Feb 262013
 

React: Should Wash be on the Hot Seat in 2013?Ron Washington has become one of the most beloved managers in Texas Rangers history and has managed this team to levels never attained by previous squads.  With the success has come a new level of expectations in Arlington – a trip to the postseason is no longer where the bar is set, but rather considered acceptable and lackluster.

Wash do what Wash do…

Since taking the reins in 2007, Wash has managed the Rangers to a record of 520-452 and finished in the top five for AL Manager of the Year honors three times (’09, ’10 & ’11; not always a good thing).  This isn’t the place to compile “the resume of Ron Washington”, but I just wanted to set the stage.  Oh yeah, his teams also reached the World Series in 2010 and 2011…but something tells me you knew that.

So, with all this success, why is the term “hot seat” being mentioned in the same breath as Wash?  Well, because “that’s the way baseball go”.

Jim Bowden (former MLB GM & current ESPN.com contributor) from interview with Ben & Skin (ESPN Radio, 103.3 FM):

There’s a lot of pressure on managers to win when their teams are good enough to win. As long as Ron Washington makes the playoffs, his job will be fine. I think that’s the key, whether it’s the division or the wild-card, he’s gotta do that. If the Rangers are on the outside looking in come November, it would not surprise me at all if they decided to make a change. So, yeah, I think there is pressure there.

As we have been reminded throughout the offseason, baseball is a performance business where winning now is the measure of success – especially for teams with existing talent at the major league level.  With that in mind, it’s only fair that we take a look at Wash under the same scope that we would a player who fails to perform as expected when needed (ahem…Michael Young, Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli, etc.).

Two Types of Managerial Situations

For a manager, while winning isn’t everything, it certainly provides a good amount of job security.

Develop and don’t regress.  Some managers aren’t necessarily expected to win now (ex. Bo Porter in Houston), but more expected to set the tone for the team, develop young players and wait for more talent to arrive.  When Wash arrived in Arlington in 2007, he was

Win now.  Then there are managers with good major league talent and fan base and front office that expected a trip to the postseason – for these managers, winning is everything – and it’s on this list of managers where you’ll find Ron Washington.

“Hot Seat”

React: Should Wash be on the Hot Seat in 2013?To be clear, I’m not calling for Ron Washington to lose his job right now.  Far from it actually – our 2013 Field Trip T-Shirt has a Wash Theme.  We are simply asking the question, should Wash be “on notice”, and if the 2013 season were to get off on a bad foot, should there be a change?

If so, how bad would it have to get for you to feel that firing Ron Washington during or immediately after the 2013 season would be justified?  Read on, then comment below.

Argument for the “Hot Seat”

Last year’s meltdown and the perceived loss of respect late in the season are enough to warrant Wash being on the hot seat.  The window to compete can be quickly closed, and while the Rangers have some great young prospects in the pipeline, we need a manager that can deliver a championship when provided with a championship-caliber roster.

Evan Grant (SportsDayDFW.com):

…I think he’s on something of a hot seat this year. Washington didn’t have a great year last year as the Rangers manager, but I think he learned from it.

The way the 2012 season ended left us all sick, and while that can’t be all we base Wash’s job security on, I repeat…it’s about winning now when you have as much talent as the Rangers.

React: Should Wash be on the Hot Seat in 2013?

Loss of respect? We don’t care about Josh, but the fear is that other players that remain on the team feel the same way.

In addition to the decline in on-the-field performance that led to the poor ending last season, it seemed evident that Wash had lost the respect of some players.  We all remember the confrontation between Wash and Josh in the dugout in Oakland, and I know we aren’t concerned with Josh’s respect of Wash now, but it’s very possible that other players feel the same way.

If Wash has started to “lose the clubhouse”, there is no question that he should be on notice.  He must prove that he has the proper command and respect of the clubhouse in order to maintain his role in this organization.

Unbalanced managers often “lose the clubhouse” because they are too “huggy” or they are overly strict.  This could very well be the case with Wash and could be what led to the collapse last season.

