Despite being being swept in a three game series in Oakland to start a road trip, the Texas Rangers can still feel good about their 12-11 start. Good feelings aside, the starting pitching situation has been less than idea with a slow start by Shelby Miller and injuries taking away Edinson Volquez likely for the season and Drew Smyly for the short-term.
Texas felt the injury woes strongly on Wednesday afternoon when they utilized a “bullpen game” to take on the Athletics in the series finale. Manager Chris Woodward gave the ball to four bullpen pitchers to get through the 6-5 loss. Who knows if the following decision was already made prior to the bullpen’s grinding day.
Rangers are taking a bit of time before opening clubhouse post game. I would guess this is because announcement of a move is coming. My guess: Hearn Up, Huang out
— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) April 24, 2019
That’s right; the Rangers are calling up 24-year-old prospect and DFW native Taylor Hearn to start on Thursday night in Seattle. Hearn was acquired in last summer’s Keone Kela trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates and finished last year with AA Frisco and started 2019 in AAA Nashville after spending time in big league camp with the Rangers. Hearn has had a solid start to the season with a 4.20 ERA and 26 strikeouts through 20 innings across four starts.
Below is an article from last August whenever Taylor Hearn shared some thoughts with Dallas Sports Fanatic via Twitter.
The July 31st non-waiver trade deadline saw a lot of major leaguers leave the Texas Rangers organization, but even more minor league prospects came in. One of the exciting new additions was 23 year-old left-handed pitcher Taylor Hearn. Upon request from Dallas Sports Fanatic, Hearn was kind enough to share his thoughts on a few topics.
Hearn was the highest rated prospect the Rangers received in any trade last month. He was acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in the deal that sent closer Keone Kela back to the Bucs. It varied upon which list you read, but most sites had Taylor Hearn as one of the top ten prospects in the Pirates’ system.
There are a lot of reasons to be excited about the potential of Hearn as a player for a team that is starving for quality starting pitching as much as the Rangers, but there’s even more to like about the young lefty as an individual since he’s one of our own: a DFW native.
A graduate of Royse City High School east of Dallas, Hearn went on to pitch at San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas and then Oklahoma Baptist University just east of Oklahoma City. Now pitching in Frisco for the Rangers Double-A affiliate the Frisco RoughRiders, Hearn is appreciative to be near home again.
When asked how it felt to pitching close to home again, he was excited for family to be able to see him play relatively easily.
“It means a lot and feels good to be back… Some have always wanted to watch my games.”
In his first start with the RoughRiders, Hearn gave up just one run and struck out eight batters in 5 and one-third innings. It was an important tone to set for a pitcher in a new organization.
“If it was good or bad outing, (it’s) just good to get the first one out the way.”
The trade that sent Hearn to Texas happened late after the Rangers’ July 30th game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that the players involved in the trade couldn’t be announced until they were notified by their organization, somewhat inferring that they might be asleep for the night at that point. Hearn went on to confirm that via Twitter but you can’t always tell if someone is serious when they put emoji’s at the end of a tweet, so we asked Taylor to confirm that he really was asleep.
Yeah I was knocked out 😴😴 https://t.co/NptVO8N9nJ
— Taylor Hearn (@thearn14) July 31, 2018
“I really was asleep and (if it weren’t for) my roommates waking me up to check my phone, I would have found out when I woke up” Thanks to those roommates for getting Rangers fans the news faster than the next morning.
For those unfamiliar with Hearn’s work in the minors so far, we asked him to describe his approach on the mound. He described himself as “aggressive towards hitters” and that he likes to attack the zone and get hitters out “in three pitches or less.” Even though his second start with Frisco wasn’t quite as clean, he still showed off that aggressive approach with seven strikeouts to bring his total to 15 K’s in two starts for Frisco. Compare that to just two walks in two starts and you have someone who is definitely pounding the zone.
Being from the DFW area, Taylor is bound to have a few similar interests with the average fan from around these parts. In addition to being a baseball player who rooted for the Rangers (and going through their heartbreaking 2011 World Series loss like the rest of us), he’s also a #MFFL. It’s actually in his Twitter bio! I took the chance to ask him about his thoughts on the exciting Mavs offseason. He confidently said he was “really excited” about the drafting of Luka Doncic and getting DeAndre Jordan “was a big pickup as well.” Like the rest of the #MFFL, he’s excited to watch their games this season.
If Hearn is able to work his way up through the Rangers system, he won’t have to leave Texas again with Double A being in Frisco, Triple A being the Round Rock Express just north of Austin, and then the big leagues in Arlington. Listed at 6’5″ and 210 pounds, Taylor Hearn has a chance to become an anchor for the next generation of Rangers pitchers. A hometown kid with a frame as big as the state itself, it would certainly be a feel-good story.
While Hearn is far from a finished product, seeing him on the big league mound is definitely an exciting development for his family and Rangers fans who are looking to see this team develop its own starting pitching.
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