Aug 292012
 
Harri

Matt Harrison and Rangers go for Sweep of RaysNot that the Texas Rangers are taking tonight’s series-ender lightly, but it is easy to look ahead to their upcoming road trip to Cleveland after Yu Darvish’s dominating performance last night. Nothing like a thrilling, 1-0 win against a very good A.L. East team to get the confidence levels soaring…

Here’s a look at tonight’s lineup, as the Rangers bid adieu to their postseason rivals.

Tampa Bay Rays (70-59)

Matt Harrison and Rangers go for Sweep of Rays

Wait a minute, that’s not my cap…Longoria has raked against Harri over his career, with 7 RBI.


LF Desmond Jennings
CF B.J. Upton
SS Ben Zobrist
DH Evan Longoria
1B Jeff Keppinger
2B Ryan Roberts
3B Elliot Johnson
C Jose Molina
RF Sam Fuld

VS.

LHP Matt Harrison (15-7, 3.04 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 5.4 K/9, 2.6 BB/9)

Harrison has quietly and efficiently been the Rangers’ most reliable starter all season long. Simply put, the 6’4″ left-hander has continued to build on his success from a season ago and is paving the way to true “ace-dom.”

At home this season, Harrison has been sharp. He’s 5-3 with a 3.02 ERA. Although right-handers have touched him up with 11 home runs and a slash line of: .269/.328/.417, left-handers are practically out before they ever step into the batter’s box: .186/.216/.261 with just two long balls.

Harrison will be looking for a measure of atonement tonight as the Rays roughed him up in his only start against them this season. It was back on April 27, and Harri lasted just five innings and was blasted for 14 hits while surrendering six earned runs.

Texas Rangers (77-52)

Matt Harrison and Rangers go for Sweep of Rays

Kinsler provided all of the offense the Rangers would need last night, thanks to his fourth inning solo home run.


DH Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
CF Josh Hamilton
3B Adrian Beltre
RF Nelson Cruz
2B Michael Young
LF David Murphy
1B Mitch Moreland
C Luis Martinez

VS.

RHP Alex Cobb (8-8, 4.32 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 6.7 K/9, 2.5 BB/9)

Cobb, a Boston, Massachusetts native, is coming off of the best start of his young career. Last week in Oakland, he pitched the first complete game as he blanked the Athletics with eight strikeouts while allowing just two hits and two walks over nine innings.

The 6′ 2″ right-hander was bombed in his previous start against the Angels, surrendering eight earned runs on a whopping 14 hits.

Tonight will be the first time that Cobb has faced the Rangers since last season. He’s 4-3 with a 5.26 ERA on the road and has held the Rangers to a triple-slash line of: .176/.263/.176 in his career.

Right-handers hit him to the tune of: .295/.337/.410 with three home runs, and left-handers go: .253/.319/.371, also with three home runs.

Ian Kinsler and the red-hot Adrian Beltre have had the most success against Cobb, as they have driven in two and have a combined batting average of .333.

Notes:

• This is the second straight start that Matt Harrison will throw to Luis Martinez. Ron Washington has shown a lot of faith in Martinez’s ability to call a quality game.

• Michael Young gets the start at second base for the first time since August 2, against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

• The A.L. West is currently the only division in Major League Baseball where all teams have a positive run differential. Thus, the argument can be made that it is the strongest division in baseball. This is just another way to celebrate the greatness that is the Texas Rangers.

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Aug 282012
 
Texas Rangers v Toronto Blue Jays

Texas Rangers Roy Oswalt Clears Waivers and Yu Darvish Returns...So, Roy Oswalt has cleared waivers. Did he pass like a ship in the night, or did he fall like a tree in an abandoned forest?

Does anyone care? Should we care?

You’d think the feeling of his passing would be a relief since his stay here in Arlington has been a tumultuous one, about as comfortable as a kidney stone.

There are some teams rumored to be interested in a trade for ‘ole Roy. Naturally, the Los Angeles Dodgers are in the mix.

The Dodgers have become the MLB equivalent of your crazy grandmother. Yeah, the one with the $15K credit card limit that orders every magazine known to man, only to let each issue stack up throughout her house. Eventually, the unread magazines form false walls constructed from Cat Fancy and Redbook rather than plywood and drywall as Gam Gam’s house becomes a labyrinthine layer not even David Bowie would dare enter.

The Roy Oswalt saga can continue until this Friday at 11:00 PM (ET), when the trade deadline comes to an absolute close…in the meantime, on to more important matters.

Here’s a look at tonight’s starting lineups:

Tampa Bay Rays (70-58)

Texas Rangers Roy Oswalt Clears Waivers and Yu Darvish Returns...

Jennings was 2-for-4 in last night’s game.


LF Desmond Jennings
CF B.J. Upton
RF Matt Joyce
3B Evan Longoria
SS Ben Zobrist
DH Luke Scott
1B Carlos Pena
2B Ryan Roberts
C Jose Lobaton

VS

RHP Yu Darvish (12-9, 4.51 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 10.5 K/9, 4.9 BB/9)

Tonight marks the return of The Yu. Darvish is making his first start since August 17, as he was scratched from his last start due to a tight quad…or, perhaps, just because he felt sorry for Roy Oswalt and decided to let him start to boost his spirits.

