ZiPS Projections: Long Relief

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 Texas Rangers' long relief role, which at this point, seems to belong to Michael Kirkman, unless recent signee Kyle McClellan can win the job in spring training.

Kirkman: 94 2/3 innings, 5.23 ERA, 7.70 K/9 IP, 81 strikeouts, 58 walks, 12 home runs allowed

The Rangers have several young pitchers who will possibly be vying for the No. 5 starter role, and Kirkman could be one of those. But guys like Justin Grimm and Martin Perez, who each started a handful games in 2012 with mixed results, will more than likely factor in there. The Rangers seem to view those two as starters over Kirkman, who seems to be a guy that could settle into being a pretty darn good bullpen guy. The Rangers really had one of the best in recent years in the long-relief role in Scott Feldman who won countless games by coming in early after horrible outings from starters and keeping the Rangers in the game so their offense could come back and win it. He also made the occasional spot start and usually performed pretty well there. Now Kirkman will be the leading candidate to fill that role in 2013.

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