BOONE, N.C. — The Texas Rangers called up Appalachian State alum Jeffrey Springs to the big leagues Tuesday, giving the left-handed relief pitcher his first experience in “The Show.”
The promotion of the 25-year-old Springs, who was primarily a starter on the mound for App State from 2012-15, coincided with roster moves made by the Rangers before the trade deadline.
Since moving to the bullpen midway through the 2017 season, when he was pitching for the High-A Down East Wood Ducks, Springs has totaled 134 strikeouts and just 24 walks in 79 innings.
The second-youngest of 15 pitchers to receive a non-roster invitation to the Rangers’ big league camp this spring, he began the 2018 season pitching for the Double A Frisco RoughRiders and was promoted to the Triple A Round Rock Express in mid-June. He had a 2.79 ERA with 30 strikeouts in 19.1 innings spread over 13 appearances for Round Rock, notably striking out seven batters over 2.2 innings on June 24.
Springs is set to become the first App State alum to play in the major leagues since infielder Mike Ramsey closed his seven-year MLB career with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1985. The other Appalachian alums who appeared in the major leagues as players were catcher Ron Hodges (1973-84), pitcher Don Cardwell (1957-70), pitcher John Pychea (1954) and outfielder Coakler Triplett (1938, 1941-45).
Following his graduation from South Point High School in Belmont, N.C., Springs totaled 38 starts over his final three seasons for the Mountaineers. He went 4-2 with a 4.46 ERA as a senior and pitched into the ninth inning of two league wins, including a complete-game victory in which he struck out 11 batters from ULM.
He was a 30th-round draft pick in 2015, going No. 888 overall, and MLB.com listed him as one of 10 “under the radar” players entering Rangers camp this spring. Through 279.2 innings as a minor league pitcher, he has 375 strikeouts, 100 walks (one intentional), 11 victories in 112 appearances and a 3.67 ERA.