In Darvish’s last start, he took the loss despite allowing just three hits, one walk, and three earned runs. He finished up striking out 10 over his seven innings of work.

The Tampa Bay Rays will pose a unique challenge for Darvish, as the Rays lead the American League in walks, with 451, trailing only the Atlanta Braves (454) for the major league lead.

Clearly, Darvish’s success is often predicated by how much he can control the strike zone (or find it with consistency.) If he walks too many Rays, it could be a long night and a short outing for The Yu.

However, on the flip side, the Rays tend to walk due to dire necessity. In other words, they take the free pass because they can do little else with a pitched ball. As a team, they are batting just .236. If Darvish’s stuff is present—as it usually is, he might be able to get the Rays to swing at offerings off of the plate. The key for him will be to attack the zone early and often.

This will be the first time that Darvish has faced the Tampa Bay Rays. At home this season, Darvish is 8-2 with a 4.50 ERA.

Texas Rangers (76-52)

Texas Rangers Roy Oswalt Clears Waivers and Yu Darvish Returns...

Elvis has destroyed Shields in his career, posting a triple-slash line of: .571/.609/.857.


2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
CF Josh Hamilton
3B Adrian Beltre
RF Nelson Cruz
DH Michael Young
LF David Murphy
C Geovany Soto
1B Mitch Moreland

VS

RHP James Shields (12-7, 4.01 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 8.6 K/9, 2.4 BB/9)

On the hill for the Rays tonight, it’s “Big Game James,” a nickname I’m fairly certain James Shields made up for himself. I’m not saying this to be cruel, but it’s just that most of Shields’ “big games” have come against the Texas Rangers, and they haven’t gone so well for him. Unless of course, his moniker means “Big Game” for the Texas Rangers’ bats…

Against Texas during the 2010 and 2011 American League Division, Shields is 0-2 with a 10.61 ERA with eight strikeouts. But, hey, in those two starts he didn’t walk anybody!

The Rangers have hit .257 against Shields over his career with eight home runs—six of which were hit by Kinsler, Young and Hamilton. Over his career, Shields is 3-2 with a 4.11 ERA at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington (during the regular season.)

Texas Rangers Roy Oswalt Clears Waivers and Yu Darvish Returns...

“You have thirteen hours to solve the labyrinth…in the meantime, can you pass me that copy of Cat Fancy?”

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Aug 272012
 
Craig Gentry, rocketman.

Rangers Offense Keeps on Rolling as Texas Takes Second straight Series

Craig Gentry, rocketman.

The Minnesota Twins are gone, but they won’t be forgotten. And for the most part, their four game stay at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington will be remembered fondly.

Here’s a look at some of the highlights from that four-game set…

Adrian Beltre can carry a team

• Adrian Beltre was 7-for-9 (.777) in the first two games of the Twins series. He went 3-for-5 with one homer in game 1 (not a bad encore after the previous night’s three home run effort against Baltimore.) Game 2 saw Beltre notch the second cycle of his career, as he went 4-for-4 with three RBI.

• When Beltre heats up he’s more than capable of setting the tone for the Rangers’ offense or carrying the team on his own.

• It will be fun to see how Beltre handles the Tampa Bay Rays this week. Beltre hit three home runs in game 4 of the 2011 ALDS against the Rays.

Rangers Offense Keeps on Rolling as Texas Takes Second straight Series

Beltre gets a well-deserved hug from Mike Napoli.


Throwing at Josh Hamilton’s Cabeza is highly frowned upon…

• Yep, we learned this in the series’ opening game. Starting pitcher Scott Diamond retaliated for a Roy Oswalt beanball by letting one loose in the general vicinity of Hambone’s head.

• Even though Oswalt had not been warned, and no brawl ensued, Diamond was treated to a six-game suspension courtesy of Major League Baseball.

• Head-hunting aside, Hamilton had one heck of a series against the Twins. All told, he hit .438 with 9 RBI and hit his 35th home run of the year during yesterday’s finale.

White Men can jump, and Craig Gentry is proof

• With one out and one on in the top of the ninth inning, Craig Gentry perfectly played a deep blast off of the bat of Joe Mauer. #KittenFace deftly judged the arc of the ball before cat-apulting over the centerfield wall, landing on top of the Captain Morgan Club’s roof, robbing Mauer of what would have been the first ball ever hit onto Randol Mill Road. All in all, it was pretty sweet.

Koji Uehara still sucks

• Sunday’s finale saw the return of right-handed relief specialist Koji Uehara—whose true specialty is serving up the long ball. It’s good to see that after a two month layoff, Uehara can still get rocked with the best of them.

• Had it not been for the aforementioned trampoline-like leap of Craig Gentry, Uehara would have served up a two-run bomb to Minnesota’s Joe Mauer. This, of course, would have surprised absolutely no one.

• Can we please get Tanner Scheppers back up here to replace Koji? Sure I know he’s susceptible to the long ball as well, but at least his heater can actually break a pane of glass.

