Texas Rangers RHP Justin Grimm | XL Sports Blog

Rangers Hope Rookie Pitchers Up to Challenge

Posted on 31. May, 2013 by in MLB

While the ballclub has gotten off to a solid start in 2013, fans with Texas Rangers tickets have to wonder when the injuries are going to stop, as a number of players have already missed significant time. Fortunately, the Rangers have also had several new faces make big contributions in the first two months of the season. Rookie starting pitchers Nick Tepesch and Justin Grimm have performed well for the team since the start of the season, while Martin Perez made his first start of the season this past week. With the recent news that Colby Lewis’ return is now in jeopardy due to soreness behind his surgically-reconstructed elbow, the need for the rookies to pitch well is even more apparent. Matt Harrison, who continues to recover from early-season back surgery, is not expected back for at least a couple months, and no one really knows whether or not he is going to be able to pitch at a high level for the ballclub this season. Even Alexi Ogando has had a stint on the DL, though he is expected back soon. With so much uncertainty in the pitching staff, Texas is going to need more of the same from their young pitchers.

Tepesch was the surprising winner of the No. 5 starter spot coming out of spring training, and in general has been very impressive in his first big league campaign. While he doesn’t have overpowering stuff, he has a good two-seam fastball that allows him to induce a lot of ground balls, and he also mixes in a curveball, slider and change-up. As long as Tepesch keeps the ball down in the zone, he gives the Rangers a chance to compete. Grimm, who was called up when Harrison went on the DL, also got off to a hot start and won American League Rookie of the Month in April, posting a 2-0 record with a 1.59 ERA. While he has cooled off considerably since then, he has still done better than most could have hoped after a less than stellar cameo appearance for the club last season. He’s not quite as adept at inducing ground balls as Tepesch, but he does have a little more velocity on his fastball, allowing him to rack up strikeouts at a better clip. Grimm also has a good curveball that he mixes in as well.  Perez comes with the most fanfare, as he has been one of the Rangers’ top prospects for the last several years. However, after breaking a bone in his pitching wrist in spring training, Perez’s 2013 debut was delayed considerably. He pitched in his first game for the Rangers this past week against the Diamondbacks, and struggled with his location. However, the talent is evident impressive velocity for a lefty and a knock-out changeup. Expect Perez to continue to improve as he becomes more comfortable at the major league level.

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