Forget the end of season mini-collapse by the 2012 Texas Rangers who were overtaken by the upstart Oakland A’s, and forget the one-game playoff loss to the surprise Baltimore Orioles. The 2013 Texas Rangers may be even better, and their starting rotation has the makings of one of the best.
The first three men in the Rangers’ rotation–Matt Harrison, Yu Darvish, and Derek Holland–all boasted double-digit wins and triple-digit strikeouts in 2012. Any of those three could be at least a number two, if not number one starter on any MLB team. Right now the fourth slot is looking like it will be handed to Alexi Ogando, who worked a a reliever and had an impressive 66 strikeouts in 66 innings pitched and a WHIP of just 1.00 during the 2012 season.
The wild card that manager Ron Washington could have in this rotation is left-handed prospect Martin Perez.
Perez, who was projected to originally be one of the starting pitchers, has fallen out of that race of late after being struck in the left arm by a line drive, suffering a fractured ulna. The No.6 prospect in the Rangers’ organization, Perez made six starts for the big club last year after going 7-6 with 4.25 ERA and 69 strikeouts while in Triple-A.
Perez has good stuff, but has struggled with control and pitch selection against major league hitters, as is often the case with young prospects. Beyond that, the Rangers were excited to have Perez secure the fifth spot in the rotation. He’ll now have to go four weeks without throwing the ball, and then several more weeks of rehabilitation before he’s game ready.
By the time mid-June rolls around, look for Perez to make an appearance as a spot starter. If all goes well, he’ll be worked into the regular rotation. If the young prospect can pitch as well or better than last season, the Rangers’ starting rotation will be tough to beat on any given night.