Mitch Moreland, one strong son of a gun
Rangers Offense Keeps on Rolling as Texas Takes Second straight Series
• In the second inning of the third game of the Minnesota series, Mitch Moreland crushed a Brian Duensing pitch into the right field upper deck. The three-run shot was measured at 463 feet, making it the third-longest bomb ever hit in the 19-year history of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

• Not only was the bomb historic in length, it is also notable in that it came off of a left-handed pitcher, only the third time this season and the fourth time in his career that Moreland has gone deep off of a port-sider.

Up Next:

The Tampa Bay Rays, currently in second place in the A.L. East, come to Arlington for a three-game series.

On the hill for the Rangers will be LHP Derek Holland (8-6, 4.92 ERA). Left-handed ace, David Price (16-4, 2.28 ERA), is on the bump for Tampa Bay. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 (CST).

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Aug 212012
 
Feldy!

Orioles/Rangers Game 2 Preview: Scott Feldman vs. Chris TillmanLast night’s 5-1 Rangers’ win certainly felt far more comfortable than the four-run advantage would indicate.

Against quality right-hander Miguel Gonzalez—who pitched quite well save for the fourth inning—the offense did a great job of working the count and seeing their fair share of pitches.

And if Gonzalez was good, then Ryan Dempster was great. Heck even if Gonzalez was terrible, Dempster was still great.

It was easily his best performance as a Texas Ranger. Dempster, simply put, looked like an ace last night, and the type of pitcher that can fill-in for the injured Colby Lewis, and maybe, just maybe, take the ball in game one of a playoff series and shut the opposition down.

In other words, be the anti-C.J. Wilson.

Hey if two extra days off and a no-call, no-show to Toronto is what it takes for this version of Dempster to show up consistently, then see ya in seven days Dempy and please continue to curtail Canada…

Here’s a look at tonight’s starting lineups:

Baltimore Orioles (66-56)

Orioles/Rangers Game 2 Preview: Scott Feldman vs. Chris Tillman

Although he doesn’t “make it rain,” this Adam Jones doesn’t suck either. He went 2-for-4 last night, driving in the O’s only run.


RF Nick Markakis
SS J.J. Hardy
LF Nate McLouth
CF Adam “Not Pacman” Jones
C Matt Wieters
DH Chris Davis
1B Mark Reynolds
2B Omar Quintanilla
3B Manny Machado

VS

RHP Scott Feldman (6-8, 4.83 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 6.2 K/9)

Over his last two starts, Feldman has somewhat returned to Earth. Prior to those back-to-back losses, Scooter was rolling on a six-game winning streak, and over the month of July was the Rangers’ best starter.

Seriously.

Think about it. If I had told you four months ago that the Rangers would sign Roy Oswalt, you might not believe me. And you would send me off to the nuthouse straightaway if I told you that Oswalt would not only be signed by Texas, but would be relegated to the bullpen because Scott Feldman swiped the starting spot right out from under him…

Over his last two games, Feldman has been victimized by one poor inning, or, in the case of his start against Detroit, one bad pitch. Still, though he hasn’t been that bad even in losing efforts. Over his last 10 games, the Hawaiian-born hurler has gone 6-3 with a 3.70 ERA, with 41 strikeouts up against just 8 walks—four of which he allowed in last week’s loss to the New York Yankees.

Texas Rangers (71-50)

Orioles/Rangers Game 2 Preview: Scott Feldman vs. Chris Tillman

Murphy was 2-for-3 with 2 RBI in last night’s 5-1 win.


2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
CF Josh Hamilton
3B Adrian Beltre
RF Nelson Cruz
DH Michael Young
LF David Murphy
C Geovany Soto
1B Mitch Moreland

VS

RHP Chris Tillman (5-2, 3.65 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, K/9: 7.1)

Tilllman was a second round draft pick by the Seattle Mariners in the 2006 MLB amateur draft. He’s pitched in parts of the last four seasons after making his big league debut in 2009.

He’s having a fine season thus far, and at just 24 years of age, he could be a bright spot for the Orioles for years to come.

Tillman came over in the Erik Bedard trade with Adam “Not Pacman” Jones in what is beginning to look like an extremely Orioles-friendly—if not completely lopsided—trade.

The 6′ 5″ righty from Fountain Valley, California is 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA on the road thus far in 2012. He’s tough on both right-handed batters (.239/.364/.457, 2 HR) as well as lefties (.250/.281/.398, 3 HR).

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Aug 202012
 
passport

Ryan Dempster vs. Miguel Gonzalez, a Rangers/Orioles Game 1 Preview
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After last week’s four-game set with the New York Yankees, the Rangers were in danger of losing ground to the second place Oakland Athletics. It didn’t look good heading into Canada, as the the Toronto Blue Jays had historically given Texas fits.

However, rather than punching the panic button (as fans tend to do), the Rangers returned triumphantly to Texas on the heels of an impressive series win against the always-a-pain-in-the-arse Blue Jays.

