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Grading the 2017 Texas Rangers players, Part XVI

Taking a look at the performances of the 2017 Texas Rangers players

Detroit Tigers v Texas Rangers Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

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...

Nick Martinez — C

It was a very Nick Martinez season from Nick Martinez this year — up and down between AAA and the majors, 18 starts and 5 relief appearances in the majors, roughly replacement level performance. Martinez ended up with a 5.66 ERA and a 5.80 FIP in 111.1 innings pitched for the year, which was good for a 0.3 bWAR and a 0.0 fWAR.

Martinez has been a useful swingman for the past several years, shuttling back and forth between Round Rock and Texas as needed, and generally providing the Rangers with flexibility, if not excellence. For all the carping about Martinez, he’s the type of pitcher that organizations need, and as an 18th round pick in 2011 who was converted after being drafted from being a second baseman to pitching, and who has logged three years of service time and 400+ innings, even as a replacement level player, that’s a player development success story.

That said, with Martinez being out of options and arbitration-eligible this season, the Rangers may be to where they will have to move on from the 27 year old. Martinez is looking at as much as $2 million through the arbitration process, and his being out of options means that the Rangers will have a harder time shuffling him up and down. His time with the Rangers may end up being up, but if so, he’s been a nice story and a useful player for the team.

Yohander Mendez — C

Yohander Mendez got a cup of coffee in September of 2016, and the hope was that he would show enough progress in the minors this year that he would be viable rotation depth. Instead, Mendez was shaky in the minors, especially early in the season, though he improved in the second half and made it back to the big leagues when rosters expanded.

The numbers weren’t great for Mendez in his brief time up this year — 5.11 ERA and 6.16 FIP in 12.1 IP — and he will be on his final option in 2018, which means the Rangers will have a decision to make on him before too long. The changeup is a really good pitch, though, and it sounds like his fastball command, and how it progresses, will determine whether he is a back-end rotation option going forward, or if he will end up being a second bullpen lefty.

Martin Perez — B-

Geez. Martin Perez. We’ve spilled a lot of digital ink over him the last year or two.

On the plus side, he’s a 26 year old lefty who has had two straight years of being worth around 2 WAR while making every start, and he’s cheap ($4.4 million in 2017, $6 million in 2018 per the option that has been picked up, and $7.5 million and $9 million options for the following two years). There’s also flashes of the stuff that has folks thinking he can still take another step forward.

On the down side, he’s inconsistent, he is prone to meltdown innings, and he’s a league average innings eater on a team that really needs him to be a #2 or a #3. The frustrations with Perez stem a lot from a belief that he should be better than he is, as well as a reaction to what comes across as his periodic inability to maintain his composure.

Martin Perez may never be any better than what he is right now, but if that’s the case, then that’s okay -- even at his $9 million team option for 2020, he’s well worth the money he’s going to get paid. And he’s the type of piece that winning teams need.