ESPN's Dan Szymborski is a computer and stat guru, and we love getting a look at his projections. Here are his numbers for the 2014 Texas Rangers.
Position:Middle relief pitchers
Player:Robbie Ross, LHP; Michael Kirkman, LHP; Jason Frasor, RHP
Last year:Ross: 3.03 ERA, 4-2 record, 62 1/3 innings, 58 strikeouts, 19 walks; Kirkman: 8.18 ERA, 0-2 record, 22 innings, 25 strikeouts, 15 walks; Frasor: 2.57 ERA, 4-3 record, 49 innings, 48 strikeouts, 20 walks.
2014 projections:Ross: 3.60 ERA, 58 strikeouts, 21 walks, 65 innings
Ross is being stretched out as a starter, but I think everyone knows the chances of him cracking the rotation are very minimal. It's not because Ross would make a bad starter, but he's been such a huge part of the team's bullpen for the past two season despite being overworked. He's become one of the best lefty middle relievers in baseball, and after going through a couple of rough patches last year, seemed to find his groove again down the stretch. He has to work on getting lefties out again, as he struggled in that department last year, but he's done it before.
Kirkman: 5.30 ERA, 63 strikeouts, 46 walks, 71 1/3 innings
This experiment won't last too long if he falters again, but Kirkman will get one more chance with the Rangers mainly because he's out of minor-league options and can't be sent down without passing through waivers first. And Kirkman won't pass through waivers. Teams will always take a chance on a young lefty who throws in the mid-90s. It'd be great if he can discover himself with the Rangers, but it almost seems to be a lost cause.
Frasor: 3.83 ERA, 47 strikeouts, 19 walks, 44 2/3 innings
Frasor was a great addition last year, putting up near career numbers in his first season with the Rangers. It's hard to imagine he'll replicate those numbers but he seemed to get better and better as the year went on last year, and in more and more high leverage situations.