Tonight, recently un-restricted list luminary, Ryan Dempster, will make his first start since his most recent shellacking, last Monday in New York. I, for one, have never been too pumped about Dempster’s acquisition, but I’m glad it happened, and I don’t think he’s as bad as he’s shown.

Dempster’s bizarre no-show in Toronto has never really been explained, so it seems pretty obvious that Roy Oswalt pulled a few strings with the Canadian Mounties to bar Dempster’s arrival. C’mon, ‘ole Roy, that’s no way to treat your bestie.

Regardless, there’s nothing like another Melky Cabrera scandal to make Rangers’ rumors disappear.

I had no idea Cabrera was also a web design guru. His unique website—MelkyNoTakeNoPEDs.com—is not only a marvel of my own invention, it’s also still available for purchase.

Tonight’s Lineups:

Baltimore Orioles (66-55) L10: 6-4

Ryan Dempster vs. Miguel Gonzalez, a Rangers/Orioles Game 1 Preview

Chris Davis has a career-high 60 RBI (and counting). He’s also contributed 20 home runs to the potent Orioles lineup.


RF Nick Markakis
2B Robert Andino
LF Nate McLouth
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Weiters
DH Chris Davis
1B Mark Reynolds
SS Omar Quintanilla
3B Manny Machado

VS

RHP Ryan Dempster (6-6, 3.12 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 8.3 K/9)

The mystery man himself, the “Canadian who no-showed in Canada,” takes the hill tonight with an extra few days of rest.

At Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Dempster is 0-0 with a 15.45 ERA. It really can’t get much worse so I feel it will certainly get better. On the year, Dempster has surrendered 14 home runs, and right-handed batters go: .250/.298/.411, with 8 homers, whereas lefties look like this: .210/.266/.352 with 6 tickets taken to downtown dong city.

Texas Rangers (70-50) L10: 5-5

Ryan Dempster vs. Miguel Gonzalez, a Rangers/Orioles Game 1 Preview

Was yesterday’s 3-for-5 performance a harbinger for things to come for MY? Let’s hope so.


2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
CF Josh Hamilton
3B Adrian Beltre
RF Nelson Cruz
DH Michael Young
LF David Murphy
C Geovany Soto
1B Mitch Moreland

VS

RHP Miguel Gonzalez 5-2, 3.38 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 6.9 K/9)

Gonzalez, one of just 30 active big leaguers born in Mexico, is having a fine season, especially considering he had been released by both the Angels and Red Sox and had never pitched above Double-A prior to this season.

Away from Baltimore, Gonzalez has yet to lose. He’s 3-0 with a 2.34 ERA. It’s definitely worth noting that the 28-year-old Guadalajara native has never faced the Texas Rangers nor toed the rubber at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. RBIA is an extremely difficult place to pitch in, just ask Ryan Dempster.

Gonzalez has been somewhat prone to the long ball. He’s surrendered 10 total homers, five to left-handed batters and five to right-handers. Overall, he’s tough to hit for righties: .191/.269/.404, and is considerably more hittable against southpaws: .267/.345/.427.

Saving Face?

• Michael Young’s home run, his fourth on the year, was the first time he had gone deep in 89 games. That was way back on May 7, and is best remembered as the “Brandon Snyder 6 RBI game.” For what it’s worth, that game—an eventual 14-3 Rangers win—came against the Baltimore Orioles.

• Young’s 5 RBI were the most he’d had since April 25, 2010.

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Aug 202012
 
Michael Young 8

Podcast Episode 18: The love/hate relationship with Michael Young & our insanely accurate predictionsMichael Young’s performance is not up to par…and with more venues to express opinion than ever before, the fans aren’t holding back.

Is this hate or just tough love?  Does Michael deserve better given his track record in a Rangers uniform?  Is there really someone else to direct the angst at?  The Baseball Do Semi-Professional Podcast team takes a closer look.

Before the season started, the Baseball Do Executive Team sat down and made five bold predictions for the 2012 season.  That same Executive Team checks in on those insanely accurate predictions.

Now, the Baseball Do Marketing team would like for you to:

  • Listen to this podcast (download via iTunes or hit the play button below)
  • Read this article by our boy Dustin Dietz for a closer look at the numbers behind Young’s performance.
  • Hit us up with a tweet or a twat…follow @baseballdo, @TMurrayHowell &  @DustinDietz18 on Twitter for the ride of your lives…or just to talk about the Rangers.
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Aug 192012
 
MichaelYoung5

By: Dustin Dietz

One of the more enjoyable things I remember from my childhood was memorizing statistics on the backs of my favorite baseball player’s baseball cards. I loved being able to tell my friends Cecil Fielder hit 51 bombs in 1990, or Ken Griffey Jr. hit .327 in 1991. I have forgotten most statistics I once knew right off the top of my head (I had to look up Griffey’s batting average in 1991), but I still remember quite a few of the stats I learned from the back of baseball cards I purchased as a 9 and 10 year old.

When one glanced at the statistics of his or her favorite baseball player 20 years ago, one would immediately glance at the player’s batting average, home runs, and RBI’s to determine how good the player really was. Batting average, home runs, and RBI’s are the statistical categories we all grew up on. Baseball game broadcasts would use (and still do) the three categories when a player comes to bat for the first time in a game.  If a player had less than 5 home runs in August, most fans were wise enough to realize the player was struggling.

