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2022 in review: Kolby Allard

Kolby Allard, the Once and Future Brave

Oakland Athletics v Texas Rangers Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

With the 2022 regular season over, it is that time for us to go back and take a look at the players who appeared for the Texas Rangers this season.

Today, we look at reliever Kolby Allard.

Kolby Allard isn’t a Texas Ranger anymore. Acquired from the Atlanta Braves in 2019 at the trade deadline, in exchange for two months of reliever Chris Martin, Allard was sent back to the Braves three weeks ago, with the Rangers getting Jake Odorizzi and $10 million for him.

Three weeks? That’s all? It feels like it was a lot longer ago than that.

It is also kind of remarkable to me that the Rangers actually got Odorizzi and $10 million for Allard. I mean, Odorizzi is no great shakes — he’s probably the #5 starter to start the season, though could end up in a long man or swingman role — but still, Allard seemed destined for the waiver wire before the trade was announced.

Allard is a former first round pick by the Braves, and I imagine the familiarity played a role in the deal. Maybe the Braves think that they can get Allard straightened out, can fine-tune him a little and make him a functional major league pitcher. He’s got an option remaining, which helps from a roster flexibility standpoint, and he is still just 25, so he has that going for him.

But Allard’s stuff is marginal, and his command isn’t good enough to overcome that. Allard had a nice little run in 2019 with the Rangers after coming over from the Braves, resulting in a spot in the rotation in the COVID season. That was a disaster, as Allard tried to work around his marginal stuff by pitching on the edges, something his command wasn’t good enough to do successfully. As a result, he walked a lot of guys, which, combined with a lousy strand rate, left him with a 7.75 ERA, albeit with a 4.77 xERA.

The Rangers and Chris Woodward preached to the pitching staff the virtues of throwing strikes, and Allard embraced that philosophy. The results weren’t any better, though — while his walk rate dropped from 13.2% in 2020 to 5.8% in 2021, challenging batters and working in the zone more resulted in him getting hammered.

By 2022, Allard was clearly viewed as more of a depth option than anything else. He shuffled up and down between Arlington and Round Rock, being used in a long man/garbage man role when he was up, and not having much success. Once again, he kept his walk rate down — 6.9% in 2022 — and once again, batters pounded him. Allard allowed hitters to barrel him up at over twice the overall league rate, and when batters made contact, they had an expected wOBA of .442, resulting in nine home runs in 21 innings.

One thinks back to 2019, when the Rangers had Kolby Allard, Joe Palumbo, Taylor Hearn and Brock Burke — four young lefties who were near-major-league-ready. Palumbo was claimed on waivers after 2021, released by the San Francisco Giants in July, 2022, and hasn’t pitched since. Allard is with the Braves. Hearn and Burke have dealt with injury issues, but appear to have seized spots in the Rangers bullpen — at least for now.

Young pitchers, man.


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