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Nick Tepesch, 2014 Texas Rangers
As we said on Wednesday, if Nick Tepesch had performed this spring the way he has in Round Rock this season, the Texas Rangers' pitching situation would likely look much different, as Tanner Scheppers might've very well started the season in the bullpen and stabilized that from the beginning of the season.
But instead, Tepesch was awful in the spring, compiling an 11.25 ERA in three spring starts and forcing the Rangers to send him to the minor leagues even though they really wanted him to earn a rotation spot like he did last season when he took the place of an Injured Martin Perez in spring training and won the fifth spot.
Now, he's taking the place of Perez again, but this time, it's going to be for a much longer time — possibly the entire season, as Perez might need Tommy John surgery.
Tepesch made his season debut on Wednesday in Houston in a key game for the Rangers' psyche and he did more than enough to get his team the victory before the bullpen eventually blew a lead and the Rangers were beaten in walk-off fashion.
Tepesch's pitch count got high, so he only lasted 5 1/3 innings on 104 pitches, but he was effective. He allowed a run just two hits and walked three with eight strikeouts. Granted, it was against the putrid Astros' lineup, but eight Ks in less than six innings of work is impressive, especially for a season debut.
Tepesch had a 6-1 record in Triple-A Round Rock with a sub-2.00 ERA, so the numbers were promising entering his Wednesday start in Houston. If he can perform anywhere near the way he did on Wednesday the majority of the time from now on, he'll be a big boost to a devastated Rangers' rotation.