Can the Rangers overcome Michael Young?Well, in the early 00’s baseball statistics and determining a player’s worth changed drastically thanks to Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane. Beane was forced to start playing Moneyball with his Oakland A’s teams of the early 00’s because the Oakland franchise was cash strapped and could not afford to sign players to luxurious deals. After players like Jason Giambi and Johnny Damon signed exorbitant contracts with bigger market teams like the Yankees and Red Sox, the A’s had to find cheaper replacements like Scott Hatteberg and Jeremy Giambi not because the players hit more home runs or hit for a higher batting average, but because the cheaper players get on base just as often.

Moneyball became a successful book, and then movie, because of how successful the A’s were with players who on paper looked like nothing more than Triple A players (Except Hudson, Mulder, and Zito). The story is quite fascinating really. Numbers gurus and stat geeks stick their middle finger up at scouts using the eyeball test because their radical formulas proved lesser players can be just as effective as star players. However, Beane did not just discover these statistical formulas and categories one day when throwing balled up sheets of paper into a waste basket.

Can the Rangers overcome Michael Young?What many might not realize, except baseball stat nerds, is the Moneyball craze actually started back in the 1970’s with a man named Bill James. James began writing books devoted to baseball history and statistics and coined his new approach to baseball SABERMETRICS. James can be considered the L. Ron Hubbard of SABERMETRICS, and new approach to determining a baseball player’s worth.

Billy Beane actually began using James statistical approaches for his A’s teams in the 00’s and had significant success doing it. Then, the Red Sox hired Bill James in 2003. Boston won the World Series a year later for the first time since 1918, and the rest they say is history.

Today, the moniker floated around for most baseball sabermetricians is baseball hipster. The problem I found most often early on with the baseball hipster was how condescending he or she was too you because you thought players such as Michael Young were still usable players when the hipster had these numbers few actually used to prove otherwise. The baseball hipster would point out Mike Young slugs this, or has a terrible fWAR, or his BABIP is low, which makes the traditionalist look like a moron.

I must say that I was quite cynical of the sabermetrics for quite a while. I did not see how players with batting averages around .280 could ever be considered useless. However, after giving much thought and opening my mind a little, I have learned to fully accept and appreciate sabermetrics. While I still believe batting average, home runs, and RBI’s are a huge determining factor of a player’s worth, I have learned to admire stats such as WAR (wins above replacement) and UBR (ultimate base running) despite not understanding how in the world to calculate them. I do not think UBR will be on the back of baseball cards for 9 year olds to memorize anytime soon, but I believe the stats have a place in the baseball world.

I apologize for the 700 word spiel so far, but I promise I will get to my point very quickly. One of the favorite statistics baseball hispters like to use today is WAR. The stat, according to Fan Graphs, encapsulates a player’s total value to their team in one stat. There are two different versions of WAR, rWAR (used by baseballreference.com) and fWAR (used by fangraphs.com). The formulas for both are slightly different as fWAR uses a few distinct statistics I will choose not to explain because I will more than likely cause mass confusion for most readers. Basically, rWAR usually is lower than fWAR, but both are usable.

Can the Rangers overcome Michael Young?All of this brings me to Texas Rangers primary designated hitter Michael Young. For much of the season, all we have heard from sabermetric gurus and baseball hispters is how horrendous Young has been because his OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage)is low and he has one of the worst WAR’s of all time, and an endless amount of other numbers which proves Young is the worst player in MLB history.

While Michael Young has had his unusual moments off of the field with the Rangers, he still has over 2100 hits and a career batting average over .300. I thought to myself, “He cannot be this bad. Can he? The man was just voted the most underrated player in baseball. That has to stand for something. He is a team leader and well liked in the clubhouse.”

Well, with my newfound appreciation of sabermetrics and my love for the Rangers, I thought I would do a little research to find out how atrocious Michael Young has been. My findings, a line of .269/.300/.342 with an OPS of .642, all pathetic numbers based on what we are used to seeing from MY.

Face has hit 3 home runs, and has only 24 extra base hits. While MY is near the top of the league in singles, his extra base power appears to have completely vanished after 58 extra base hits in 2011. Young also rarely walks as he has only drawn a free pass 22 times. Here is the most concerning stat, Young’s rWAR is -2.1 and fWAR is -1.6. Yes, Young is actually costing his team wins when he plays games.

So, my findings are simple, Michael Young is indeed having an extremely dreadful year at the plate. Yet, manager Ron Washington continues to put him in the lineup and play him over younger players like Mike Olt. While many of us do not understand continuing to play Young, benching Young might cause chaos and mutiny in the locker room because of Young’s leadership status. Wash really has little choice. What we are left with is an interminable amount of Michael Young jokes on Twitter after viewing the Rangers lineup every day.

