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 will be veteran Colby Lewis, who regained his form over the second half of the season after unprecedented hip surgery in 2013.
Lewis: 18 starts, 101 innings, 5.08 ERA, 6.86 K/9 IP, 77 strikeouts, 29 walks, 16 home runs allowed
Well, these are far from ideal. If Lewis puts up numbers like this, the Rangers could be in for a long summer awaiting the return of Martin Perez, who might not even be at top form this year after Tommy John surgery.
Let's choose to believe the other way and think Lewis will build on his second half from 2014 and put together a productive 2015 while staying healthy along the way. Lewis led the Rangers with 170 1/3 innings last year after hip resurfacing surgery that forced him to finally learn how to pitch with full range of motion and without chronic pain.
It took a while for Lewis to figure out, but once he did, he settled into a guy that could easily be a very good No. 4 starter in the bigs. Lewis went 10-14 with a 5.18 ERA on the season, but if you break his season into halves and look only at the second half, Lewis was a completely different pitcher.
In fact, from the all-star break on, Lewis was 4-8 with a 3.86 ERA in 13 starts in which he threw 86 1/3 innings. If the Rangers can get that version of Lewis as a No. 4 pitcher, they'll be in good shape.