2015 Rotation Will See Battle of Nicks

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There is no question who the top two pitchers in the Texas Rangers' rotation are for the upcoming 2015 season. Yu Darvish is one of the game's few true aces, and Derek Holland looked to be returned to form in his brief stint in the bigs in September after he missed much of the season after knee surgery.

After that, the Rangers' rotation is all up in the air, even with the understanding they will look to add at least one quality starter via free agency or trade this winter with names like James Shields and Cole Hamels coming up as possibilities.

It also seems like a virtual lock that Colby Lewis will return to pitch for the Rangers in 2015, most likely on another one-year deal like the one he pitched on this past season. Lewis would seemingly fill the No. 4 spot in the rotation, or possibly the No. 5 depending on who else is brought in.

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A more likely candidate for the No. 5 starter job is a right-handed pitcher named Nick. Actually, there are two of those.

Nick Martinez came out of nowhere to earn a spot in the season-opening rotation and spend much of the year in the rotation with a small stint in the bullpen. All of that was despite the fact he had pitched in just five games above the Class-A level prior to 2014. He showed an uncanny ability to bounce back from awful starts and come back with fire, which can be scoffed at but is a great trait for a starting pitcher to have, especially a young, inexperienced one.

Then, there's Nick Tepesch, who was basically gifted a rotation spot out of spring training but performed so badly in Arizona he was sent to the minors after his initial breakthrough to the bigs in 2013. He excelled at Triple-A Round Rock for a couple of months and then found his way back to Arlington. He had a mixed bag of results, but ultimately, had a promising season.

Because of his experience, it would seem Tepesch is the more likely fit to be a part of the Rangers' season-opening rotation in April. It would serve Martinez well to go to the minors, where he really should've been for much of 2014 and pitch every fifth day at the Triple-A level while learning how to be a big-league starter.

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