Monday Newsletter time: Taylor Hearn hasn't cracked Texas Rangers' 2022 rotation yet, but he's moving that way
The left-hander allowed two runs Sunday in a career-high 6 2/3 innings to help keep Houston from a three-game sweep.
August of 2021 is way too early for the Texas Rangers to be declaring anyone has earned a spot in their season-opening rotation for 2022 outside of right-hander Dane Dunning.
The Rangers could add via free agency. The top prospects could wow their way to the Opening Day rotation with strong showings at spring training. Dunning could give up baseball for E sports.
The biggest limb manager Chris Woodward was willing to step on Sunday afternoon regarding Taylor Hearn is that the left-hander will enter spring camp as a front-runner to a rotation spot.
Hearn continued his impressive season with a career-best effort, allowing two runs in 6 2/3 innings. It was the longest outing of his career, along with the most pitches (89), as he rolled to the first quality start of his career.
He opened with four perfect innings against the Houston Astros, and received ample run support in a 13-2 victory. Hearn, a starter in the minor leagues, wants to be a starter in the major leagues and looks to be up to the task.
“Taylor’s probably one of our biggest bright spots of the year,” Woodward said. “He feels like he belongs. He’s got confidence. He’s throwing the ball with a ton of conviction.
“There’s been a maturity to Taylor. He’s always wanted to start. He’s getting the opportunity. He goes out and pretty much dominates, like I’ve said many times, probably the best lineup in the American League.”
The Rangers acquired Hearn at the 2018 trade deadline from Pittsburgh along with infielder Sherten Apostle for the calm, cool and collected Keone Kela. There were many three years ago who believed the Rangers were swapping a reliever for a future reliever.
Hearn has blossomed this season after spending 2020 in the bullpen. He started in the bullpen this season, as well, but gradually has been built up and has learned that he needs to step on the gas from his first pitch.
He’s also in the process of adding a different slider, which he used in limiting the Astros to six hits. He’s also dialed in his control more, and on Sunday he didn’t allow any walks.
“I think it was huge just continuing to try to grow,” Hearn said. “When you face teams multiple times, they know what I’m going to do, so I can’t afford any mistakes. Just trying to be aggressive. That’s something I’ve learned in the big leagues.”
He’s on his way to being a big-league starter full time next season. At the very least, he’s a front-runner for the 2022 rotation.
Not to toot our own horn, but there was some good stuff over the weekend at the Texas Rangers Newsletter. Here’s a sampling, in case you missed it.
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