By Michael Bier
SP – (ERA / *STRIKEOUTS)
(2013) RHP – Yu Darvish (2.83 / 277 K)
(2011) LHP – C.J. Wilson (2.94 / 206 K)
(2016) LHP – Cole Hamels (3.32 / 200 K)
(2012) LHP – Matt Harrison (3.29)
(2013) LHP – Derek Holland (3.42 / 189 K)
Believe it or not, this is the best possible rotation I could assemble from the past six years. Ever since the Rangers became contenders, the starting pitching has, and still remains, an issue. Not a single off-season or trading deadline has gone by where the Rangers weren’t in the market for starting pitching, and it’s evident here.
Yu Darvish easily ranks among the top five starting pitchers to ever play for the Rangers, and his 2013 season was no joke. Since Yu came to Texas in 2012, he’s (at most times) been a very effective pitcher, and his 2013 season will probably remain seen as one of his best. Darvish led the majors in strikeouts (277), H/9 (6.2), and K/9 (11.9) while posting an ERA of 2.83. Darvish was named to his second all star team in as many years, and finished second in AL Cy Young voting behind Max Scherzer.
Yu was traded at this years deadline to the Dodgers, and while it was a rather depressing transaction for Rangers fans, in my opinion, it was the right move. See you in the World Series Yu!
For more on Yu’s time with the Rangers, check out this piece written by fellow Drive member Brandon Fuller: https://thedriveonline.net/2017/08/11/yu-darvish-an-era-in-review/
C.J. Wilson converted from a closing pitcher to a starting pitcher at the beginning of the 2010 season, and doing so was vital to the Rangers success. In 2011, C.J. was the only Rangers pitcher to record over 200 strikeouts, and was the first Rangers starter to post a sub three ERA since Nolan Ryan did it back in 1991.
Following the 2011 season, Wilson signed a five year deal with the Angels worth over 75 million dollars, but decided to retire after the fourth year to pursue interests in racing.
Cole Hamels was acquired by the Rangers in 2015 from the Phillies for a plethora of highly regarded prospects. In his first full season with the Rangers, Hamels won 15 games, posted an ERA of 3.32, and struck out an even 200 batters. Hamels also earned his fourth career all star selection, making it his first with an American League club. Cole Hamels has done what you’d expect from him, and what’s been expected of him fits right into this rotation.
Matt Harrison’s 2012 season remains one of the most underrated yearly performances turned in by a Rangers starter in the history of the franchise. He didn’t necessarily have the most eye popping numbers, but his ability to be effective, and most importantly, a trustworthy pitcher was plenty good enough.
Harrison signed a five year extension worth $55 million dollars after the 2012 season, then got dealt to Philadelphia three years later as part of the Cole Hamels (and Jake Diekman) trade. Months later, he was released.
Derek Holland didn’t exactly leave the Rangers on the best of terms; but, in my opinion, he still goes down as one of the better Rangers starting pitchers over the past six years. If you were to ask Rangers fans what the one thing they remember most about Derek Holland during his time in Arlington, the answer will most likely be his start in game four of the 2011 World Series. Now that’s not at all a bad answer, after all, it was the best playoff start turned in by a Rangers starting pitcher. However, his 2013 season shouldn’t be overshadowed by that. Holland posted an ERA of 3.42, tossed two complete game shutouts, gave the Rangers 200+ innings, and struckout a total of 189 batters, which if you ask me, isn’t all too bad.
Holland currently plays for the White Sox, and at the time of this writing, holds the highest ERA in the majors at 6.28. Sorry Derek, I may have just praised you, but I hardly miss you.
HONORABLE MENTIONS – (ERA / *STRIKEOUTS)
(2010) Cliff Lee (3.98 / 96)
(2015) Yovani Gallardo (3.42 / 121)