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Secretly Dominant: Rangers Reliever Makes List

Which Rangers pitcher made’s list of under-the-radar arms? recently put together a list of one secretly-dominant pitcher from each team, and it wasn’t one of the Texas Rangers starters that made the list.

It was Rangers reliever Brock Burke.

The list included a pitcher from each team and as it turned out it was all relievers. The list focused on pitchers average fans might not be paying attention to after two months of the 2022 season.

May 9, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; Texas Rangers pitcher Brock Burke deals during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
Apr 10, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Texas Rangers pitcher Brock Burke (46) pitches to the Toronto Blue Jays during the fourth inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
August 31, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers pitcher Brock Burke (70) throws a pitch against the Seattle Mariners at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Timothy Flores-USA TODAY Sports

Burke made the list, and the article pointed out the key stat — his 33 percent strikeout rate. Per the article:

I know this sounds like a random name generator on MLB The Show, but no, Burke is real. He missed 2020 with Tommy John and spent last year in Triple-A, but this season he has been the best pitcher on the Rangers’ staff. Burke used to be a starter way back in 2019, when he made six starts (with a 7.43 ERA) for Texas. Would they try him there again?

The Rangers aren’t making noise about moving Burke to the rotation. They don’t need to considering the quality starting pitching the Rangers have gotten this month. But, Burke is a big reason why the Rangers just claimed their first winning month since June of 2019.

Burke didn’t pitch in Friday’s win over Oakland, but hasn’t given up a run in May (six games, 11 1/3 innings) and is holding hitters to a .184 batting average. His 29 strikeouts, 23 innings and three wins are among the top five in the Majors among relievers. Those are signs that his arm strength has fully returned after his arm surgery.

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He’s already put together three appearances with five or more strikeouts, the 13th pitcher in franchise history to do that in three or more relief outings, and the first since Todd Van Poppel in 2002. 

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May 12, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Taylor Hearn (52) throws during the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Globe Life Field.

He’s also the third reliever in Rangers history with multiple outings of two innings ore less and five or more strikeouts in a career, joining Van Poppel and José Leclerc.

The crazy part? Burke won his first career MLB game on April 10 and, because of his injuries, he’s technically still a rookie.

Maybe the best is yet to come from the left-hander.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard

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