In a season-ending countdown, we'll weigh in on the six most disappointing Rangers in what was arguably the most disappointing season in franchise history.
No. 5: Neal Cotts, LHP
2014 stats: 2-9 record, 4.32 ERA, 66 2/3 innings pitched, 63 strikeouts, 23 walks
Connecting you to your favorite North Texas sports teams as well as sports news around the globe.
There might not have been a better middle- to late-relief pitcher from the left side in all of baseball than Neal Cotts in 2013, and boy, what a story he was. Cotts hadn't pitched in the big leagues since 2009 thanks to numerous injuries and general ineffectiveness and was thought to be all but finished as a big-league pitcher.
Then, the Rangers took a no-risk chance on him in 2013 and he took the league by storm, much like he did way back in 2005 when he was a key piece in the Chicago White Sox's run to a World Series title. In 2013, Cotts put up a pristine 1.11 ERA, a career-best mark, to go with 65 strikeouts in 57 innings. He was so, so good, and it was so, so unexpected.
Just as unexpected perhaps was his 2014 season, when he never seemed to be able to find his good stuff again. He repeatedly gave up big hits in key situations and got hit hard by left-handed batters, giving up a batting average of .270 to lefties. Both sides of expressed interest in Cotts returning in 2015 as an arbitration eligible guy, and you'd have to think he'll be back as a lefty reliever — an always valuable piece to any team.
Previous entries: No. 6: Michael Choice