Former Ranger Pitchers in the Far East
You sometimes feel melancholy and spend a brief time thinking about former colleagues, ex’s, or friends you haven’t seen in a long time. The summer has gone and the fall has come. Leaves are falling off tree. It’s this time of year.
Baseball fans aren’t exempt. We sometimes think about former players who are long gone. Here, I checked in with 11 former Ranger hurlers who pitched in east Asia in 2015.
Without further ado, here are their current statuses:
The lizard-eating right-hander enjoyed a stellar first season in the NPB with the Yomiuri Giants, posting a superb 1.92 ERA, striking out 107, walking just 23, yielding a .205/.239/.288 opposing line in 145.0 innings in order to record a 2.48 FIP, good for the third-best mark among qualified Central League starters. Over the course of the season, he showed a noticeable improvement in his zone-hitting ability. According to the Japanese media, Mikolas is opted to head back to the major leagues this off-season, with several MLB clubs being after him. The Rangers are rumored to be front runners.
Sold to Yomiuri with Mikolas, the southpaw started 24 games in their rotation alongside the lizard eater. Poreda had respectable numbers in 2015 as he struck out 101, walked 46, gave up 133 hits, including six home runs in 147.0 innings. But don’t let his 2.94 ERA fool you. The Central League as a whole had a 3.24 ERA in 2015, which was one of the lowest offensive environments in recent league history. So Poreda’s numbers were only marginally better than average.
After logging just 1.2 innings in his brief stint with the Rangers, Fujikawa went back to Japan to pitch for an independent ball team named Fighting Dogs, which is surprisingly not owned by Michael Vick, in his native Kochi prefecture. Fujikawa started 6 games, logging 33 innings, gave up five runs, struck out 47 while walking only three, allowing one long ball to a miniscule 0.82 ERA.
The Mexican righty, in his second year with the Nippon Ham Fighters, had an adequate campaign where he started 24 games in the same rotation with future Rangers ace Shohei Otani. Even though he induced a tons of ground outs (a 47.6 GO rate) to a 3.58 ERA, he seriously lacked whiffs, striking out just 85 while walking a more than tolerable 62 batters in 145.2 innings. But his best moment in 2015 was probably becoming a dad when his first son was born in May.
In his injury-ridden second year with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars, the Venezuelan started just 11 game in addition to four relief appearances, recording a pedestrian 5.19 while punching out 54 and walking 27 in 60.2 innings.
A 19-year professional ball veteran who threw all 2.1 innings for the Rangers in 2005, the 36-year old hurler has spent last 6 seasons in the NPB. He has split time between the Hanshin Tigers and Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. This past season, Standridge pitched to contact, striking out 81, issuing 44 free passes, posting a 3.74 and a .275/.334/.396 opposing line while adopting a Japanese girl to his family.
Remember the tall right-hander who spent three years in the Rangers bullpen in the late 2000s? After his stint with the Rangers, Nippert signed with the Doosan Bears of the Korean Baseball Organization, where he’s spent last five years. The West Virginia native has seen his numbers worsened in each of the five seasons with Doosan, as his ERA has gone from 2.55 in 2011 to 5.10 in 2015 in which he suffered from a series injuries. His career may have come to and end.
The right-hander was acquired by the Rangers as a part of the return for Michael Young, before eventually shipped away to Oakland with Craig Gentry. After spending most of 2014 in AAA, Lindblom crossed the Pacific to pitch for the Lotte Giants. He put up a solid 3.56 ERA, surrendered 28 long balls, struck out 180 while walking 52 in 210. innings.
Germano was one of the six million players the Rangers used in the injury-plagued, disastrous 2014, where he threw 5.1 innings and coughed up an 11.81 ERA. After starting the season with the Mariners’ AAA club in 2015, Germano signed with the KT Wiz on July 1st, posting a 4.93, which was slightly worse than the league’s average, struck out 40 while walking 15 in 76.2 innings.
Irwin started one game for the Rangers in 2014 before inking a deal with KT, where he posted an abysmal 9.16 RA/9, means that he gave up more than nine runs per nine innings. The righty somehow logged 56 innings before being released on June 15, a couple of weeks before his former teammate Germano’s arrival to the team. Given these numbers, there’s no doubt why the Wiz went 53-91 in 2015.
Yet another member from the 2014 squad, the 29-year old southpaw tossed 177.1 innings, gave up 101 runs on 202 hits, including 23 four-baggers, yet managed a better-than-league-average 4.67 ERA while striking out 137 and walking 61.
Next time, I’ll take a look at position players.