The Rangers will turn to one of the most promising arms in their system to start tomorrow’s game, as they announced Wednesday that lefty Taylor Hearn will be recalled from Triple-A Nashville to make his MLB debut tomorrow. Right-hander Wei-Chieh Huang will be optioned to Triple-A to open a spot on the active roster.
Hearn, 24, has been a key piece in a pair of notable trades. Originally drafted by the Nationals in the fifth round back in 2015, Hearn was flipped to the Pirates as part of the 2016 Mark Melancon trade and then traded a second time to the Rangers in last summer’s Keone Kela swap. He currently ranks as the Rangers’ No. 9 prospect at Fangraphs, No. 11 at MLB.com and No. 7 at Baseball America. Scouting reports on Hearn tout a plus fastball that sits 93-96 mph and tops out at 98 mph, as well as a pair of above-average secondary offerings (changeup, curveball). Control and durability are the biggest questions surrounding the southpaw.
Thus far in 2019, Hearn has a 4.05 ERA with a 26-to-10 K/BB ratio and a 28.9 percent grounder rate through 20 innings of work. Missing bats in the minors has never been an issue for Hearn, as evidenced by his career 10.5 K/9 mark. Though he’s a fly-ball pitcher, home runs have never been a substantial problem for Hearn. Maintaining that stinginess (0.8 HR/9) will be a tall task but all the more important given the homer-friendly confines of his home park in Arlington.
It’s not yet clear whether this’ll be a one-off promotion for Hearn or if he’ll be given the opportunity to earn a longer-term look if he impresses tomorrow. Hearn had been expected to start tonight for Nashville, but a short outing from Rule 5 pick Kyle Dowdy earlier today forced Thursday’s scheduled starter, Adrian Sampson, into relief action for the Rangers. Texas is already without Edinson Volquez and Drew Smyly, each of whom is on the injured list, so there does appear to be room in the rotation for Hearn if he can show well in his debut against the Mariners.