August 16th: The Rangers, seeking a starter for half of their Tuesday doubleheader against the Angels, are considering calling up left-hander Brock Burke, Jeff Wilson of the Forth Worth Star-Telegram reports. It would be the major league debut for the 23-year-old Burke, who’s already on the Rangers’ 40-man roster.
“We’re kind of hoping that Burke would be that day,” manager Chris Woodward said. “We’re still debating it, but I would love to see Burke.”
Burke, who broke into the pros as a third-round pick of Tampa Bay in 2014, is in his first season with the Texas organization. The Rangers acquired him last offseason from the Rays in a three-team trade with the A’s that centered on infielder Jurickson Profar.
While Burke was the Rays’ minor league pitcher of the year in his final season with them, he has endured an injury-shortened 2019. Burke missed a large chunk of time with blister and shoulder problems earlier in the season, though he has pitched to an exceptional 3.18 ERA/2.76 FIP with 9.73 K/9, 2.38 BB/9 and a 50.9 percent groundball rate in 45 1/3 innings at the Double-A level. The Rangers promoted Burke to Triple-A Nashville earlier this month, but he has only made two starts and combined for eight innings of seven-run, 12-hit ball at that level so far.
Burke currently ranks as the Rangers’ seventh-best prospect at MLB.com, which contends he has the “ceiling of a mid-rotation starter.” He’s unlikely to provide that type of production in MLB right now, though, with Wilson noting that Burke hasn’t amassed more than 88 pitches in an outing this year. Ergo, if Burke does enter the majors in the coming days, his initial stay in the league may not last long. But Burke might be able to push for a rotation spot in 2020, as it’s likely that Mike Minor and Lance Lynn are the lone Texas starters who have clinched jobs for next year (if the club doesn’t trade either of them, of course).