Can the Rangers overcome Michael Young?Okay, we have established Young sucks this year, and Wash will continue to play him despite Face putting up dead ball era numbers. Well, my next thought was, “How many World Series champions in the last 20 years have had everyday players/major contributors on their team statistically worse than Mike Young?” Well, I decided to research and find out if any everyday player/major contributor worse than Mike Young in 2012 has played on a World Series champion.

Note: I decided to use rWAR instead of fWAR. I realize many use fWAR, and if you choose to not read any further because I used rWAR, you have that prerogative.

Starting with the 1991 Twins, through the 2011 Cardinals (Remember, there was no World Series in 1994), the worst everyday player/major contributor for a World Series champion in the hallowed rWAR stat was Ruben Sierra with the 1996 Yankees who had a -1.1 rWAR. Yes, Michael Young is a full point below that total. Scott Brosius with the 2000 Yankees had the second lowest with a -0.6 rWAR.

I then wanted to look at the last 20 World Series champions worst OPS among everyday player/major contributors and see how Michael Young’s OPS compared to those players, and found the following: Michael Young’s current .642 OPS is higher than only 4 of the worst player’s OPS on World Series champions out of the past 20 winners. Here is the list of everyday players/major contributors with a worse OPS than Michael Young currently has:

1. Yadier Molina – .595 (2006 Cardinals)

2. Bengie Molina – .596 (2002 LA Angels)

3. Carlos Ruiz – .620 (2008 Phillies)

4. Kelly Gruber – .627 (1992 Blue Jays)

Can the Rangers overcome Michael Young?The three worst OPS belong to catchers, and Kelly Gruber was at the least a serviceable 3rd Baseman in 1992, which makes all four of the players usable every day. Young is now primarily a DH relied upon to generate respectable offensive numbers, while the others were not expected to produce much offensively and were in the lineup every day for their gloves. If Young is going to yield such miniscule numbers, he better be able to play defense, which he cannot very well at this point in his career. So, since MY cannot play the field like the 4 everyday players with worse OPS’s, I think we can say MY is still having a worse year than all four of the players mentioned above (None had near as low a rWAR as MY currently has).

After discovering this, I determined if the Rangers are going to win the World Series this year, Michael Young will have been the worst everyday player in the last 20 years on any championship team. However, I then thought to myself, “Which teams have won the World Series in any year with an everyday player/major contributor worse than Michael Young?”

So, at this point, I decided to begin with the 1990 Reds and search Baseball Reference to find out how many everyday players on World Series winners had an everyday player/major contributor with a rWAR lower than Michael Young’s current rWAR. I was going to stop searching when I found a player with a worse rWAR.

Right off the bat, I discovered Todd Benzinger with the 1990 Reds had a rWAR of -1.8. However, the number is still not lower than Mike Young’s rWAR, and Benzinger was mainly used for his defensive prowess at 1st Base. I thought I would find a player very quickly worse than Face.

Then, I searched through the champions of the 80’s. Not one rWAR lower.

Then, the 70’s. No lower rWAR.

The 60’s, the 50’s, and finally into the 40’s I made a startling discovery.

Can the Rangers overcome Michael Young?In 1941, a 1st Baseman for the New York Yankees named Johnny Sturm played in 124 out of 154 games, enough to be considered an everyday player or major contributor, and posted a rWAR of -2.3.

Here is Sturm’s line: .239/.293/.300 with an OPS of .592. Sturm had only 23 XBH’s, 3 home runs, 36 RBI, and 37 walks in 568 plate appearances. Sturm also committed 12 errors in the field.

One can easily look at Sturm’s numbers and determine he had an absolutely terrible year playing a position which requires decent power numbers, and the Yankees still won the World Series. Keep in mind, there were much less teams in MLB back then, and that Michael Young’s rWAR is only .2 higher than Sturm’s. So, we have to go back 71 years to find an everyday player/major contributor for a World Series champion worse than Michael Young.

Since I had gone back to 1941, I decided to check every other World Series winner and see if there was any other everyday player/major contributor with a worse rWAR than Michael Young. Well, I am sad to report I did not find one.

Unfortunately Ranger fans, take it for what it is worth, but one team in over 100 years of the World Series has won a World Series with an everyday player possessing a lower rWAR than Michael Young currently has.

I did find a few everyday players on championship teams who had really putrid years, but with higher rWAR’s than Michael Young. Here is the list of players who come close to Mike Young’s forgettable 2012 season thus far.

1990. Todd Benzinger – Cincinnati Reds – 118 games, .253/.291/.340 with an OPS of .631. 5 HR’s, 46 RBI, 21 XBH in 376 AB’s. -1.8 rWAR.

1985. Onix Concepcion – Kansas City Royals – 131 games, .204/.255/.245 with an OPS of .500. 2 HR’s, 20 RBI, 8 XBH in 314 AB’s. -.9 rWAR.

1961. Bobby Richardson – New York Yankees – 162 games, .261/.295/.316 with an OPS of .610. 3 HR’s, 49 RBI, 25 XBH, and committed 18 errors.-.9 rWAR.

