Jon Rauch
Jon Rauch
39-Year-Old PitcherRP
 Free Agent  
Free Agent
2018 Fantasy Outlook
There was no outlook written for Jon Rauch in 2018. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
$Signed a minor league contract with the Royals in January of 2014.
PKansas City Royals  
March 24, 2014
Rauch was assigned to minor league camp by the Royals on Monday, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports.
ANALYSIS
Rauch had a roller coaster season in 2013 struggling with the Marlins to start the year, then finding some success with Triple-A Norfolk of the Orioles. He may have to begin the season with Triple-A again if he opts to remain with the organization.
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Rauch began the season in 2013 with the Marlins, struggling to a 7.56 ERA in 16.2 innings before being released. He then pitched 10 games with better success at Triple-A Norfolk in the Orioles' system before being released in July. He posted a 2.89 ERA over that stretch. The tall right-hander will try and catch on with the Royals in spring training.
Once hailed as a top prospect and later as a potential closer, Rauch has seen his ability to miss bats erode in recent seasons and 2012 was no exception as that number fell to 6.6 K/9. Fortunately, he cut back on the home runs allowed (from 11 in 2011 to seven last season) and limited the damage of walks, which have occasionally wreaked havoc on his effectiveness. Although he is 34, Rauch should have little difficulty finding work, and possibly emerging as part of a bridge to the ninth inning with a setup role somewhere in 2013, while his flyball tendencies would be better suited for use in a pitcher-friendly home park.
Rauch was in and out of the closer role in his first season as a Jay, recording 11 saves in his 53 relief appearances. He was pretty ineffective in the season's second half, a trend that likely factored in Toronto's decision to decline their $3.75 million contract option. The Mets inked him, along with Frank Francisco, to a contract in the offseason and while he should enjoy the friendlier confines of the NL East and Citi Field, he'll likely start the season behind Francisco in the pecking order for saves.
Rauch served as Minnesota's closer last season after Joe Nathan was lost to an elbow injury and started strong with a 1.69 ERA, converting 10-of-11 save chances in his first 15 games. He then declined slightly with a 4.03 ERA and 15:7 K:BB ratio in 22.1 innings while converting 11-of-14 save chances in his next 19 games. As a result, but still surprisingly, the Twins demoted him to a setup role after acquiring Matt Capps. Rauch thrived in a setup role the final two months with a 3.26 ERA and 19:5 K:BB ratio in 19.1 innings. He has a good, but not overpowering, strikeout rate (7.2 K/9IP last season) with good control. Home runs allowed have been a problem, but he kept the ball in the park during his tenure in Minnesota (just four homers allowed with the Twins). He should be a key member of a bullpen, and his success closing games with the Twins should put him in the closer mix if an opportunity strikes.
Rauch started slowly last season with a 5.96 ERA and just a 16:11 K:BB ratio through the first two months and languished in low-leverage situations for Arizona. But he improved in the second half and thrived once traded to Minnesota in August. He struck out more than eight batters per nine innings with Minnesota. Rausch has always had strong strikeout rates with good control, but gives up a few too many home runs. He'll serve as Joe Nathan's primary setup man and should get a good number of holds as long as he keeps the ball in the park.
Rauch struggled with the D-Backs after being acquired from Washington in exchange for Emilio Bonifacio in July, positing a 6.56 ERA and 1.543 WHIP in 26 appearances with Arizona. Prior to moving out west, Rauch was excellent as the closer in Washington, but he didn't provide the expected stability in the back of the Arizona bullpen down the stretch. Even when Brandon Lyon lost the ninth-inning role late in 2008, Rauch yielded the opportunity to close to Chad Qualls. The D-Backs have already exercised their 2010 option on Rauch. His poor performance after the All-Star break may have been due to a bout of forearm stiffness that surfaced in late August, so don't write him off as a key set-up man -- or potential closer -- for Arizona in 2009.
Rauch had the best season of his career in 2007, leading the Nationals (rather embarrassingly for them) in wins with eight and drastically reducing his walk rate. He pitched in 85 or more games for the second straight year, however, and given the shoulder issues he battled when coming up through the White Sox system the workload is a serious concern. If Chad Cordero gets traded this offseason Rauch will enter 2008 as Washington's closer, but be very wary about paying top dollar for him.
Frank Robinson worked Rauch almost to death in 2006, sending him out to the mound 85 times despite his long and checkered injury history. You can't really blame Robinson, since Rauch was one of the few pitchers he had who stayed healthy and effective pretty much all year, but nonetheless the totals are a bit alarming for anyone hoping to get some value out of Rauch this season. If his arm holds up he should be Chad Cordero's main set-up man once again, and could even slide into the closer's role if the trade rumors around Cordero pan out, but hopefully new manager Manny Acta can keep his workload down to a more reasonable level.
Rauch showed flashes of ability, but another labrum tear resulted in another lost season. At this point he's a complete crap shoot -- if he can stay healthy he could be a steal, but he could also not pitch an inning.
White Sox GM Kenny Williams' vendetta against Rauch is going to cost him dearly, as the youngster gave plenty of indications that his shoulder is finally 100%. His ceiling might be a bit lower than it was before the labrum injury, but he could still emerge as the Nats #2 or #3 starter if things fall right.
Rauch spent the whole year at Triple-A trying to regain his form, but he never quite found it. Kris Honel and Neal Cotts are the new golden arms in the White Sox system; Rauch will likely compete for a spot at the back of the rotation this spring, but even if he earns it his hold on the job will be tenuous.
With a release point best described using astronomy terms, the 6'11" Rauch doesn't need to throw like Randy Johnson to be tough to hit. He was rushed to the majors after losing 2001 to shoulder surgery, and predictably struggled, but the beating he took in April didn't seem to derail his confidence, and by the end of the year he looked like a future ace again. He should open the year in the Sox rotation, and be a Rookie of the Year candidate.
More Fantasy News
PKansas City Royals  
January 23, 2014
Rauch agreed to a minor league contract with the Royals on Thursday, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports.
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PFree Agent  
July 3, 2013
Rauch opted out of his minor league contract with the Orioles on Wednesday, Roch Kubato of MASN Baltimore reports.
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PBaltimore Orioles  
June 5, 2013
Rauch pitched a scoreless inning for Triple-A Norfolk Tuesday, MASN Sports reports.
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PBaltimore Orioles  
June 1, 2013
Rauch signed with the Orioles on Saturday and will report to Triple-A Norfolk on Monday.
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PFree Agent  
May 23, 2013
Rauch was released by the Marlins on Wednesday.
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