Derek Holland and Mike Napoli hug after the Texas Rangers win Game 4 of the World Series.
With all the uproar over the Texas Rangers losing C.J. Wilson to the rival Los Angeles Angels at the Winter Meetings, and then the excitement over the Rangers winning the right to negotiate with Japanese star Yu Darvish, there are some questions to be answered about the Rangers' starting rotation heading into the 2012 season as the two-time defending American League champs.
At least one respected baseball analyst thinks the Rangers will be set up just fine when it comes to starting pitching though, assuming the Rangers end up signing Darvish.
ESPN's Buster Olney ranked his top rotations in baseball heading into the 2012 season and even though the Rangers lost their No. 1 from last year he has them ranked No. 6.
The column is an insider one, so you have to pay to read it, but here's what Olney had to say about the Rangers staff:
C.J. Wilson's contributions to the Texas rotation were very underrated, but so too are the pitchers who will now make the starts. Derek Holland, long seen as a talented and erratic lefty, appeared to grow before our eyes in October, his confidence exploding as he threw well against the Cardinals. Colby Lewis is the plow horse of the group, slow and steady, while Neftali Feliz faces an adjustment period as he goes back to starting and again utilizes all of his pitches. Matt Harrison had a 3.39 ERA and made 30 starts, and Alexi Ogando had dominant stuff. To this mix, the Rangers are adding Yu Darvish, who is projected to be anywhere from a No. 2 starter to, at worst, a No. 4 type of innings eater, because of the natural sink on his fastball. By the way: It's not a done deal that the Rangers will trade one of their six starters, because they know as well as anyone that teams almost never get through a season with just five guys.
There's still talk the Rangers could trade Harrison to bring in some more talent, and Holland clearly showed in the second half of last season and into the postseason that he has the stuff and the potential to become a true ace, something even Wilson wasn't.
The top 5 ahead of the Rangers? No. 5 Arizona Diamondbacks, No. 4 San Francisco Giants, No. 3 Los Angeles Angels and Wilson, No. 2 Tampa Bay Rays, No. 1 Philadelphia Phillies