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First Half Grades -- Pitchers

Grading the Ranger pitchers over the first half of the 2013 season


Okay, I'm rolling out grades today for the Rangers pitchers in the first half. This is on a curve based on expectations...we expect more out of Yu Darvish than we do out of Nick Tepesch, so those higher expectations are going to influence the grade given.

With no further ado:

Alexi Ogando -- 55.1 IP, 2.93 ERA, 4.27 FIP, 4.58 xFIP. GRADE -- B

Alexi Ogando has been great while he's been on the mound in terms of run prevention, but he's only averaging 7 Ks per 9 while allowing 3.6 walks and 1 HR per 9. The low ERA is a product of a .256 BABIP and an 81.5% strand rate. If the FIP matched the ERA, I'd bump the grade up a little higher. If he had been healthy all year, I'd bump the grade up higher. As it is, a B seems fair.

Tanner Scheppers -- 44 IP, 1.84 ERA, 4.36 FIP, 4.35 xFIP. GRADE -- B+

Tanner Scheppers has an ERA that indicates he's been dominant out of the bullpen this year, rewarding those who predicted he had a future as a shutdown setup man or closer in the major leagues. The eye test says he's been dominant. But his K rate is a ridiculously low (for a reliever with his stuff) 5.9 K/9, leading to a FIP and xFIP that would suggest he's been barely replacement level out of the pen. He's not going to continue to put up a .223 BABIP or a 90+ LOB%, but I don't think he's going to have to do so to continue his success...I believe that the Ks will come. If I were grading just on ERA, I'd give him an A or an A+. If I were grading just on FIP I'd give him a D.

Joe Nathan -- 39.2 IP, 1.36 ERA, 2.43 FIP, 3.44 xFIP. GRADE -- A

I was worried earlier in the season in the decline in Nathan's stuff, which had me concerned that he was getting by with smoke and mirrors. However, the stuff has improved as the season has gone on, and he's been able to survive as a closer despite only getting ground balls approximately a quarter of the time. If his HR/FB rate goes back to the "normal" 10%, the second half could be worrisome, but for now, he's getting the job done.

Nick Tepesch -- 85.1 IP, 4.85 ERA, 4.12 FIP, 3.70 xFIP. Grade -- B

If you'd been told at the start of the season that Nick Tepesch would give you 85 innings in the first half with the above numbers, you'd have happily taken that. There's been some anti-Tepesch grousing of late, which I think stems in no small part from the fact that he spoiled us by being as good as he was early in the year, though the inability to handle a lineup the third time through the order is also an issue. In any case, he's been good enough to keep the Rangers in games while they've been dealing with a bunch of injured starting pitchers, and that's good enough for me at this point.

Justin Grimm -- 89 IP, 6.37 ERA, 4.80 FIP, 4.26 xFIP. Grade -- D

In 103 career major league innings, Justin Grimm has allowed a .360 BABIP -- his .347 BABIP this year is actually lower than last year's .438. When Grimm is on, his stuff is good enough for him to be a quality major league starter, but all too often, he leaves balls up in the zone and is way too hittable.

Colby Lewis -- No stats. Grade -- INC.

Come back, Colbyashi!

Yu Darvish -- 119.1 IP, 3.02 ERA, 3.22 FIP, 2.75 xFIP. Grade -- A-

Yu Darvish has been terrific this season. He's 7th in the A.L. in ERA, his peripherals are in line with his ERA, and he's leading the A.L. in strike outs. There was some carping that he wasn't giving the Rangers enough innings in his last few starts, and his HR rate has spiked this year, but overall, there's little to complain about. The only reason he's not getting an A is because I expect him to be great.

Neal Cotts -- 26.2 IP, 1.01 ERA, 2.16 FIP, 2.72 xFIP. Grade -- A+

When you get an ERA of 1 over a fair amount of innings from a guy who was an NRI and who hadn't pitched in the majors in several years, that's an A+. Cotts has been great, and he's not even a free agent after the season, so the Rangers are going to have the option of keeping him around next year, if they want.

Jason Frasor -- 26.1 IP, 2.73 ERA, 3.29 FIP, 3.08 xFIP. Grade -- B

Frasor started off the season poorly and quickly lost the trust of the fans and of Ron Washington. If you recall, there were suggestions back in April that Frasor should be the guy to lose his job when Joakim Soria came back, and there were folks questioning whether he should be cut loose so someone like Cory Burns could have a permanent job in the pen. The fact that he has fewer innings than Neal Cotts, who only joined the team in mid-May, is especially revealing. However, Frasor has quietly been doing his job well since the rough start, and it looks like he's worked his way back into the Ron Washington Tree of Trust.

Derek Lowe -- 13 IP, 9.00 ERA, 5.98 FIP, 4.28 xFIP. Grade -- F

I'd forgotten Derek Lowe was on this team.

