Texas Rangers

These pitchers in the minors should, could, may not get second-half look with Rangers

Jurado impresses Rangers, Clase wows Indians

Ariel Jurado allowed two runs in seven innings Wednesday for the Texas Rangers, and Emmanuel Clase followed with a scoreless eighth inning in a 2-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians.
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Ariel Jurado allowed two runs in seven innings Wednesday for the Texas Rangers, and Emmanuel Clase followed with a scoreless eighth inning in a 2-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians.

Kolby Allard joined Triple A Nashville a week ago, two days after he was traded to the Texas Rangers by the Atlanta Braves.

He was in Gwinnett, Ga., home of the Braves’ Triple A team, and Nashville was home, so he packed up his car and headed northwest. Allard made his debut in the Rangers organization Saturday, tossing five scoreless innings.

Allard is set for his Rangers debut Friday, and he was scheduled to join the club Thursday in Milwaukee on an off day before the three-game series against the Brewers.

That’s nine busy days for the left-hander, who turns 22 on Tuesday. A former first-round pick, Allard anticipated that he would get a chance to pitch for the Rangers, though maybe not this quickly.

But he is a piece of the Rangers’ plan for the rest of the season. They need to see young starting pitchers, as they are doing with Ariel Jurado and Pedro Payano, and Allard won’t be the last pitcher called up from the minors to get a crack at MLB hitters.

Probable

Joe Palumbo: He might have beaten Allard to the Rangers’ rotation this month if not for an injured left ankle that took him off the mound last month. The lefty is throwing again for Nashville, though he tossed only 2 2/3 innings Sunday in his first appearance off the injured list. Manager Chris Woodward didn’t guarantee anything, but strongly suggested Palumbo, who has been with the Rangers a few times this season, will be called up as soon as his arm strength is built up again.

Brock Burke: Another left-hander on the 40-man roster, Burke was recently promoted to Nashville from Double A Frisco in what could be a last test before joining the Rangers. Woodward has said that he wants to see Burke, who impressed in spring training but has been slowed by a blister and shoulder fatigue. The prize of the Jurickson Profar trade, Burke could be making his MLB debut this season.

Joe Barlow: He isn’t a starter, but is considered a future long-term bullpen piece along with Emmanuel Clase and Demarcus Evans. Barlow was moved to Nashville last month, a move that seemed like a precursor to a big-league promotion. Clase beat him the Rangers as part of the roster overall last week, but Barlow should be coming up before season’s end. He is one of several prospects who must be added to the 40-man roster by mid-November to avoid exposure to the Rule 5 draft. It makes sense to do it sooner rather than later.

Questionable

Yohander Mendez: Yes, Mendez is still in the organization and still has a minor-league option. He injured his elbow during spring training and just this week was able to pitch two innings for Frisco. Mendez has been given multiple opportunities by the Rangers, so they might know what they’re getting. He’s also on the 60-day injured list, and getting him on the 40-man roster could present a problem. If he is promoted, don’t expect him before rosters expand Sept. 1.

Luke Farrell: Is there any doubt Farrell would have already pitched for the Rangers this season if not for a line drive to the jaw in spring training? The right-hander has MLB experience, which is more than Payano or Palumbo could say at the start of the season. Farrell has slowly worked his way back and has joined Mendez at Frisco on rehab assignment. Farrell faces the same obstacle, the 40-man crunch, but the Rangers don’t know nearly as much about him as Mendez.

Demarcus Evans: The third member of the next wave of relievers, along with Clase and Barlow, Evans has been nearly as effective at Frisco as he was at High A Down East to start the season. He just worked on consecutive days for the first time this season. Evans doesn’t have the same velocity as Clase and Barlow, though his is nothing to sneeze at, but his over-the-top curveball might be a better secondary pitch than the other two offer. His command just isn’t quite as sharp. Like Barlow, Evans needs a spot on the 40-man roster. This one could go either way.

Doubtful

Jonathan Hernandez: The clock is ticking on Hernandez, who joined the 40-man roster after the 2017 season but has struggled the past 1 1/2 seasons at Frisco. This righty throws hard, but at times hasn’t hit the strike zone. He has shown flashes of the promise that made him a top-10 prospect, but the Rangers have also recently experimented with him as a multi-inning reliever. He hasn’t been good enough to deserve a big-league promotion.

Tyler Phillips: The reigning Rangers Minor League Pitcher of the Year picked up where he left off, showing dominating form at Down East. But Double A has been a challenge for Phillips, a control artist who is being forced to make adjustments against a more advanced batch of hitters. He did that over seven innings Wednesday night. Phillips is a candidate to be added to the 40-man roster before to avoid Rule 5 exposure. It just might not happen during the season.

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After 11 seasons covering the Rangers for the Star-Telegram, Jeff Wilson knows that baseball is a 24/7/365 business and there is far more to baseball than just the 162 games each season. There’s also more to Jeff -- like a family and impressive arsenals of Titleist hats and adidas shoes -- but sometimes it’s hard to tell.
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