The Texas Rangers have done exactly what they said they'd do when they passed up the opportunity to bring in some of bigger-named free agents on the pitching market after Derek Holland's injury in January that will have him out until at least the all-star break. They've gone out and instead signed some spare piece veterans with hopes they can hold the rope until guys get healthy.
The two main guys the Rangers have brought in to compete for rotation spots are Joe Saunders and Tommy Hanson, as well as incredible long shot Jose Contreras, who's in his early 40s but still attempting to be a big-leaguer. But one name many people seem to have forgotten about lately is Nick Tepesch.
Tepesch was phenomenal for a never-before-heard-of rookie last season in April before his numbers started tailing off with every subsequent month until he missed all of July with injury and never was able to work his way back. After winning the rotation spot thanks to a Martin Perez injury last year, he went 2-1 in April with a 2.51 ERA, but the numbers dropped off dramatically — like off a cliff.
“He did a great job, especially in the American League,” catcher Geovany Soto told the Star-Telegram. “He behaved like a true veteran out there. He kept his composure, dealt with adversity and whenever he was getting in a tough time, he kept his cool. That’s good to see from a young guy.”
Tepesch has worked on developing another pitch — a changeup — to help him navigate his way through lineups deeper into games. Last season, he excelled the first and second time through, but then, like clockwork, would hit a wall the third time through the lineup — a big problem for a starter.
So far this spring, Tepesch has given up three runs on 10 hits in five innings — not exactly stellar. But Hanson and Saunders haven't been outstanding either, and with Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis likely starting the season on the disabled list or in the minors, Tepesch could be in the rotation when the season begins.