Tanner Scheppers was one of the league's best setup men in 2013 — a breakout season for the 27-year-old right-handed pitchers. Last spring, he tinkered with being a starter but was instead slotted into the key eighth inning role, and he owned it.
Now, he's trying to do the same thing with the starting rotation, as he's put together a fine spring so far and will make his final case to be in the Rangers' starting rotation when the Rangers face the Milwaukee Brewers today in Cactus League action. The Rangers hope to have roles determined for all of their pitchers by this weekend.
In three starts, Scheppers has a 3.12 ERA with just shy of a strikeout per inning. Granted, it's just spring training, but Scheppers' K rate has been something that has been brought into question as being a legitimate closer candidate, and would also be something to improve on as a starter.
The thought is that Scheppers will most likely start the season in the rotation while the Rangers wait for guys like Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis to get healthy, and further down the road Derek Holland. Then, he would be shifted back to the bullpen.