Grimm, Tepesch, Both, Or Neither?

Dating back to last season, the Rangers’ pitching rotation has been hit hard by a seemingly endless series of injuries.  Colby Lewis, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, Martin Perez and Alexi Ogando have all spent time on the disabled list, with all but Ogando’s a very lengthy stint.  As a result, the team has had to rely on a pair of lanky 24-year-old rookies: Justin Grimm and Nick Tepesch, who came into this season with a combined 14 innings of big league experience (all Grimm).
At the start of this year (literally on January 1), Jamey Newberg had neither Grimm nor Tepesch ranked among the Rangers’ Top 10 prospects — Grimm was 11th and Tepesch was 19th, which makes what these two rookie SPs have done so far in 2013 all the more remarkable.  As of this writing, Grimm and Tepesch have combined for eight wins, with the Rangers emerging victorious in 10 of their 18 starts.

In addition to providing the ballclub with desperately-needed solid starts (nine of which officially qualify as “quality starts”), both Grimm and Tepesch have gone from relative afterthoughts as prospects to increasing their potential trade value with each successful outing.  This latter point is particularly important, given recent developments.

The team’s (and MLB’s) top prospect, Jurickson Profar, is performing brilliantly during the extended playing time he’s receiving while Ian Kinsler is on the DL, which will likely make it that much harder for the Rangers’ brass to ever consider including him in a potential deal at the trade deadline.  But given the team’s continued need to bolster their bullpen and add another power bat to the outfield, a midseason trade seems imminent.

That being the case, the continued development of Grimm and Tepesch bring both into the discussion as increasingly important pieces in a potential trade.  Which means Jon Daniels and his staff will have to consider whether to keep or trade Grimm, keep or trade Tepesch, keep both, or trade both.  A closer look at their respective 2013 numbers doesn’t seem to make that decision any easier:

Grimm is 5-3 with a 3.93 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 7.52 K/9IP, and 0.5 WAR.

Tepesch is 3-4 with a 3.44 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 6.40 K/9IP, and 0.9 WAR.

Grimm has given up 5 HR to 6 for Tepesch.  Both have walked 14.

Grimm’s opposing hitters have a slash line of .287/.333/.417, compared to .258/.308/.387 for Tepesch.

There are a litany of other stats that could be placed under the microscope for further comparison, but the bottom line is Grimm and Tepesch are two very similar pitchers, in terms of performance to date.  Any differences between the two are pretty negligible at this point.  Several questions will have to be answered between now and July:

What will happen when the injured SPs reclaim their spots in the rotation?

If both Grimm and Tepesch continue to perform solidly, do the Rangers view them more as valued assets to keep or pieces to execute a major trade/trades?

Does the team decide to keep one and trade one, and if so, who do they keep and who do they trade?

Will that decision be based on which of the two generate more interest from other prospective trade partners?

There really are so many questions arising from this situation, but it’s ultimately a great situation for the Rangers to be in, because it gives them multiple options.  And it’s always better to have a lot of options than no options.  As a wise man once said many years ago, “It’s all about options, buddyyyyyyyy!”

So, if you were JD, what would you do?  Would you keep Grimm, trade Grimm, keep Tepesch, trade Tepesch, keep both, or trade both?

Bob Bland is a Staff Writer for ShutDownInning. He can be reached at or on Twitter @SDIBob.
Bob Bland

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