1945. Skeeter Webb – Detroit Tigers – 118 games, .199/.254/.238 with .492 OPS. 0 HR’s, 21 RBI, 14 XBH, and committed 25 errors. -.9 rWAR

1920. Bill Wambsganss – Cleveland Indians – 153 games, .244/.316/.317 with an OPS of .633. 1 HR, 55 RBI, 28 XBH, 54 BB, and committed 38 errors. -1.0 rWAR

Obviously, every player on this list including Sturm had miserable years. Richardson and Wambsganss probably had the worst years based on the fact they played in essentially every game (Wambsganss missed one game and Richardson played in every game). At least Sturm only played in 124 games despite posting the -2.3 rWAR.

Can the Rangers overcome Michael Young?The scary thing is Young has missed only 3 of the Rangers 116 games. One only knows what his rWAR might be towards the end of the season if he does not begin to turn things around.

Now, I am not trying to say I know more about baseball than the average fan like baseball hipsters have the propensity to do. All of the numbers I found are on the internet for one to look up if one chooses too.

However, what I do know is this, if Michael Young does not begin to perform better at the plate, the Rangers will have a difficult time of winning the World Series this year. Teams do not win championships with major contributors performing as poorly as Michael Young currently is. One might be dubious of sabermetrics, but the numbers do not lie, and the numbers appear to be an ominous cloud on what has already been a bizarre season of Rangers baseball. While Michael Young deserves all the respect and admiration from fans for his many years of service in Arlington, all the criticism he is receiving is deserved. If he does not begin to snap out of the season long funk he is in, according to over 100 years of baseball history, the Rangers are in big trouble come October.

Can the Rangers overcome Michael Young?

By Dustin Dietz

Follow Dustin on Twitter @DustinDietz18

 

 

 

 

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Aug 162012
 
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Roy Oswalt and Ryan Dempster: Statistical Birds of a Feather that Flock TogetherAs far as the Rangers are concerned, Roy Oswalt and Ryan Dempster are just two pitchers trying to help Texas reach the playoffs for a third-consecutive season.

And that’s all fine and good—as well as accurate—but what this fails to address is the blooming statistical relationship between these two veteran starters. Folks, Demples and the Os might just be becoming besties..like, totally.

Their statistics are so alarmingly similar, they definitely have plenty to talk about…hey, when it comes to assessing potential lasting relationships, who needs tarot cards when you have statistics?

Eerie statistical similarities over their first three games

Ryan Dempster:

Roy Oswalt and Ryan Dempster: Statistical Birds of a Feather that Flock Together

“Hey everybody, I’m whacky!”

IP: 17 1/3, 8.31 ERA, 24 hits, 16 Earned Runs, 16 Ks, 6 BBs, and 5 HRs

Roy Oswalt:

IP: 17 1/3, 7.79 ERA, 35 hits, 15 Earned Runs, 16 Ks, 4 BBs, and 3 HRs

Other likenesses:

• Ryan Dempster (DOB: 5/3/77) is slightly older than Roy Oswalt (DOB: 8/29/77).

• Both are right-handed…whoa, I’m starting to get a little freaked out here.

• I’m reasonably certain that both had mullets in high school, and each currently own at least three Pearl Jam albums…

Roy Oswalt and Ryan Dempster: Statistical Birds of a Feather that Flock Together

“Hey man, I can be the life of the party too man. Check out my over-sized hat man!”


I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right. After all, those numbers are essentially meaningless and hold zero weight until they are presented to Chan Ho Park for further inspection. Fortunately, I pulled some strings and was able to get everyone’s favorite Ho to weigh in on the matter.

As I’m sure you guessed, he was extremely pleased. I mean how often does he get to see two pitchers who had an even worse time during their first three starts with the Texas Rangers than he did?

Um, not very often. Okay, never.

Consider the Park Ho’s stats from back in 2002, his first year (and, unfortunately, not his last year) with the Texas Rangers:

IP: 16 1/3, 6.61 ERA, 20 Hits, 16 Earned Runs, 13 Ks, 3 BBs, and 2 HRs

So, even though Chan Ho has resigned from his previous career of being a professionally horrendous hurler, his prior success at suckdom is more than enough to lend his Oswalt and Dempster assessment plenty of industry heft.

So, what do you think of the two blooming besties, Ho?

Roy Oswalt and Ryan Dempster: Statistical Birds of a Feather that Flock Together

Don’t let the suit fool you. Chan Ho is still whacky.

“I think they better be best friends—quick. They both so shitt* they need arm to cry on. Tear towel only thing hairy arms good for now! Hahahahaha. Roy small enough to leave plenty of bullpen bench for Dempster. Hahahaha. At least they have good taste in music, though. Pearl Jam best band ever. That song Black change my life.”

And there you have it.

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Aug 152012
 
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Feldman Looks to Stop Rangers Skid, Melky Cabrera Suspended for 50 Games, Former Fausto Starts for ClevelandThere have been some interesting developments around the major leagues today. Some are Rangers-centric, others not. Join me as I take you Around the League in 15 Minutes (or faster if you’re a skimmer).

“Melk Man” more manly than most

• Everyone knows that on top of being delicious, a cold glass of milk provides many essential nutrients and vitamins. Milk is always a great call unless it’s a hot day and you’re Ron Burgundy.

