It's no secret that the Rangers don't really have a good bullpen. Besides Neftali Feliz occasionally closing out the game, the Bullpen is shot. You have RHP's Tanner Scheppers, Shawn Tolleson, Roman Mendez, Keone Kela & Anthony Bass, while the LHP's include Alex Claudio (Pictured above) & Sam Freeman. We can say that injuries killed our season, but honestly, it was our bullpen. Each one of these pitchers can be broken down & that's what I'm here to do now. Let's start with the minorities of the bullpen, LHP's.
Claudio came in to the Rangers bullpen late last season & delivered a funky way of pitching. He comes down at a full submarine-type motion. He has a mid-80's sinker, low-70's changeup & a mid-70's slider. He can be an effective pitcher, but he doesn't have good command of his pitches. He may need to spend some time in the minors to figure out what is going on. There aren't many submarine pitchers that can come to the majors and make it, but if he can, it can pay off.
Freeman was originally a St.Louis Cardinal in Spring Training, but towards the later days going into Opening Day, he was traded to the Texas Rangers, a team who lacked a left-handed reliever. At the age of 27, Freeman has a high-90's fastball, a mid-80's splitter & sometimes mixes in a low-80's Slider. The guy was called up this year for Texas because we didn't want our only left-handed reliever to be a side-arm pitcher. Freeman has some upside, but also has a downside, which is his control. If he can get the walks down, he should be efficient for the bullpen.
In 2012, Scheppers made his debut for the Rangers, the team who drafted him in the 1st Rd. of the 2009 draft. He showed promise in his first full year in the bullpen in 2013, sitting at a 6-2 record with a 1.88 ERA with 59 strikeouts. Tanner has had injuries in his last few years, especially last year. He was the Opening Day starter for the 2014 season & immediately went on the DL after that start. Since then, he hasn't been efficient. I'd give a solid repertoire for him, but he primarily relies on his fastball. It can hit 97, but it's inconsistent & too basic for a hitter to see. If Scheppers wants to stay in the majors, he's gonna need to add a few more pitches to fool hitters because the heater isn't working.
Tolleson, a former Dodger back in 2012-2013, is a great setup man. He has enough pitches with a mid-90's 4-seamer, low-80's changeup & mid-80's slider. The problem is he is too typical with his location. He has currently given up 7 ER out of the bullpen this season & it's just not good for him. If he can get better location, he'll have a better spot down the line.
Mendez debuted last year in September & looked great. Mendez comes on the mound with an exploding fastball, mid-80's slider, & a mid-80's changeup. He is only 24 years-old & he tends to give the hitters every pitch he has before walking them. He has 7 walks on the year & the fastball is where it starts for him. If he could control that on top of his breaking stuff, he could be a dangerous reliever out of the bullpen.
Kela made his major league debut this year with the club & shined against Oakland. Kela comes in with a high-90's fastball, mid-80's curveball & low-90's changeup. Kela does have his command issues, with occasional long balls hit off of him. He is still young & has a lot to develop, but he should develop soon to help the club.
Bass was a savior for Texas when Holland left the home opener. He was a decent pitcher for Texas, but when he moved to straight bullpen, he struggled. He gave up walks, homers, hits, errors, etc. He has a low-90's fastball, mid-80's slider & a rare mid-90's sinker. Bass is a long man, who is lucky to be in the majors because nobody else has the stamina to last the long innings. If one develops in the minors, it could be bye-bye Bass.
-Kyuji Fujikawa was designated for assignment before Sunday's game
-Rangers called up Ross Ohlendorf from Round Rock Express
-Ross Detwiler was placed on the 15-Day Disabled List with shoulder inflammation
-Josh Hamilton expects to be activated at the beginning of the Cleveland series next Monday, but don't be surprised if he's ready for the series in New York this Friday
By James Trietley