The Texas Rangers have made a few roster moves with some interesting pitchers in the minor league system that are worth taking note of...
First, lefthanded reliever Will Lamb was promoted to AA Frisco earlier this week. Lamb was the Rangers' 2nd round pick in the 2011 draft, a college two-way player out of Clemson who the Rangers converted to a full-time pitcher. Lamb struggled in his first two full professional seasons, putting up a 4.15 ERA in 108.1 innings, primarily as a starter, with Hickory in 2012, then putting up a 5.17 ERA in 69.2 innings, almost exclusively out of the bullpen, in 2013 with Myrtle Beach.
Lamb, 23, seems to have turned a corner this year, however, as he had 25 Ks against just 9 walks and 17 hits (no homers) in 18.2 innings with Myrtle Beach this year prior to his promotion, registering a 2.29 ERA. Lamb threw a scoreless inning on June 17 in his AA debut. From what I've read, Lamb's stuff has been better this season, and if he continues his success at Frisco, he could be a potential option as a lefthanded bullpen arm by next year.
Chad Bell, meanwhile, has been promoted from low-A Hickory to high-A Myrtle Beach. Bell, 25, was a 14th round draft pick out of Walters State Community College in 2009, and had put himself on the prospect map after a strong 2012 season that saw him put up a 3.48 ERA in 142.1 innings split between three levels, with the bulk of his innings being at Frisco and Round Rock. We probably would have seen Bell in the majors last season, given the Rangers' "all hands on deck" situation with its pitching staff, had Bell not been diagnosed with a torn UCL that required Tommy John surgery. Bell's first game in live action this season was at Round Rock, and he was shelled there, giving up 5 runs on 6 hits and a walk in 1/3 of an inning. After that, he was assigned to Hickory, and after six starts there, he's getting a bump up to high-A.
As Scott Lucas noted on Twitter, Hickory and Myrtle Beach are essentially rehab stints for Bell, as he works his way back from surgery. I'm guessing the goal will be for him to be pitching in Round Rock by season's end, and a strong finish to the season could have him in the mix for a job on the major league pitching staff next year.
Finally, the Rangers have released righthanded pitcher Daniel Bard. Bard was a reclamation project, a successful reliever who seemed to come down with Steve Blass Disease while with the BoSox, and who then was signed to a minor league deal in January by the Rangers after undergoing Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery. The hope was that the control problems that plagued Bard were the result of the TOS.
Unfortunately, that appears not to have been the case. Bard faced 18 hitters over 4 games while at Hickory, walked 9 of them hit 7 of them, and struck out 1. By allowing 13 runs in 2/3 of an inning, total, Bard ended up with a 175.50 ERA.