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Grading the Rangers pitchers, Part II

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

Division Series - Toronto Blue Jays v Texas Rangers - Game One Photo by Ronald Martinez/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.

Today is Part II of the pitchers grades

You can see Part I of the grades for the pitchers here.

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.

A.J. Griffin — B

Difficult grade for me to assess here. On the one hand, he was a minor league free agent signed to a non-roster deal who made the Opening Day rotation and helped solidify things for the rotation early on when problems were cropping up, despite having missed the previous two seasons due to injuries. On the other hand, he spent time on the d.l. and wasn’t good at all in the latter part of the season, and ended up with a 5.07 ERA and a 5.74 FIP in 119 IP. I’m giving him a “B” as this year’s Wandy Rodriguez, the guy who helped provide stability in the rotation when they desperately needed it, though I can understand if you think that’s too high.

Cole Hamels — B

Another tough one. 3.32 ERA in 200.2 IP, was a Cy Young candidate until an awful final month of the season. But then, he did have that awful final month of the season (6.72 ERA in his final six regular season starts), was terrible in the ALDS, and had a 3.98 FIP on the year. I’m sure there will be howling over me giving him the same grade as Griffin, but price and expectations matter.

Lucas Harrell — C-

Acquired with Dario Alvarez in exchange for Travis Demeritte to provide rotation depth while the Rangers were running out of starting pitchers in July, Harrell made four starts, wasn’t particularly good, and then landed on the d.l. The Rangers will have to decide if they want to bring him back as rotation depth next year (he’s arbitration eligible), or cut bait.

Derek Holland — D

Another very disappointing season from Holland, who was healthy to start the year but had diminished stuff, then was hurt, and ended the season in the bullpen. He has an $11M option with a $1.5M buyout for 2017, and given the pitching market and the lack of options, I’ve been inclined to think that the Rangers would pick up the option, but given the continuing struggles and his regression, Texas may be ready to move on.

Luke Jackson — F

Jackson got a taste of the major leagues last season and looked poised to be a viable bullpen option in 2016. Instead, he wasn’t in good shape to start the spring, wasn’t good when given chances in the majors, and ended up not being even called up in September. He fanned just 3 of the 62 batters he faced this year in the majors, while allowing 4 home runs and walking 8, and put up a 10.80 ERA and a 9.15 FIP. One of the major disappointments of the season.

Jeremy Jeffress — C

Jeffress, acquired in the deal that brought Jonathan Lucroy to Texas, was okay — 2.70 ERA and a 3.67 FIP, despite walking as many as he struck out and throwing 3 wild pitches in 13.1 IP -- but its hard to give a good grade to a guy who has to check into rehab in the middle of a playoff race.

Keone Kela -- C-

Seen as a potential closer for 2016, Kela had a lost season, as he was bad early in the year, and then had surgery for a bone spur on his right elbow. The struggles were perhaps foreseeable — Kela was ridden hard in 2015, and was dealing with elbow issues at the end of 2015 — but its still disappointing to have someone who is this electrifying not be able to perform.

Phil Klein -- C

Pitched in 8 games, and then lost on waivers to the Phillies.

Jose Leclerc -- B+

Leclerc made his major league debut this year, and excited fans from the outset with incredible stuff. He also has awful command, however, and as a result, walked 13 in 15 IP, against 15 Ks. A 1.80 ERA, a 3.75 FIP, and an opportunity to get his feet wet is a positive debut season for Leclerc, and thus he gets a good grade, but there’s still work to be done.

Colby Lewis -- ___

I’m not worthy of grading Colby. Colby will be allowed to give himself his own grade.