Results tagged ‘ matt west ’
By Will Weinstock
Two weeks ago I wrote an article chronicling who I think will be in the field E-Train on opening day in 2013. Now I am taking my shot at trying to figure out which pitchers will be manning the five-man rotation and closing out the end of ballgames next season.
RHP Justin Grimm: Unquestionably, the 23-year-old out of the University of Georgia is having the best season of any pitcher in Rangers farm system. In 13 starts at Double-A Frisco he was 8-3 with a 1.87 ERA. Even more impressive is that in nine of his 13 starts he gave up one earned run or less. The Rangers brass thought so much of how well he was pitching that they called him up to the big leagues when injuries ravaged the pitching staff in Arlington. In his first start June 16 he went six innings and gave up three earned runs on six hits, struck out seven and walked none. Grimm makes his second start tonight against the Detroit Tigers. Once everyone is healthy he will most likely come down to Round Rock to finish out this season and start out 2013.
RHP Barret Loux: The Arizona Diamondbacks drafted Loux with the sixth pick in the 2010 draft. After taking a physical, the medical staff saw some red flags and did not want to take the risk signing him. Through a unique rule, the Rangers were able to sign him as a free agent and a first round talent fell in the Rangers lap. Loux has been absolutely dominant this season at Double-A Frisco posting an 11-1 record with a 3.87 ERA. Not only will Loux be in Round Rock to start next season, but don’t be surprised if he makes the jump to Triple-A before 2012 is over. Coming into the year MLB.com ranked Loux as the Rangers 17th best prospect and his strong play has positioned him to be considered one of the better pitching prospects in the system.
RHP Neil Ramirez: Coming into the year, no one would have been surprised if Ramirez was in Arlington at some point if he pitched well. However, that has not come close to happening yet. In his first 14 starts Ramirez posted an 8.02 ERA, opponents were hitting .285 against him and he had given up home runs in 10 straight games. Last Wednesday he seemed to turn the corner against the Cubs by working at a quicker pace. In that outing he only surrendered three earned runs on two hits and struck out a season-high eight batters. The strong start was not enough to save Ramirez from a demotion to Double-A Frisco two days later. The coming months will be important for Ramirez as he will need to make the necessary mechanical changes to get back to his form of last season (4-3, 3.63 ERA at Triple-A). One thing Ramirez still has going for him is he just turned 23-years-old.
RHP Jacob Brigham: On most Double-A rotations Brigham would be a star, but with Loux, Grimm, and Cody Buckel all having spent time in Frisco this season, he has been overlooked. The 24-year old is 3-4 with a 4.40 ERA in 15 starts with the RoughRiders. June has not been so kind to Brigham (1-2, 6.14 ERA in 5 starts) and it could push back an arrival to Round Rock in 2012. And Brigham might not be in the Rangers plans because of the amount of arms in front of him. Nevertheless he has the potential to pitch in the big leagues and will contribute to the Express in 2013.
LHP Chad Bell: Barring injuries the first four pitchers listed are locks to be in Express starting rotation to when the 2013 season kicks off. The last starter is truly anyone’s guess. I do not think the Rangers are going to rush 20-year-old stud Buckel (5-3, 1.31 ERA in 13 starts at Advanced-A) or push a struggling Tim Murphy (3-7, 6.51 ERA in 13 starts at Double-A). My best guess is recent promotion Chad Bell, who started the season as a reliever in Class A-Advanced Myrtle Beach and has now become a starter, gets the nod. In three minor league seasons Bell has never been a full time starter. He got his first start this season at Double-A Frisco May 19 and since then he has been 2-2 with a 3.89 in seven starts. It is a small sample size but if Bell can make the jump to facing Triple-A hitters, he will stick in Round Rock.
Closer: RHP Matt West: West has one of the more intriguing careers of any pitcher in the Rangers system. He was drafted in 2007 as a third baseman, but after four up and down seasons he was moved to the mound. He made such an impression after the transition that the Rangers put him on the 40-man roster. West has been compared most with Jason Motte, the closer for the St. Louis Cardinals, because he has a compact build and throws power stuff. The problem for West is his inability to stay healthy as he didn’t debut this season until June 17. He has only made three appearances above short-season but once he gets healthy, look for him to move quickly through the Rangers farm system.
Obviously in baseball anything can happen. Of course, trades, injuries, performance and free agent signings can change my projections at a moment’s notice. Throughout the season I will continue to give updates to the 2013 projections.