Texas RangersOur expert from ScoutPRO.com,Shawn Childs, helps you prepare for your big fantasy baseball draft.
Texas Rangers Team Projection
Scroll down to read my 2014 fantasy baseball player profiles of the Texas Rangers pitching staff.
1. SP Yu Darvish
Darvish has been extremely tough to hit in his first 2 seasons in the majors (.207 - 6.8 hits per 9 innings), but he did allow a few more HR's (1.1 per 9). Yu led the majors in K's (277) and K's per 9 (11.9). RH batters are only hitting .186 over the past 2 seasons and LH batters have hit .221. Last year, teams tried to stack LH bats against Darvish (61%). His walk rate (3.4) improved from 2012 (4.2), but it didn't match his success in Japan (2.4). Yu started to lose his command over his last 9 starts of the year (29 walks in 56 innings). On August 12th, he had a 2.64 ERA with a 3.0 walk rate. Over a 7 start period from late July to the end of August, Darvish had 5 double digit K games in 7 starts (75 K's in 49 innings). He allowed 2 runs or less in 18 of his 32 starts. While his AFB (92.9) was in line with 2012, he only threw it 38.2% of the time. His best pitch in 2013 was his slider, while he also threw a plus cutter, curveball, split-finger fastball, and low level changeup. Yu will be a very exciting player in 2014, especially if his command can continue to improve. He has 300 K potential if he can pitch a little deeper into games. Texas has a plus offense, which gives Darvish a chance to win 20+ games. Lastly, the Rangers scored 2 runs or less in 10 of his 32 starts in 2013.
2. SP Matt Harrison
Harrison had his 2013 season cut short due to a herniated disk in his back that required surgery in April. He made 3 starts in the minors (4.91 ERA with 8 K's in 7.3 innings) before developing numbness in his left hand. Matt had right shoulder surgery in September to repair a problem called thoracic outlet syndrome. Harrison lost 30 lbs. in the offseason to help remove the strain on has back. Rather than rewrite a new profile, here are my feelings on Harrison heading into 2013: Harrison has had back to back solid seasons which helped him earn a new 5-year, $55 million contract. His command (2.5) improved, but K rate (5.6) moved in the wrong direction. He has a good fastball (92.1), but it declined from his 2011 season (92.8). He throws a solid curveball, a solid changeup and a slider. His GB rate (49%) was a career high, while Harrison also made a nice step forward against LH batters (.209). His command did improve slightly against RH batters, but they had more success against him (.276). He had an ERA under 3.70 in five of six months last year. Harrison may get the Buehrle treatment on draft day because of his low K rate, but he does have a strong enough skill set where he could have a nice bump in K's if he can find a swing and miss pitch against righties. He does have some risk if his skill set moves in the wrong direction, as he isn't dominant enough to get away with less command.
3. SP Alexi Ogando
Ogando was electric during his 1st start of the year (6.3 shutout innings with 10 K's). He pitched well in 8 of his first 9 starts before developing a biceps injury that forced him to the DL. When he returned to the rotation, he made only one start (1 run in 5.7 innings with 6 K's) before developing a sore right shoulder. Alexi wasn't the same pitcher when he returned to Texas in late July (4.88 ERA with 11 walks in 24 innings). His lack of success led to a 3rd trip to the DL with the same shoulder problem. Ogando pitched better in September (1.88) as a reliever and spot starter. HIs K rate was only 5.3 after the All Star break. While hIs AFB (93.4) was strong, it was much lower than his previous success (97.0 in 2012 and 95.1 in 2011). He throws a plus slider and last year threw his changeup at the highest rate of his career (14.9%). Alexi was very good against lefties (.210). His walk rate (3.5) was a step down from his previous 2 seasons (2.3) and his K rate (6.2) was a career low. Ogando has a 26-13 career record in the majors with a 3.12 ERA. His injuries from last year invite plenty of doubts for the 2104 season. While he has upside when healthy, he'll never be dependable all season.
4. SP Martin Perez
Perez handled himself well in his 20 starts with Texas. His walk rate (2.7) was better than his minor league career (3.6), but his K rate (6.1) was short. Martin didn't dominate RH (.262) or LH (.282) batters. His AFB (93.0) was solid and he has a plus changeup. Perez also throws a slider and a show me curveball. Last year, batters hit .314 off his four seam fastball and .329 off his sinker. Martin had his most success with his changeup (.200). He has a career 4.16 ERA with 492 K's in 583.7 innings. While Perez has upside talent, his command of his fastball needs a lot of work. For most of his minor league career, he has underachieved his skill set. Martin was very good at AAA in 2013 (1.75 ERA with 28 K's in 36 innings) and his success carried over to the majors. Possible step back with low K's and WHIP risk.
5. SP Colby Lewis
Lewis struggled with his recovery from forearm surgery in July of 2012. Colby needed a plasma injection in his right elbow in late May. He then made 7 poor starts in the minors (0-2 with a 7.50 ERA and 19 K's in 24 innings). Lewis then needed to have right hip surgery in early August to remove bone spurs. His 2013 path doesn't give a fantasy player a lot of confidence in him heading into this season. Colby's elbow may be on the verge of blowing up. However, his hip should be 100% healed heading into spring training. Here's my write up about him before last season: Lewis had a great start to the 2012 season. He had elite command (1.2) with a rising K rate (8.0), but developed a sore right forearm in late June which required surgery in late July. The time table for his return is unclear. He started a throwing program in early January. He only signed a $2 million contract in September, so the Rangers won't be expecting a full season out of him. The last two seasons Lewis has struggled with HR's (51 in 305.3 innings). He is a FB pitcher (45.8% in 2012 and 49% in 2011) with a high HR/FB rate (11.2% in 2012 and 11.9% in 2011). Last year, his AFB (87.9) was the lowest of his career. He throws a slider as his 2nd best pitch, plus a curveball and a changeup. Lewis has allowed 33 of his 51 HR's to LH batters over the last two seasons. He has had reasonable success in the majors with solid command. His value this season will be driven by his spring training news.
