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Tanner Scheppers is prepping to start, but wants to close

Dec 18, 2013, 11:17 AM EDT

Tanner Scheppers Getty Getty Images

Texas has been very willing to shift pitchers back and forth between the rotation and bullpen in recent years, with both good and bad results, and Tanner Scheppers is the latest with his future role in flux.

Scheppers has spent this offseason building up arm strength to potentially join the rotation, although the Rangers have said he’ll most likely remain in the bullpen. If he does continue to relieve Scheppers has his eye on the closer role following Joe Nathan‘s departure as a free agent, telling Todd Willis of ESPN Dallas: “I would love to be a closer. That would be a dream come true.”

If you’re going to be a reliever you might as well be a closer, if only for the huge uptick in salary that comes with piling up saves instead of piling up holds (does anyone pay attention to holds?). As a setup man for Nathan this year Scheppers threw 77 innings with a 1.88 ERA and .214 opponents’ batting average. And no one outside of Texas really noticed, but if he did that same thing as a closer …

  1. kelshannon19 - Dec 18, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    Max Stassi remembers….

    or maybe he doesn’t.

  2. markofapro - Dec 18, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    He will be solid in the bullpen and Soria and Feliz are options, too. Good job by J. Daniels for building the pitching staff.

    • dylanthom2013 - Dec 18, 2013 at 6:58 PM

      Yeah Feliz-Soria-Scheppers-Cotts is a nice top-4, esp. if Feliz can get his 99-mph velocity back. Ross and Frasor are nice back-end guys, just maybe need one more dude. Maybe Kirkman since he’s out of options.

  3. mayorrobford - Dec 18, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    *Raises hand*
    I pay attention to Holds

    Of course that’s only because I’m in a legit Dynasty league

    • rollinghighwayblues - Dec 18, 2013 at 1:26 PM

      Let me guess, your favorite player is Arthur Rhodes?

      • mayorrobford - Dec 18, 2013 at 2:20 PM

        Last year it was Mark Melancon, guy racked up holds and a few saves on the cheap.

  4. tcb2nyc - Dec 18, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    He throws it hard, but very straight. Needs a little more movement, and he could be elite.

    Doesnt seem like a starter though.

  5. dylanthom2013 - Dec 18, 2013 at 6:56 PM

    He’s more of a groundball-type pitcher (1.63 GB/FB in ’13) than power pitchers usually are, and that’s why he was so effective last year despite not striking out a ton of guys. He knew TEX had a great infield D so he started using a slider last season year to induce grounders. He can still bring it at 99-mph but is maybe more judicious in using it than he was in his first year when just wanted to blow every hitter away.

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