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The Rangers Roster Breakdown: The Bullpen Part 1

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Looking at the pieces of the 2019 Rangers pen

Texas Rangers v San Francisco Giants Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

The Rangers have a lot of players that will be in, or who could be in, the bullpen, so I’ve split this breakdown into two parts.

If you missed it, I broke down their starting rotation here.

BULLPEN

THE ACE

Jose Leclerc- RHP- Closer

New manager Chris Woodward named Leclerc the closer last month. Probably the most expected position for him considering he took over the role for the last two months of 2018 from Keone Kela after he was traded to the Pirates. He went 12-for-12 in save opportunities and didn’t allow a single run in those 18 innings.

With such a dominant last two months, he’s emerging as one of the most dominant relievers in the the league. MLB network ranked him 9th in their top 10 relief pitchers.

His overall stats for last season were 2-3 record with a 1.56 ERA and 0.85 WHIP in 57.2 innings, 59 games.

2018 ERA: 1.56
2018 FIP: 1.90
2018 K/9: 13.27

ZiPS Projected 2019 ERA: 3.13
ZiPS Projected 2019 FIP: 3.07
ZiPS Projected 2019 k/9: 12.08

Injury Report:
2017: Missed 25 days for bruised right index finger

VETERAN RIGHTIES

Jesse Chavez- RHP

Chavez started last season with the Rangers before he was traded to the Chicago Cubs. In his first 30 games of 2018 (games with the Rangers) he went 3-1 with a 3.51 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. His last 32 games of 2018 (games with the Cubs) we went 2-1 with a 1.15 ERA and a 0.79 WHIP.

Chavez signed a 2-year deal with the Rangers in November.

2018 ERA: 2.55
2018 FIP: 3.54
2018 K/9: 8.69

ZiPS Projected 2019 ERA: 3.99
ZiPS Projected 2019 FIP: 3.98
ZiPS Projected 2019 k/9: 8.33

Injury Report:
2015: Missed 19 days for fractured rib

Shawn Kelley- RHP

Kelley played for the Washington Nationals for 35 games last season before being traded to the Oakland A’s. In his time with the Nationals in 2018, he went 1-0 with a 3.34 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP.

Kelley was designated for Assignment by the Nationals on August 1, the day after throwing his glove in disgust upon giving up a two-run home run (a game in which they were leading 25-2.)

On August 5, he was traded to Oakland.

In 19 games with Oakland he went 1-0 with a 2.16 ERA and 0.78 WHIP.

2018 ERA: 2.94
2018 FIP: 3.71
2018 K/9: 9.18

ZiPS Projected 2019 ERA: 4.61
ZiPS Projected 2019 FIP: I was unable to find this
Projected 2019 k/9: 9.44 (this is my calculation based on projection stats)

Injury Report:
2014: Missed 29 days for strained lumbar spine
2015: Missed 14 days for strained left calf
2017: Missed total of 72 days for strained lower back; right trapezius strain; bone chips in right elbow
2018: Missed 14 days for ulnar nerve irritation in right arm

Chris Martin- RHP

Last season Martin went 1-5 in 46 games for the Rangers with a 1.22 WHIP in 41.2 innings.

It’ll be crucial for him to stay healthy, which really goes for all the Rangers’ pitchers but mostly for Martin considering last season he made three different trips to the injured list.

2018 ERA: 4.54
2018 FIP: 3.52
2018 K/9: 7.99

ZiPS Projected 2019 ERA: 3.74
ZiPS Projected 2019 FIP: 3.63
ZiPS Projected 2019 k/9: 7.27

Injury Report:
2015: Missed 22 days for right elbow tendinitis
2018: Missed total of 54 days for right forearm irritation; strained right calf; strained left groin

Zach McAllister- RHP

McAllister started the 2018 season with the Cleveland Indians, pitching in 41 games with a 4.97 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP in 41.2 innings pitched before being designated and released and then signing with Detroit as a free agent.

He was with Detroit for eight days before being designated for assignment, clearing waivers, and electing free agency. He went 0-0 with a 21.60 ERA and 3.00 WHIP with Detroit in three games and 3.1 innings.

He then signed a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers where he pitched in five games for their Triple a affiliate. In his six innings, he had a 9.00 ERA and a 2.25 FIP.

He signed a one-year contract with the Rangers in January.

2018 ERA: 6.20
2018 FIP: 3.52
2018 K/9: 7.80

ZiPS Projected 2019 ERA: 3.79
ZiPS Projected 2019 FIP: 3.83
ZiPS Projected 2019 k/9: 8.89

Injury Report:
2014: Missed 27 days strained lower back
2016: Missed 22 days right hip injury

ONLY ONE WILL STAY… maybe

Connor Sadzeck- RHP

Sadzeck made his big league debut last season, pitching in 13 games and made two “starts” (he was an opener). He went 0-0 with a 0.96 ERA in 9.1 innings pitched.

Before being called up, he played 35 games in the minors, making two starts last season. Going 5-3 with a 3.61 ERA in 42.3 innings pitched

Sadzeck is out of options, so he can’t be sent down without clearing waivers. Thus, it’s possible the Rangers will opt to keep either Sadzeck or Rule 5 pick Jordan Romano, but not both.

2018 Major League ERA: 0.69
2018 Major league FIP: 5.52
2018 Major league K/9: 6.75

ZiPS Projected 2019 ERA: 4.74
ZiPS Projected 2019 FIP: 3.63
ZiPS Projected 2019 k/9: 8.57

Injury report:
2014: Tommy John surgery
2018: Round Rock had him on 7-day injured list, did some rehab in Arizona

Jordan Romano- RHP

The Rangers acquired the 25-year-old Canadian this offseason, and should the Rangers keep him, he’ll make his major league debut this season. He was drafted by Chicago White Sox from Toronto in the Rule 5 draft and immediately traded to the Rangers for cash.

Romano spent all of 2017 in the Blue Jays Advanced-A Florida State League.

He started the 2018 season with the Blue Jays AA, on May 6 he pitched six no-hit innings against the Rockies AA, the Hartford Yard Goats, and became the first pitcher in the minors with seven wins. After initally going 8-0 with a 2.00 ERA, he was promoted to AAA... for one game. He pitched five innings and gave up two runs of four hits and four walks, got the win, and then was sent back to AA.

Overall in AA, he went 11-8 in 25 starts and 137.1 innings.

2018 Double A Minor League ERA: 4.13
2018 Double A Minor league FIP: 3.98
2018 Double A Minor league K/9: 8.19

ZiPS Projected 2019 ERA: 5.38
ZiPS Projected 2019 FIP: 5.44
ZiPS Projected 2019 k/9: 6.88

Injury Report:
2018: Double A- 7-day injured list at the end of August
2016: 7-day injured list in July and again in August
2015: Spring Training 2015, tore ulnar collateral ligament, Tommy John surgery, missed entire season into June of 2016

Look out for part two early next week, looking at the young lefties and the pitchers returning from injury!