The Rangers now have 32 pitchers in major league camp with the signing of Kris Benson. This week, I analyzed the second half of the pitchers in big league camp and gave their chances of making the team at the end of Spring Training (see last week’s post for analysis of the first half of the pitchers). I also gave my prediction for what the Opening Day pitching roster will look like.
Jason Jennings: Jason struggled last year before his injury. He went 0-5 with an 8.56 ERA and allowed 35 hits and walked 18 batters in just 27.1 innings pitched. That is a WHIP of 1.94. He then got injured and had season-ending surgery after just six games. In 2007, went 2-9 with a 6.45 ERA with the Astros. Even though he had less than twice the amount of walks in over three times the amount of innings, his WHIP was still very high as it was about 1.57 through 19 games and 99 innings pitched. He also had season-ending surgery in ’07. His only year with an ERA under 4.50 came in ’06 (his contract year) with the Colorado Rockies. His record was only 9-13, but he had a 3.78 ERA and the most innings he had pitched in a season in his career with 212 IP, only the second time he had pitched 200 innings in a season. He still had control problems though, as he walked 85 and had a WHIP of about 1.39. With most teams, he probably wouldn’t have much of a shot of making the starting rotation, but with the Rangers, he can work his way in if he pitches well in Spring Training and either Matt Harrison struggles, Scott Feldman struggles, or Brandon McCarthy either struggles (which still might not kick him out of the rotation) or Brandon McCarthy gets injured again (which is very likely to happen).
Percentage chance of making the team out of Spring Training: 34.6%
Warner Madrigal: Warner made his major league debut last year, but as a pitcher, not a hitter, which he had been for almost all of his minor league career. He went 0-2 with a 4.75 ERA and one save in 36 innings pitched, although he seemed to pitch much better than his ERA shows. He probably will make the team as a middle reliever out of Spring Training.
Doug Mathis: Doug made his major league debut last year, and although his ERA was 6.85, he went 2-1 and only had two bad games. He had four relief appearances and four starts before a season-ending injury. He allowed nine runs in 2.1 innings pitched at the Twins in his first career start, but he didn’t even pitch that bad as only six of the nine runs were earned and there was a lot of luck going the Twins way. as there were a couple of perfect pitches where a Twin flung his bat out and somehow slapped the ball down the line, there were plenty of bloopers, and there were errors. He then dominated the Indians in his next game, going six innings and allowing only one run. Then, after struggling against Cleveland in his next game, he pitched well against the Rays, allowing 2 earned runs in 5.1 innings pitched. He has a shot at making the Opening Day rotation and the bullpen and, due to his flexibility, I think he will make the team if he is healthy.
Brandon McCarthy: Brandon McCarthy was once again injured for much of the season in 2008. He only pitched 22 innings in five games and went 1-1 with a 4.09 ERA and had 10 strikeouts and 8 walks. He struggled in 2007 when he was healthy, as he went 5-10 with a 4.87 ERA in 101.2 innings pitched. In 2007, his WHIP was 1.56. He played with the White Sox for two years before the Danks trade and went 4-7 with a 4.68 ERA in 2006 and went 3-2 with a 4.03 ERA in 2005. This year, if he stays healthy, he could actually be in a position for the first time in his career where he can pitch himself out of a job if someone else pitches himself into a job.
Percentage: 72.2% (this percentage doesn’t include injuries, so this is if he doesn’t get injured)
Luis Mendoza: In 2008, (when he wasn’t injured) Mendoza struggled as he went 3-8 with an 8.67 ERA in 63.1 innings pitched. His WHIP was also terrible, at 1.93. He will probably need to pitch his way onto the team after his terrible year last year, and I don’t think that he will do that.
Kevin Millwood: Kevin has struggled since signing with the Rangers. He hasn’t had an ERA under 4.50 in his three years with the team and he has allowed more hits than innings pitched all three years. In 2006, he had his best year as a Ranger as he went 16-12 with a 4.52 ERA and threw over 200 innings (215) while striking out 157 batters. In 2007, he went 10-14 with a 5.16 ERA and threw only 172.2 innings with 123 strike outs and 67 walks. In 2008, he went 9-10 with a 5.07 ERA in only 168.2 innings pitched, and still gave up 220 hits and 18 homers. Even if he still had options, his $10 million salary gives him a spot on the team.
Guillermo Moscoso: In 2008, he had a 5-4 record between the Lakeland Flying Tigers and the Erie SeaWolves. With High-A Lakeland he had a 2.42 ERA and with Double-A Erie he had a 3.12 ERA. He struck out 122 batters and walked only 21 in 86.2 innings total. He will probably start the year off at either Frisco or Oklahoma City.