Derek Holland -- 125.2 IP, 3.08 ERA, 2.87 FIP, 3.42 xFIP. Grade -- A+

Derek Holland's stock was probably at an all-time low last season, after he struggled much of the year, posted a 4.67 ERA, and was brought in futilely to pitch in relief in Games 162 and 163 last year. This year, however, Holland is 8th in the A.L. in ERA, hasn't missed a start, and has pitched like a legit #1. The fact that Yu Darvish has been great this season, and still may not have been the team's best starter so far this year, highlights what an outstanding first half of the year Holland has had.

Ross Wolf -- 33.2 IP, 2.14 ERA, 4.19 FIP, 4.62 xFIP. Grade -- A

Ross Wolf, a career journeyman with almost no major league experience, was dragged up from the minors for an emergency start, pitched well enough to stick around after that, has done whatever was asked of him by the team, and is now in the rotation to start the second half. This has been one of the great stories from the first half of the season for Texas.

Kyle McClellan -- 9.1 IP, 7.71 ERA, 7.13 FIP, 6.45 xFIP. Grade -- F

Kyle McClellan came into camp as an NRI, but supposedly had a roster spot pretty much locked up, with the question being whether he'd be in the rotation or in the bullpen. Then he was hurt this spring, spent time on the d.l., pitched in the minors a while, and then was awful when he was called up to the majors. He's back in the minors trying to get his arm strength back up, and could come back up later in the season, but at this point, he's been a flop.

Wilmer Font -- 1.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 7.56 FIP, 11.77 xFIP. Grade -- INC

Wilmer Font is a big man.

Matt Harrison -- 10.2 IP, 8.44 ERA, 5.22 FIP, 4.09 xFIP. Grade -- INC

Matt Harrison has been on the shelf most of the season after undergoing back surgery, and will likely not be back until late August. Harrison being out has been a crippling blow for this team, and I think its fair to say things would be looking much different right now, and we as Ranger fans would be feeling much better about the second half, if he had been healthy all year.

David Murphy -- 1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1.06 FIP, 2.46 xFIP. Grade -- A++++++

Remember when David Murphy pitched that inning? And he threw a knuckleball? That was awesome.

Cory Burns -- 8.2 IP, 2.08 ERA, 4.33 FIP, 6.59 xFIP. Grade -- INC

Cory Burns, Your Company's Computer Guy!

Robbie Ross -- 41.2 IP, 2.59 ERA, 3.40 FIP, 3.57 xFIP. Grade -- B

Robbie Ross's ERA by month: 0.75, 0.00, 4.40, 12.00. His FIP has actually been in the 2s every month except July, where he has a 12.39 FIP. In any case, Ross was great in the first half of the season last year, was ridden too hard, ran out of gas, and wasn't good in the second half of the season. With Ron Washington trusting very few members of his bullpen early in the year, Ross and Scheppers were ridden hard early, were great early, and have struggled of late. Hopefully, we're not seeing a repeat of last season from Ross.

Martin Perez -- 36 IP, 3.00 ERA, 4.67 FIP, 4.07 xFIP. Grade -- A-

Martin Perez has made 6 starts, is averaging 6 innings per start, and showing the stuff that had him heralded as one of the best pitching prospects in baseball not too long ago. Ron Washington is keeping him on a short leash, but he seems to have grabbed hold of a rotation spot that he's going to get to keep as long as he keeps this up. And a reminder...Perez is 22. He's three months younger than Orioles stud pitching prospect Kevin Gausman, and three months older than Mark Appel, the #1 overall pick in this year's draft.

Joakim Soria -- 3 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1.06 FIP, 2.93 xFIP. Grade -- INC

Its early, but Joakim Soria has looked great so far. He could be a huge piece for this year and beyond.

Josh Lindblom -- 31.1 IP, 5.46 ERA, 4.43 FIP, 4.56 xFIP. Grade -- B-

Josh Lindblom didn't make the team in the bullpen out of spring training, was converted to starting in the minors, and then has bounced between AAA and the majors as needed, pitching in both relief and as a spot starter. He's not been good, but he hasn't embarrassed himself, either. He looks like someone who could have a future in the Ranger pen as a middle reliever or a swing man.

Joe Ortiz -- 32.2 IP, 4.41 ERA, 4.50 FIP, 3.93 xFIP. Grade -- B

Joe Ortiz looked great out of the box. Then Ron Washington overused him, his stuff declined, he started getting hit hard, and he was sent back to the minors. He's got a good arm and will probably have a fifteen year career as a relief pitcher in the majors.

Michael Kirkman -- 22 IP, 8.18 ERA, 4.01 FIP, 4.49 xFIP. Grade -- F

Michael Kirkman, out of options this spring, got a lot of buzz for being one of the best pitchers in camp. Then he was awful, then he had a recurrence of cancer, and now he's on the disabled list.