Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections are a good measure of what to expect from players in the upcoming baseball season. We'll take a look at the Rangers' projections on a position-by-position basis. Szymborski can be found on Twitter at @DSzymborski.
Today we'll look at the projections for the Rangers in the No. 4 starting pitcher role, which looks to be held down by Alexi Ogando, who will move from the bullpen to the rotation for the second time in three seasons.
Ogando:25 starts, 135 1/3 innings, 3.72 ERA, 7.78 K/9 IP, 117 strikeouts, 41 walks, 16 home runs allowed
The projections here seem to point to Ogando starting until Neftali Feliz is ready to return, and then Feliz will bump Ogando back to the pen. I don't see that happening this season. Remember, the last time Ogando started in 2011, he was thrust into the rotation just before spring training broke because Tommy Hunter injured his groin. He wasn't stretched out as a starter and hadn't prepared mentally to do so. Now, Ogando knows he's starting and will have all winter and all of spring training to prepare as a starter. In 2011, he made 29 starts and threw 169 innings with a 3.51 ERA, but was lights out before the all-star break before hitting an innings wall. Of course, he did make one start last season, a spot start on June 10 in San Francisco, when he was perfect through three innings before injuring his groin and going on the disabled list for more than a month.