Texas Rangers Trade: Dane Dunning, Nate Lowe and what they bring

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images /

The Texas Rangers pulled off a pair of trades this week, acquiring RHP Dane Dunning and 1B Nate Lowe.

The Rangers were involved in the first major swap of the offseason, shipping Lance Lynn to the White Sox in exchange for RHP Dane Dunning and prospect Avery Weems.

Then on Thursday, the Rangers and Rays partnered in a 6-player swap, headlined by first baseman Nate Lowe. Dunning and Lowe are both young, possess high upside, and expected to crack the Ranger’s roster next season.

Let’s get to know the new guys:

Texas Ranger Trade Acquisition: Dane Dunning

Yes, Lance Lynn was the Rangers best player last season and one of the best starters in baseball for the last two. But, it’s hard to not be excited about this trade. Lynn only had one year left on his deal; a year in which Texas isn’t expected to be very competitive. So it stands to reason he would be more valuable to a win-now team than the Rangers.

Meanwhile, the newly acquired Dunning (8 years younger than Lynn) will be under team control for the next 6 years. Even if Dunning turns out to be only a middle-of-the-packer starter, this was a great move by Jon Daniels and the Rangers front office.

Dunning is a former 1st round pick, selected 29th overall by the Washington Nationals in 2016. The righty’s breakout campaign came his Junior year at the University of Florida when he posted a 2.29 ERA in 33 appearances. The Florida native dazzled in the 2016 NCAA Tournament when he allowed just 1 earned run in 15.1 innings; good for a 0.60 ERA. Dunning was named to the NCAA Gainesville Regional All-Tournament Team.

After spending just 6 months in the National’s organization, he was traded to Chicago (along with Lucas Giolito) in exchange for Adam Eaton.

After pitching two seasons in the White Sox system (missed all of ’19 due to Tommy John surgery), Dunning made his MLB debut on August 19, 2020. His first start was respectable, going 4 1/3 innings, allowing 3 runs, and striking out 7 against Detroit.

Dunning went on to make 7 starts for the White Sox in 2020, posting a 3.97 ERA in 34 innings.

The 25-year-old relies on a 5-pitch arsenal: sinker (39%), slider (22%), 4-seam fastball (21%), changeup (11%), and curveball (7%).

Relying on his off-speed stuff over 60% of the time, Dunning proves to be much more of a polished pitcher than a mere “thrower.” In fact, his 4-seamer only clocks in at about 92 MPH. Even still, Dunning has shown ability, in his young MLB career, to miss bats.

Dunning’s slider is typically his put away pitch. In 124 occurrences, hitters generated only a .135 BA off this pitch. 17 of Dunning’s 35 K’s came via the slider.

Dunning figures to slide into the Ranger’s starting rotation right away. The rotation is so up-in-the-air at the moment, it’s tough to say what slot Chris Woodward places him.

As a former 1st round pick, and a Baseball America Top 100 prospect, many see Dunning as a potential front-line starter and All Star. ZiPs projects Dunning to record a 4.96 ERA in 69 IP in 2021.

Texas Rangers Trade Acquisition: Nate Lowe

In a 6-player deal involving the Rangers and Rays, Nate Lowe is the biggest name, as he’s the lone guy to have appeared in the majors at this point.

Also drafted in 2016 (round 13, 390th overall), the Mississippi State product debuted in April of 2019 for Tampa Bay. From 2019-2020, Lowe appeared in 71 games for Kevin Cash and the Rays. During that span, Lowe posted a respectable .770 OPS with 11 HRs.

Lowe struggles mightily against lefties. In 15 ABs against southpaws in 2020, Lowe struck out 12 times and slashed just .133/.235/.133. On the other hand, the 6′ 4”, Virginia native put up a .858 OPS against righties with 4 HRs.

Factoring this all in, with a high K rate, Lowe seems to be a platoon option at first base at this point in his career.

Lowe is a left-handed bat with a ton of pop. He’s a former Baseball America Top 100 prospect and a breakout could be in-the-waiting as soon if a full-time role is grasped. ZiPS projects Lowe to hit .259 in 2021 with 22 HRs.

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What do you think Rangers fans? Were these good moves? What else would you like to see done? Let us know in the comments!

  • Published on 12/11/2020 at 12:01 PM
  • Last updated at 12/11/2020 at 11:52 AM