6. SP Derek Holland
The Rangers caught a tough break when Holland suffered a left knee injury in January. He had microfracture surgery and the Rangers are hoping to have him back mid season. Last year, Derek had his best season in the majors. His command (2.7) was in line with 2012 and he showed growth in his K rate (8.0). Best of all was his improvement in limiting HR's (0.8 per 9 innings - lowest of his career). As well as he pitched, he didn't dominate either RH (.258) or LH (.265) batters. After 27 starts last season, Holland had a 2.95 ERA and allowed 2 runs or less in 15 games. He started to allow more walks in July through his first start in September (32 in 72.7 innings - 4.0 walk rate). His declining command led to a bad end to the year, allowing 18 runs and 39 base runners over 19.3 innings - 8.38 ERA. His AFB (93.6) was stronger than 2012. Derek's slider gained value at the expense of his curveball. Additionally, he also threw a solid changeup. Batters crushed his sinker (.354 - 724 pitches), while they only hit .158 against his slider (758 pitches). Holland has a nice developing arm, but his two seam fastball needs to make a step forward. Anyone that has microfracture surgery scares me as the time table to return is always slow. Possible upside after the All Star break, but he could be a tough carry if there is any negative news this spring.
7. SP Nick Tepesch
Tepesch gave Texas 6 solid starts in his first 10 outings (3.44 ERA with 39 K's in 55 innings) before getting ripped up over 3 starts in June (17 runs and 23 base runners in 15.7 innings). He flashed upside in K's over his last 2 starts with the Rangers (16 K's in 9 innings) prior to developing a sore right elbow. He returned in September, but he was limited to only 7.7 innings (4.70 ERA). He didn't look right as he allowed 6 base runners (3 walks) and 2 runs in 1 inning during his last appearance of the year. His AFB was 91.1, while he threw a cutter as his #2 pitch (followed by a plus curveball and a show me changeup). LH batters hit .297 against him. His command (2.6) was respectable, but it was slightly lower in the minors (2.3). His K rate (7.4) was in line with his minor league resume. Last year, he threw his two seam fastball at the highest rate (447 pitches), but batters hit .336 against it. Nick has some upside, but his elbow injury may be a concern heading into 2014. He will compete with Colby Lewis for the 5th starting job until Holland returns. Tepesch has a career 3.73 ERA with 253 K's in 311.3 innings in the minors. He needs to locate the ball better down in the strike zone.
8. CL Neftali Feliz
The Feliz project as a starter ended up costing him 2 years of his career. Last year, Neftali returned from his Tommy John surgery to pitch 4.7 innings in the majors, allowing no runs with 2 walks and 4 K's. His AFB (93.6) wasn't all the way back (96.3 in 2010 and 2011). He threw his changeup as his #2 pitch, followed by a slider. Feliz only threw 51.4% fastballs during his brief innings with Texas (over 80% fastballs in 2010 and 2011). Neftali seems committed to be a closer going forward. His command (4.3) faded during his 2nd year as a closer and it was poor as a starter in 2012 (4.9). Feliz had an electric fastball with developing command during his first 2 seasons in the majors. Texas will score runs this year, so his upside in saves may only be the low 40's. I think his skill set matches up with some of the front relievers in the game if his velocity returns. His lack of a resume over the last 2 seasons creates a nice buying opportunity. Neftali has 100 K upside in the bullpen. His spring training will determine his draft value. Overall, he needs command and a plus fastball to be elite in 2014.
9. RP Joakim Soria
Just like Feliz, Soria made the slow crawl from Tommy John surgery in 2013. He pitched 7 shutout innings in the minors while only allowing 1 hit and no walks with 8 K's. When he returned to the majors, Joakim lacked command (5.3), but had a plus K rate (10.6). RH batters hit .366 against him in 41 at bats, but he only allowed 2 extra base hits. Lefties had only 3 hits off of him in 44 at bats. His AFB (90.8) came in short of his previous 3 seasons. He threw a slider as his #2 pitch, followed by a slow curveball. For some reason, his changeup was no longer a pitch of value. Soria has 160 major league saves with a history of having solid command. He is more than capable of doing the job and I expect him to pitch at a high level this season. If Feliz lacks command early in the year, Joakim could steal the job and run with it. He almost looks like a must handcuff.
10. RP Tanner Scheppers
Scheppers has always had a plus fastball (96.3), but it never turned into elite success in the minors (4.15 ERA with 185 K's in 173.7 innings). Tanner struggled with command (3.4) during his minor league career. He started to make a step forward at AAA in 2012 (1.2 walk rate) which led to his call up to Texas. Last year, he had improved command (2.8), which led to a short ERA (1.88). However, his K rate (6.9) was less than expected. Scheppers pitched well against RH (.210) and LH (.218) batters. Over the 2nd half of the year, his walk rate dropped under 2.0, which led to a higher K rate (8.3). Last year, he threw 81.5% fastballs with a solid slider. His skill set is rising. I expect a higher K rate this year and he is close to being closer worthy. His lack of a resume in the 9th inning makes him the odd man out for saves earlier in the year.