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ZiPS: Seventh-Inning Relief

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Neal Cotts

    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: Seventh-inning relief pitchers

    Player: Neal Cotts, LHP; Joakim Soria, RHP

    Last year: Cotts: 1.11 ERA, 8-3 record, 57 innings, 65 strikeouts, 18 walks; Soria: 3.80 ERA, 1-0 record, 23 2/3 innings, 28 strikeouts, 14 walks

    2014 projections: Cotts: 3.23 ERA, 61 strikeouts, 21 walks, 53 innings

    Cotts was one of the best stories in baseball last season and was a strong candidate for AL Comeback Player of the Year after being one of the most dominant relievers in baseball after spending nearly four entire seasons out of the big leagues. He was equally dominant against lefties and righties and was incredibly reliable in just about every high-leverage situation you could imagine. It's hard to imagine him replicating last year's numbers, because they were so good, but it'd be pretty safe money to imagine Cotts being better than the projected numbers listed above.

    Soria: 3.76 ERA, 44 strikeouts, 14 walks, 40 2/3 innings

    Another comeback story, Soria's didn't go quite as swimmingly as Cotts'. But he was also coming back from his second Tommy John surgery and traditionally, that surgery gets best results two years removed, which would be this upcoming season — same goes for Neftali Feliz. Soria is a former all-star closer who could be a huge piece to the back end of the Rangers' bullpen, and could even compete for the closer's job if things don't go well for Feliz.