by Eddie Middlebrook
This is part three of a four-part series building a 25-man roster of the greatest Rangers would look like. The starting lineup has been set as well as the bench so let’s look at the starting pitchers. Keep in mind, we are only looking at the years with Washington/Texas (Senators/Rangers career numbers in parentheses):
Nolan Ryan (1989-1993, 51-39, 3.43 ERA, 116 ERA+): Was there any doubt that the God of Texas baseball would be in this rotation? Ryan played his entire Rangers career after the age of 40. He was an All-Star in 1989 and also finished fifth in the Cy Young voting that season. Ryan’s Ranger tenure is highlighted by his sixth and seventh no-hitter as well as his 5,000th strikeout.
Yu Darvish (2012-, 39-25, 3.27 ERA, 128 ERA+): Darvish’s story is not yet finished, but his numbers don’t lie. He’s a three-time All-Star and finished second in Cy Young voting in 2013. That season he led the league in strikeouts (277), hits per nine innings (6.2) and strikeouts per nine (11.9). Darvish’s career 11.2 strikeout per 9 would easily be the best of all time if qualified (needs 454.2 more innings to qualify).
Ferguson Jenkins (1974-75, 1978-81, 93-72, 3.56 ERA, 106 ERA+): Hall of Famer Jenkins is our ace as he is responsible for the greatest season from a Rangers pitcher (1974). That season, Fergie went 25-12 with a 2.82 ERA. He finished second in the Cy Young and fifth in MVP voting. According to WAR, he’s third all-time among pitchers with the Rangers despite pitching 500 less innings than Kenny Rogers (2nd) and 900 less than Charlie Hough (1st).
Charlie Hough (1980-90, 139-123, 3.68 ERA, 111 ERA+): Hough is the Rangers winningest pitcher and also has the most innings pitched by a margin of 399 innings over Rogers. The durable knuckleballer pitched at least 182 innings in 10 of his 11 seasons. Hough also led the league in innings in 1987 with 285.1. From 1983-88, Hough’s ERA+ never dipped below 110 and was worth at least three wins. He made his lone All-Star appearance in 1986.
Gaylord Perry (1975-77, 1980, 48-43, 3.26 ERA, 118 ERA+): Perry is the third Hall of Fame pitcher in this rotation. He’s fifth on the All-Time WAR list (15.6 wins) among Texas pitchers despite pitching less innings than anyone else in the top 10 except for Darvish.
Who says the Rangers don’t have any pitching? This rotation features three Hall of Famers and two very talented others. What do you think of this rotation?
Eddie Middlebrook is a husband, father of three and saved by grace. Senior Writer for @ballparkbanter9. Formerly with @wfaasports, @shutdowninning and @FoxSportsSW. @IBWAA member. Eddie can be found on Twitter @emiddlebrook.