Texas Rangers Pitching Staff Carrying Club Early
With one full month of the season now completed, it is very evident there is something different going on in Arlington this season. Rangers faithful have been waiting for this day to arrive ever since the team was transplanted from Washington DC in 1972. It appears the Texas Rangers have finally allowed pitching to propel the team to success.
It wasn’t too long ago when the Rangers tried to rely strictly on offensive to win games, loading up on sluggers such as Hank Blalock, Alfonso Soriano, and Kevin Mench to out slug the opposition. At the same time pitchers like Chan Ho Park, Kameron Loe, and Ryan Drese, tried keep the team competitive. After failing again and again in free agency to land top starting pitching, it seemed offensive was the only thing that the Rangers front office knew.
Now with Jon Daniels and company in place, there has been a paradigm shift in the organization. Since JD was promoted to General Manager in 2005, the entire organization has centered on growing their own pipeline of quality arms to bolster the major league club. Through April 30th, the Rangers have jumped out of the gates to a quick start of 17 wins and 9 losses. Many of these wins can be contributed to the Rangers pitching staff as they currently have a team ERA of 3.14 which ranks 1st in all of Major League Baseball. This pitching staff is starting to draw attention around the MLB as the Rangers were not expected to be doing this well, especially with pitchers Neftali Feliz, Colby Lewis, and free agent signee Joakim Soria on the DL.
According to T.R. Sullivan, who covers the Rangers for MLB.com, 10 of the Rangers 13 pitchers have never pitched with another Major League club. In the same article Sullivan also points out the Rangers Triple-A affiliate, Round Rock Express, also leads the league in team ERA while Class A Myrtle Beach Pelicans and Double A- Frisco Roughriders rank second and third in team ERA respectively. You may read Sullivan’s article in its entirety here.
The new crop of pitchers are now flooding out of the Rangers farm system and are making waves as they push their way towards Arlington, much like how rookies Nick Tepesch (2-1, 2.53 ERA) and Justin Grimm (2-0, 1.59 ERA) have done so this year. Some names that are worth watching are Josh Lindblom (3-0, 1.90 ERA, AAA), Brad Mills (3-0, 2.81 ERA, AAA), and Neil Ramirez (2-0, 2.22 ERA, AA).
As the next few months play out, it will be interesting to see if the Rangers can continue experiencing success from their pitching staff, especially once some players start coming off of the disabled list. If so, this is going to be a fun team to watch over the next 136 games.