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Grading the Rangers pitchers, Part I

The 2016 season is over, so its time to issue final grades for the Rangers players

Oakland Athletics v Texas Rangers Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images

29 pitchers appeared in games for the Rangers in 2016. Well, 31 if you count Bryan Holaday and Jared Hoying, but I’m not.

I've opted to issue grades to these 29 pitchers. This is based on a combination of performance and expectations, and is ultimately subjective, and shouldn't be taken too seriously.

You can see Part I of the grades for the position players here.

You can see Part II of the grades for the position players here.

Dario Alvarez -- D

Alvarez was acquired from the Atlanta Braves in the deal that sent Travis Demeritte to Atlanta. Alvarez was supposed to be the second lefty in the pen, a job that Andrew Faulkner had at the start of the season but couldn’t hold on to. Instead, he wasn’t good, got demoted, and saw Alex Claudio claim the second lefty job.

Tony Barnette — A

Barnette signed out of Japan for a two year, $3.5M deal that has a 2018 team option. He put up a 2.09 ERA and a 3.38 FIP in 60.1 IP while being an anchor of stability for a bullpen that was a mess early in the year. For whatever reason, many fans seemed to never trust him — it may be a result of him having a bad first outing, or it may be that he just didn’t seem like what we think a big-time reliever should look like. So despite allowing 3 earned runs in his final 34.1 innings, there have been many skeptics on Barnette. But he was a huge part of this team’s success in 2016.

Matt Bush -- A

Kind of appropriate he is next to Barnette in this list. Like Barnette, he’d never pitched in the majors — he was in prison in 2015, was signed to a minor league deal without even an invite to major league spring training, and then turned heads on the back fields. He was sent to Frisco, dominated, was promoted early on, struggled a bit due to overuse, then excelled as Jeff Banister figured out the best way to utilize him. Bush was lights out, and could end up being the Rangers closer as soon as 2017.

Alex Claudio -- A

What I wrote about Barnette and Bush? Same thing here. Low expectations, but ended up being great, and a critical part of the bullpen. Claudio bounced up and down between the majors and AAA early in the season, fans moaned and groaned when he would be used and asked why he was even occupying a 40 man roster spot, much less a 25 man spot, and he put up a 2.79 ERA and a 2.97 FIP in 51.2 IP. Another unsung hero.

Yu Darvish — B

Came back from Tommy John surgery, put up a 3.41 ERA and a 3.09 FIP in 100.1 IP. Showed flashes of dominance while also showing signs of rust and recovery. I’m expecting big things from him in 2017.

Jake Diekman — B

A key cog in the Rangers bullpen for much of the season, Diekman saw command issues crop up late in the season that bedeviled him through September and into the playoffs. Of course, the whole reason Diekman was available for the price the Rangers acquired him at was because his command has been a problem throughout his career. Still a solid contributor to the pen, but the Rangers would really like to see early-season Diekman rather than September Diekman next year.

Sam Dyson -- A

Often scary but almost always got the job done...Dyson took over the closer’s role from Shawn Tolleson early in the season, and never relinquished it, despite having lesser pure “stuff” than several other guys in the pen. Dyson got lots of ground balls and handled a very heavy workload, and will likely be asked to do the same next year.

Andrew Faulkner — D

After taking a big step forward in 2015, Faulkner took a big step backwards in 2016. He made the Opening Day roster, but quickly fell out of the Jeff Banister Tree of Trust, and ended up spending most of the year in AAA. Faulkner only pitched 6.2 innings in the majors, but they were ugly, and he fanned just 1 batter against 4 walks and 3 home runs allowed. He showed improvement late in the season at Round Rock, and probably still has a future as a major league reliever, but did not perform this year.

Chi Chi Gonzalez — F

Let’s not talk about Chi Chi. It will just make me sad.