• Evidently, San Francisco’s Melky Cabrera—aka the “Melk Man”—had provided a sample that was rich not only in vitamin D and calcium but also testosterone. Melky will be suspended by Major League Baseball for 50 games due to abnormally elevated—think Ryan Braun-like—levels of testosterone. With 45 games left in the season and the Giants battling with the Dodgers for first in the N.L. West, you’ve got to wonder if this latest news will sit well with fans of the G-Men.

• Kudos to Major League Baseball for not only being intolerant of all PEDs, but in becoming vehemently lactose intolerant as well.

Cleveland to start “Roberto Hernandez”

• Yes, that’s right, the Tribe is going “Ex Post Fausto.” Right-hander Roberto Hernandez, formerly known to the world as “Fausto Carmona,” has gotten the green light to start tonight. The former Fausto will take on Ervin Santana and the Los Angeles of Anaheim at 9:05 (CST).

• Here’s hoping that the new Roberto Hernandez pitches more like the original Roberto Hernandez rather than the recently-retired Fausto Carmona namesake who was occasionally good, but usually not.

“Not Your Typical Car Guy. Not Your Typical Car Dealership.”

• That’s the slogan for the Mazda dealership that former Rangers lefty (and current Angel) C.J. Wilson purchased recently. Located in Chicago, Wilson’s latest look into life after baseball is only news worthy to me because it is yet another solid reason for Wilson to not retire in Texas.

• And as for the slogan, I’m sure we can all agree that Wilson is definitely not your “typical” kind of guy. As for his dealership, well, I’m sure it will be successful as there is no postseason in the world of car sales.

Yu Darvish is looking to harness his old NPB approach

• Based on Darvish’s unbelievable success in the Japanese professional league, why did his approach ever change? This slightly irks me. Sure I know it’s a far more advanced game in the U.S. and there is no comparison in the talent-level of the hitters, but he’s got plus-everything stuff-wise, so why not attack just as you did in the NPB?

• Also, if Darvish is truly struggling to find his old self, how about straight-up emulating Hiroki Kuroda in the mean time? Kuroda, whose stuff isn’t anywhere near Darvish’s, shutdown the league’s most potent offense and relinquished just two hits last night as the Yankees defeated the Rangers 3-0 in New York…Kuroda’s secret? Getting ahead of hitters and using off-speed out of the zone in pitcher’s counts. If Darvish could somehow pull this off, he’d be nearly unhittable.

Up Next:

Rangers right-hander Scott Feldman (6-7, 4.64 ERA) gets the nod for Texas and will oppose right-hander Freddy Garcia (6-5, 4.85 ERA). Garcia, the all-time winningest Venezuelan-born pitcher, has been doing his thing since Fausto Carmona was probably originally going by “Roberto Hernandez.”

First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 PM (CST)…Go Rangers!

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Aug 142012
 
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Hi, I Have Someone I’d Like You to MeetGreetings from a minor league perch in a major league town, I’d like for you to meet Miguel De Los Santos. Miguel is a 24-year-old left-handed relief pitcher currently in Frisco. He’s on the 40-man roster and has two options remaining. He has, at times, pitched as a starter, but given his repertoire, he profiles much better as a reliever and following a stint on the DL earlier this season, this has been his role. Miguel is not perfect, but he has a pitch that nearly is. His changeup may be the single best secondary offering in the entire system. It has a laughable rotation, and an almost screwball-like finish. Scouts routinely put 7s and 7.5s on it. (20-80 scouting scale) Unfortunately, a changeup is generally only effective if it is set up by a good fastball. Miggy has struggled not only to command his fastball, but also to maintain the proper velocity so the changeup is a true, well, change up. However, the primary reason I’m introducing you to Miggy is the progress he has made with his fastball in the last month. Regularly sitting 92-93, touching higher, it has become an effective weapon and something hitters have to prepare for while constantly thinking that the pitch hurtling toward them may actually be the Bugs Bunny changeup. The other weapon in his repertoire that has gotten better is his curveball. Frankly, it’s spinning tighter with a later break, often directly out of the zone. He’ll always have command issues and when it goes, it goes. Given the velocity and lack of movement of his FB, if he leaves it up, it usually goes very far in the opposite direction, but the same can be said of nearly all big league FBs left up in the zone. Lately, his pitchability has been very good. His added velocity has him starting hitters off with the FB, rather than pitching backwards as had often been the case in the past. It’s all about being ahead in the count and forcing hitters to wonder if, or more likely, when, the Bugs ball is coming.

 Another reason for Miguel’s introduction is the simple fact that he’s left handed. And on the 40 man roster. And left handed. If Ross is tiring, or injured, or if the simple need/desire arises to add a second lefty to the pen, Miguel will be in the discussion. There really aren’t many, if any, other leftys in Round Rock or Frisco with the stuff capable of getting big league hitters out. Again, he’s not perfect, but if his command is decent, his pitches can induce swings and misses at all levels.  Did I mention he’s left-handed?

Thanks for reading, and keep enjoying baseball!  Love Ya!

Your Friend,

Tepid

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