We continue our series where we issue grades and review the 2017 seasons for each Texas Rangers player, having started with the positional players and going in alphabetical order, and now moving on to the pitchers...
Dario Alvarez -- D
The “prize” of the trade that sent Travis Demeritte to Atlanta last summer, Alvarez bounced up and down between AAA and the majors this year before being designated for assignment in September.
Alvarez showed improvement in 2016 that prompted the Rangers to trade him, and has a slider that, when it is on, is a weapon. The hope was that, with Jake Diekman on the d.l. for much of the season, Alvarez would step up and join Alex Claudio as a viable lefty in the bullpen. Instead, Alvarez failed to throw strikes consistently, had Jeff Banister lose faith in him, and ended up getting dumped.
Alvarez’s ERA of 2.76 in 16.1 IP in 20 games is nice, but it belies a 4.63 FIP and 14 walks in limited action. Specialist relievers who can’t throw strikes are not long for major league bullpens. That said, lefties that throw hard and have quality sliders always get shots, so Alvarez will surface again somewhere.
If you are worried about the loss of Demeritte, incidentally, he put up a .231/.306/.402 slash line in AA with 134 Ks in 511 plate appearances. He’s a good defensive second baseman, but the Rangers didn’t part with a big time prospect to roll the dice on the failed Alvarez experiment.
Tony Barnette — D
One of the unsung heroes of the 2016 division winning Ranger team, Tony Barnette was a disappointment in 2017. He struggled mightily early on, righted the ship and was steady for much of the summer, then had bad outings again in September.
The 4.01 FIP in 57 IP wasn’t bad, but when he was struggling with his command, he was way too hittable, resulting in a 5.49 ERA. The Rangers hold a $4 million team option on Barnette for 2018, and at one point it looked like picking that up would be an easy decision. After the bad end to 2018, however, the Rangers may decline and look elsewhere for bullpen options for 2018.
Anthony Bass -- D
Did you remember that Anthony Bass pitched for the Rangers this year? Bass, who pitched 33 games in 2015 for the Rangers, pitched in Japan in 2016, had a strong spring training in 2017 after signing a minor league deal with Texas. Bass was called up in late April, had two rough outings in blowout losses, and got sent back to AAA, where he spent the rest of the year.
Bass showed an increased ability to miss bats in Round Rock compared to previous seasons, and as a minor league free agent, will probably get a look with somebody in 2018, maybe the Rangers, likely someone else. Bass was another of the guys the Rangers sifted through during the 2017, hoping to find a Ross Wolf or a Wandy Rodriguez.