 37 walks as he struggled with his control. This year will probably be another year in the minors to try and get fully healthy.
Brendan Donnelly: Brendan is in camp on a non-roster invitation. Brendan Donnelly was a very strong reliever all the way up to last year, in a career that has spanned 7 major league seasons with 3 teams. He had an ERA 3.00 or lower from ’02-’04 (2.17, 1.58, and 3.00) with the Angels and he pitched 40 or more innings in all three of those years. Then he had a 3.72 ERA in ’05, a 3.94 ERA in ’06, and a 3.05 ERA in ’07 (after moving to Boston). But he struggled last year with Cleveland, only getting 13.2 major league innings, and having a 8.56 ERA with 10 walks and 8 strikeouts in those innings. If he can get back to his old form, he should make the team out of Spring Training.
Willie Eyre: Willie has pitched in the majors for two seasons in his career. In 2006, he went 1-0 with a 5.31 ERA for the Twins in 59.1 innings pitched. Then in 2007, he went 4-6 with a 5.16 ERA for the Rangers in 68 innings pitched, although it seemed like he did a lot better than the stats show. He was injured all of last season and might still be recovering this year, though hopefully not. I think that if he pitches well in Spring Training and shows himself to be healthy, he will make the team.
Scott Feldman: Last year the Rangers converted Scott Feldman from a reliever into a starter and it was a success. Even though he only went 6-8 with a 5.29 ERA in 151.1 innings pitched, he was the most consistent starter on the team, in my opinion, and had many quality starts. He had 1.22 ground outs per fly out and got the other team to hit into 24 double plays. I think that if he doesn’t make it into the starting rotation, they will find some way to work him into the bullpen.
Neftali Feliz: Last year Neftali Feliz dominated the minor leagues, earning him his first invitation to major league camp (as a non-roster invitee). He went 6-3 with a 2.53 ERA with 106 strikeouts and only 28 walks in 82 innings pitched in Clinton before being called up to Frisco. He went 4-3 with a 2.98 ERA with 47 strikeouts and 23 walks in 45.1 innings pitched at Frisco while hitting 102 MPH on the radar gun at times. He had a great year, but the Rangers don’t want rush him up to the majors, so he probably will not make the team out of Spring Training.
Frank Francisco: Frankie had a very good year last year as he had a 3.13 ERA with 83 strikeouts and 26 walks in 63.1 innings pitched. He also had 5 saves. In 2007 he struggled, though, as he had a 4.55 ERA. After his great year last year, the question isn’t so much whether or not he makes the team as it is whether he will leave camp as the team’s closer.
Kason Gabbard: Kason hasn’t pitched all too well in his career. In 2007, he went 6-1, but had a 4.65 ERA, pretty high for his good record. In 2008, he went 2-3 with a 4.82 and had terrible control, throwing 39 walks and getting only 33 strikeouts. Then he got injured, and he just threw off the mound for the first time since then on February 12th. The Rangers will probably want him to continue recovering into the regular season and so he will probably not make the team out of Spring Training.
Brian Gordon: Last year Brian Gordon started out the year in Frisco, going 2-0 and allowed no earned runs in 22 innings before being called up to Oklahoma City. He went 4-5 with a 4.56 ERA with 51 strikeouts and 15 walks in 71 innings. He then made his major league debut and pitched 4 innings and allowed one run. He probably will not make the team seeing as how he’s a non-roster invite but he’s a good candidate to be called up later in the season.
Eddie Guardado: Eddie has had a very good career. He was a dominant closer in 2002, 2003, and 2005, getting at least 35 saves in each of those years. Last year he also played well, with a 4.15 ERA between Texas and Minnesota in 56.1 innings total. He is a very good pitcher and will make the team.
Matt Harrison: In 2008, Matt made his major league debut. He went 9-3 with a 5.49 ERA in 83.2 innings pitched. He tied for the second most wins on the team, even though he only pitched in the majors for three months. He showed signs of brilliance as he threw some gems, but just got completely obliterated in other starts. He probably will make the team as a starter.
Derek Holland: Derek Holland is one of the best prospects in all of baseball and has pitched really well. Last year he went 7-0 with a 2.40 ERA in 93.2 innings pitched with Clinton, 3-1 with a 3.19 ERA in 31 innings pitched in Bakersfield, and 3-0 with a 0.69 ERA in 26 innings pitched in Frisco. He was rewarded with his first invitation to big league camp. Even though he played so well last year, he will probably not make the team out of Spring Training this year, as they’ll want to give him a little more development time.
Tommy Hunter: Tommy made his major league debut last year in his first full season of professional baseball. He pitched very well in all three stops he made in the minors. He went 5-4 with a 3.55 ERA in 58.1 innings pitched with Bakersfield, 4-2 with a 3.78 ERA in 52.1 innings pitched with Frisco, and 4-2 with a 2.89 ERA in 53 innings pitched with Oklahoma City. In the majors he only pitched 11 innings and he struggled mightily in those innings. He went 0-1 with a 16.36 ERA in three games. He probably will not make the team out of Spring Training but is a good candidate for call-up later in the season.
Eric Hurley: Eric has a shoulder injury that will keep him out for the season.
Results of last week’s poll:
Who do you think will be the Rangers 4th outfielder?
Marlon Byrd – 42%
Andruw Jones – 23%
David Murphy – 9%
Frank Catalanotto – 9%
Greg Golson – 4%
Nelson Cruz – 4%
Brandon Boggs – 4%
Julio Borbon – 0%
Come back next week for the other half of the Spring Training pitchers.