Dustin Nippert: Dustin went 3-5 with a 6.40 ERA in 71.2 innings pitched in his first year with the Rangers. He pitched in 20 games and started in 6 of those 20. With the Diamondbacks in 2007, he went 1-1 with a 5.56 ERA and was used only as a reliever. He pitched much better as a starter than a reliever, as he had a 5.63 ERA as a starter and a 7.03 ERA as a reliever in 2008. He really struggled with men in scoring position last year with a 16.50 ERA and had a 22.18 ERA with runners in scoring position with two outs. I think that he will make the team because he can be both a starter and a reliever.
Vicente Padilla: Vicente has spent three years with the team and this will probably be his last. Last year he led the team in wins with 14 and only lost 8, but he had a 4.74 ERA and only pitched 171 innings. He also walked 65 batters, hit 15 batters, and allowed 185 hits. In 2007, he went 6-10 with 5.76 ERA in only 120.1 innings pitched and in 2006 he went 15-10 with a 4.50 ERA. He will make the team out of Spring Training unless he gets traded or something.
Omar Poveda: Last year Omar spent the whole year at High-A Bakersfield and went 4-4 with a 4.47 ERA in 90.2 innings pitched. His WHIP was 1.35, but there is almost no chance of him making the team out of Spring Training. He was placed on the 40-man roster during the off-season in order to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft but he needs more development time in the minors.
Elizardo Ramirez: Last year was Elizardo’s first year in the Rangers organization. He only pitched 2.2 innings in the majors and still allowed 9 earned runs. In Oklahoma City, he went 10-7 with a 4.50 ERA in 160 innings pitched. He has a chance of making the bullpen if he impresses in Spring Training, but he probably won’t. He’s more likely to be an insurance policy at triple-A.
Josh Rupe: Even though his ERA was 5.14 last year, it seemed like he did much better than that, even though he had a 12.90 ERA with runners in scoring position. His record was 3-1 in 89.1 innings pitched and 46 and only struck out 53. He will probably make the team out of Spring Training if he pitches well.
Joseph Torres: Joe Torres went 3-1 with a 2.68 ERA in Double-A Birmingham last year in 50.1 innings pitched. He walked 31 batters, but only allowed 29 hits. He probably won’t make the team out of Spring Training this year, if he makes the team at all.
Derrick Turnbow: Derrick Turnbow signed a minor league deal with the Rangers this offseason. He is a former closer for the Milwaukee Brewers. 2005 was his first season with Milwaukee and he went 7-1 with a 1.74 ERA and 39 saves in 67.1 innings pitched. In 2006, he struggled, going 4-9 with a 6.87 ERA and 24 saves in 56.1 innings pitched. He no longer had the closer role in 2007 and he went 4-5 with a 4.63 ERA in 68 innings pitched. Last year he only pitched 6.1 innings for the Brewers and went 0-1 with a 15.63 ERA. He will definitely have to earn his way onto the team, but he can do that.
CJ Wilson: CJ has four years of major league experience (2005-2008). In 2005, he went 1-7 with a 6.94 ERA in 48 innings pitched. In 2006, he went 2-4 with a 4.06 ERA in 44.1 innings pitched. 2007 was his best year as he had a 3.03 ERA and 12 saves with a 2-1 record. Last year, he broke camp as the team’s closer but struggled, going 2-2 with a 6.02 ERA and 24 saves in 46.1 innings pitched before season-ending elbow surgery. CJ has a lot of talent and seems to have recovered well from his surgery. He will probably make the team but not as the closer.
Kris Benson: Kris started his major league career in Pittsburgh in 1999 and threw almost 200 innings with a 4.07 ERA in his rookie season. In 2000, he threw 217.2 innings and had a 3.85 ERA. 2002 was his first year with a winning record, as he went 9-6 with a 4.70 ERA. He threw only 105 innings in 2003. In 2004, he went to the Mets halfway through the season and had a 4.31 ERA in 200.1 innings between Pittsburgh and New York. After a 10-8 season in 2005, Kris went to Baltimore in 2006 and went 11-12 with a 4.82 ERA in 183 innings pitched. He has not pitched in the majors in either of his past two seasons due to injuries. The Rangers signed him to a minor league deal last week and Kris is trying to prove that he’s fully healthy. He has a chance to break the starting rotation with a great spring training but is more likely to start at triple-A. He can become a free agent in May if not added to the team by then.
Projected Opening Day Pitching Roster:
Starter #1: Kevin Millwood
Starter #2: Vicente Padilla
Starter #3: Matt Harrison
Starter #4: Scott Feldman
Starter #5: Brandon McCarthy
Long Reliever: Dustin Nippert
Long Reliever/Middle Reliever: Doug Mathis
Long Reliever/Middle Reliever: Josh Rupe
Middle Reliever: CJ Wilson
Middle Reliever: Warner Madrigal
Set-up Man: Eddie Guardado
Closer: Frankie Francisco
Next in line:
Results of last week’s poll:
Who do you think will be the Rangers closer?
Frankie Francisco – 67%
Derrick Turnbow – 10%
CJ Wilson – 10%
Eddie Guardado – 7%
Other – 3%
Warner Madrigal – 0%
Come back next week for the Spring Training Infielders Analysis.