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.
Omar Beltre – Omar is one of the two guys from the Dominican Republic who were coming over to the US and got caught up in a marriage scandal, which caused the US to deny them entry for five years. He is just now getting to come over to the United States. In 2003 Omar played for Clinton and went 3-3 with a 2.39 ERA, and then in 2004, when he played for Stockton, he went 4-5 with a 2.45 ERA. He was amazing in 2005, and even though it was in the Rookie League, his numbers are still very impressive. He had a 1.62 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 72.1 innings pitched. He could be a key member of the Rangers pitching staff in the future, but he will almost surely start the year off in Frisco to get some experience before he even has a chance to be in the majors.
Percentage of making the team out of Spring Training: 5.6%
Willie Eyre – Willie is at Spring Training as a non-roster invitee, which will make it harder for him to make the team, since they would have to add him to the 40-man roster for him to be able to do so. Last year he pitched just 18 innings with the Rangers, with a 4.50 ERA in that limited time period. He was great in Oklahoma, though, with a 2.10 ERA in 34.1 innings. He has a fairly decent chance at the team, though, as, even though his stats don’t show it (4-6, 5.16), he had a very good year in the majors with the Rangers in 2007.
Scott Feldman – Scott was the best pitcher on the team last year, and will most likely be the number one starter out of Spring Training this year, as last year he went 17-8 with a 4.08 ERA in 189.2 innings pitched. And the amazing this about it is, he wasn’t even a starter the first month of the year, because Kris Benson was starting. His ERA as a starter was below 4.00, and he was incredibly consistent, earning the 2009 Rangers Pitcher of the Year. He had an incredible .250 batting average against, which is right where you want your best pitcher at, as that was 15th in the AL.
Neftali Feliz – Neftali was amazing last year in the majors, with a 1.74 ERA and 39 strikeouts and just 8 walks in 31 innings pitched. Those are amazing numbers for a ten-year-veteran, much less a rookie getting his first big league experience. He had an astonishing .124 BAA last year, so batters weren’t getting anything off him. That combined with just 8 walks gave him a 0.68 WHIP last year. A WHIP under 1.00 is great, so he blew that away.
Frank Francisco – Frankie was the closer last year, and he was great…….until late June. He had an ERA well under 2.00……until July. He had an ERA well under 3.00……..until mid-August. He had an ERA well under 3.90……until late September. His breaking ball was breaking…..until mid-August. He started the year great, and ended it horribly. His final ERA was 3.83, with 25 saves and 57 strikeouts in 49.1 innings pitched. It seems that he’ll be on the team as the closer this year, and we’ll see how it goes from there.
Geoff Geary – Geoff is a non-roster invite to the Rangers Spring Training Camp, and he actually has a shot. Even though he was horrible last year with the Astros (1-3, 8.10), he has had good years. Just in 2008, he had a 2.53 ERA and a .197 BAA in 64 innings pitched with Houston. Two years before that he went 7-1 with a 2.96 ERA in 91.1 innings pitched for Philadelphia, and the year before that, he had a 3.72 ERA for Philly. While I don’t think he’ll make the team, he has a shot at it.
Rich Harden – Rich is obviously going to make the team (if he’s not injured) and will probably be the #2 guy. Rich has been dominant when he’s pitched. He has a 3.39 career ERA and has had an ERA below 3.00 in three of his seven major league seasons and has had an ERA below 4.00 in four of his seven major league seasons. His highest ERA was as a rookie in ’03 at 4.46.
Matt Harrison – Due to injury, Matt only pitched 63.1 innings last year, and struggled in them, going 4-5 with a 6.11 ERA. He allowed 104 baserunners (81 hits, 23 walks) in those 63.1 innings, a horrible 1.64 WHIP. He allowed a .316 BAA, after allowing a .300 BAA in 2008. In ’08, Matt went 9-3, but also had a 5.49 ERA. His injury, paired with his big league struggles might make it harder for him to make the team.
Derek Holland – Although Holland went just 8-13 with a 6.12 ERA in 138.1 innings pitched, he showed flashes of brilliance, and you could tell he has great potential. That was never more evident than a three-game stretch in August where he threw a complete-game shutout against the Angels, allowed two runs in 6.2 innings against the Red Sox, and allowed just one run in 5.1 innings against the Twins. That’s why I’m not only predicting him to make the team out of Spring Training, I’m predicting him to have a sub-4.00 ERA in 2010.
Tommy Hunter – Tommy had a good year last year, going 9-6 with a 4.10 ERA in 112 innings pitched for the Rangers. That was a big improvement (it wasn’t that hard for him to do) in the ERA department, going all the way from 16.36 in ’08 down to 4.10 in ’09. The fact that he only pitched 11 innings in 2008 might’ve had something to do with it, but I’m just saying. His BAA also went all the way down from .404 two years ago to .259 last year. He will definitely have a shot to play himself into the rotation this year.
Eric Hurley – Hurley missed all of last year and didn’t throw a single inning due to a shoulder injury. It will probably also keep him from competing for a roster spot out of Spring Training. 2008 was his only major league experience, and he went 1-2 with a 5.47 ERA in 24.2 innings of pitching in Texas. I would be shocked if he was on the team coming out of Spring Training.
Kasey Kiker – Last year Kiker was an All-Star in Frisco and was deserving. Although his record was not outstanding, at 7-7, he had a 3.86 ERA and 120 strikeouts in 126 innings pitched. His control took a major dip from ’08 in Bakersfield. He either walked or hit 36 more batters in ’09 than he did in ’08, while only pitching 4.1 innings. He’s in major league camp so that he can benefit from the experience and is not a legitimate contender to make the team.
Michael Kirkman – Last year was a really good year for Michael, especially in his time in Bakersfield. His combined stats between Frisco and Bakersfield were solid, going 9-8 with a 3.48 ERA, striking out 118 in 144.2 innings. With the Blaze, Kirkman dominated, going 4-1 with a 2.06 ERA before getting called up to Frisco, where he went 5-7 with a 4.19 ERA, which, although it isn’t as good as 2.06, still is a solid ERA. They are not looking at him for the major league team yet, and he is only on the 40-man roster so that they could protect him from the Rule-5 draft.
Colby Lewis – I cannot find Colby Lewis’ 2009 Japanese stats, but in 2008, for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, Colby went 15-8 with a 2.68 ERA in 178 innings pitched. Colby dominated in Japan, and apparently got some new pitches, and with the Rangers seemingly so high on him, I would be shocked if he wasn’t on the team. He will most likely be the #3 starting pitcher in the rotation.
Warner Madrigal – Warner had a horrible year last year, with a 9.95 ERA in 12.2 innings, and just couldn’t get anybody out. He did this after looking very good the year before, with a 4.75 ERA in 36 innings during his rookie season. His control was horrible in ’09, walking 12 batters and striking out just five in just his 12.2 innings of work. He’ll need a lights-out camp to make the team out of Spring Training.
Doug Mathis – Doug looked very good last year, and deserves to make the team but, despite his 3.16 ERA and .244 BAA in his 42.2 innings in ’09, I predict he’ll be the odd man out to make room for Ben Snyder. He’s very valuable, because he can come in and do some good long inning work out of the pen, and he can also make spot starts in case of an injury and be successful in those. I hope he makes the team, and he has a great chance to do so.
Come back next week for my Spring Training Pitchers Analysis Part Two.