One month from today. Thirty-one days. Pitchers and catchers report to Surprise, Arizona, on February 12.
The real surprise will be how many of these pitchers are able to bounce back from surgery. Between the five expected starters for Texas—Lance Lynn, Mike Minor, Edinson Volquez, Drew Smyly, and Shelby Miller—there have been six total Tommy John surgeries.
This year’s rotation is sponsored by the Arlington Joint & Ligament Clinic. The Rangers don’t need a trainer on staff, they need a surgeon.
It does all lead to one critical question: is this rotation better than last season’s, with Cole Hamels, Doug Fister, Matt Moore, Mike Minor, and Bartolo Colon?
Let’s look at what those pitchers did in 2018.
Cole Hamels: 9-12, 3.78ERA, 190.2 IP, 1.264 WHIP
Mike Minor: 12-8, 4.18ERA, 157.0 IP, 1.121 WHIP
Doug Fister: 1-7, 4.50ERA, 66 IP, 1.394 WHIP
Bartolo Colon: 7-12, 5.79ERA, 146.1 IP, 1.346 WHIP
Matt Moore: 3-8, 6.79ERA, 102.0 IP, 1.657
Here are the stats from each pitcher in 2019’s projected rotation during the last season in which they pitched. Two of the five didn’t pitch last season.
Mike Minor (2018): 12-8, 4.18ERA, 157.0 IP, 1.121 WHIP
Edinson Volquez (2017): 4-8, 4.19ERA, 92.1 IP, 1.419 WHIP
Lance Lynn (2018): 10-10, 4.77ERA, 156.2 IP, 1.526 WHIP
Drew Smyly (2016): 7-12, 4.88ERA, 175.1 IP, 1.272 WHIP
Shelby Miller (2018) 0-4, 10.69 ERA, 16.0 IP, 2.000 WHIP
It appears the Rangers rotation, the one that finished next to last in the American League in starter ERA in 2018, may be worse going into 2019.
In one month, they report to Surprise. Let’s hope they live up to the town’s name.