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. 5 starting pitcher role, which looks to be up for grabs between several players heading into spring training, and Colby Lewis lurking for a summer return.
Robbie Ross (not projected here as a starter): 0 starts, 65 1/3 innings, 3.72 ERA, 6.34 K/9 IP, 46 strikeouts, 25 walks, 5 home runs allowed
Ross isn't projected here as a starter, but there's been talk he could be up for that fifth rotation spot in camp. He was a starter in the minors before making his arrival in the bigs last season and turning in a fine debut season as a middle reliever. Only problem, he's a rarity in the Rangers' bullpen as a lefty, so it'd be a tough call to move him. But it is a possibility.
Martin Perez (combined projections from the bigs and minors): 26 starts, 137 2/3 innings, 5.49 ERA, 4.71 K/9 IP, 72 strikeouts, 64 walks, 17 home runs allowed
Perez isn't ready to open the season in the rotation. It just doesn't seem to be the case. These projections are a bit concerning if you're a Rangers fan. You hate to see that K:walk ratio. It was clear last season that Perez needed more innings in the minors, and our feelings haven't changed on that. Could he factor in later in the season? Certainly, but he's not ready to be on the Opening Day roster.
Colby Lewis: 15 starts, 94 innings, 4.02 ERA, 7.85 K/9 IP, 82 strikeouts, 22 walks, 14 home runs allowed
This is the wild card for the Rangers. If Lewis can come back from his elbow surgery and be ready to roll, as hoped, in June, he could be a great addition to the rotation. If he's back to normal, he's way better than a No. 5 pitcher. And his experience in the postseason alone would be huge to add.