Back on August 21st the Texas Rangers promoted right-handed relief pitcher Nick Gardewine to the major league roster. He went back down to the minors on August 25th, but was recalled for the stretch run on September 3rd. Gardewine has pitched five innings over seven appearances so far, fanning just one with five walks, six hits, and six runs allowed. He’s capable of better if his minor league performance is any indication, so let’s take a look.
Gardewine played college ball with Kaskaskia Junior College in Illinois, impressing scouts with a strong freshman season in 2013 (2.12 ERA, 84/24 K/BB in 85 innings), earning a spot in the seventh round of the draft. Initially developed as a starting pitcher, he had fairly mediocre campaigns in 2014 and 2015.
In 2016 he converted to the bullpen with strong results, posting a 2.47 ERA with a 60/14 K/BB in 55 innings at the High Desert bandbox in the Cal League. Moved up to Double-A for 2017 he posted similar numbers with a 2.27 ERA in 37 innings, 53/12 K/BB.
Gardewine is 6-1, 180, born August 15th, 1993. Although he had had control problems so far in the majors, this is out-of-character for him: he was an efficient strike-thrower in the minors and probably just needs more innings to get his sea legs in the Show.
The stuff is solid enough, 93-96 on the fastball with movement that “explodes on the hitter” according to BrooksBaseball.net. He also has an unusually fast slider/cutter that sits at 90, and can mix in the occasional change-up in the mid-80s.
Gardewine is making a jump from Double-A and could use Triple-A time to polish up his game. Given his track record and arm strength, he should be in the middle/short relief picture again sometime next year.