Finally, Wash has been out-managed in some key situations and games during his tenure as manager – often going with his “gut” instead of a more statistically-aligned decision.  Game management, just like player management, requires balance and if Wash can’t provide more balance in his approach to both, the Rangers will need to look elsewhere for a manager that can lead this franchise back to the World Series.

Chris Bahr (SportingNews.com)

Even dating back to the team’s back-to-back World Series losses in 2010 and 2011, there were serious criticisms of Washington’s in-game management skills and alleged over-reliance on “gut decisions.

Argument against the “Hot Seat”

Back to the opening statement of this post…

Ron Washington has become one of the most beloved managers in Texas Rangers history and has managed this team to levels never attained by previous squads.

When a manager has taken you to the World Series twice in the last three seasons, he does not deserve to have his role under the microscope.  It is extremely difficult to do what the Rangers did in 2010 and 2011 and with that success, Wash has earned our patience, support and respect.

The idea of including Wash in any “Managerial Hot Seat” article is absurd given his track record and impact on this franchise and the DFW sports scene.

He has transcended the status of Major League Manager, and has become a cultural icon synonymous with a new era in Rangers baseball and everything that is fun and enjoyable about this team and this great game.

Tim Cowlishaw (SportsDayDFW.com), when asked “Do you think Ron Washington is on the hot seat after losing the division?” may have summed it up best:

No.

Where do you stand?

Again, I’m not calling for Wash’s job here – simply asking the question…should Wash be on the hot seat heading into the 2013 season?

In your opinion, is Wash on the hot seat?

Either way, what scenario would has to play out during 2013 to change your opinion?

In your opinion, is Ron Washington on the "Hot Seat" heading into 2013?

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Feb 232013
 
Baseball Do Episode 25   Reaction to Josh, a painful trip to the dentist and American League strength of schedule rankings

Nolan is really saying “shut up Josh”

Josh Hamilton is gone, but not forgotten, as his words once again merit response from the Baseball Do guys and infuriate much of Ranger Nation.  Scott and Jasen discuss Josh’s comments on DFW as a “baseball town” and his attempt to play Rangers fans that will be present to boo, cheer or stand in silence at the Rangers first home game (against the Angels) on April 5th, 2013.  Nolan thinks the Rangers can still be contenders without Josh, do you?

We experience a technical breakdown, but determined afterwards that editing it out was too exhausting and beyond our technical know-how…so enjoy that!

Do you love have another man’s fingers in your mouth?  If not, you’ll wanna hear Jasen horrifying story of a recent visit to the dentist’s office.  Got one that top’s it?  Share in the comments section below.

We wrap up by breaking down a recent article from ESPN.com’s Buster Olney related to strength of schedules for 2013 in the American League.  The rankings is interesting and is yet another way of looking at the decisions that will be made as the Rangers approach the 2013 trade deadline.

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Feb 212013
 

Weekly preview of each of the Rangers’ American League West rivals for the 2013 season – from the bottom up.

  1. Houston Astros

Breaking Down the West   Houston Astros: Will a move to the AL get them out of the cellar?

The Rangers’ cross-state inter-league rival is making the move to the American League West starting in the 2013 season to become a more frequent opponent on the Rangers’ schedule and potentially bring more intrigue and consequence to each match-up.

Breaking Down the West   Houston Astros: Will a move to the AL get them out of the cellar?

New Manager Bo Porter hopes to get things turned around in Houston.

The Astros are a young team who will struggle to really build their identity in the American League in 2013.  However, with new manager Bo Porter in place, a respected front-office and a strong farm system (4th on Keith Law’s organizational rankings),they hope to get out of the cellar in the next 2-3 seasons.

Unfortunately, with the move to the AL West (Hello DH!), the limited experience of many key players (youth) and the anticipated improvement in Seattle, it’s not likely that they will finish anywhere but last this season.  The question is, how many games will this team lose?

After finishing last in the National League Central in 2011 and 2012, with 106 and 107 losses respectively, the win’s won’t come any easier in 2013.  Is another 100+ loss season on tap for the Lastros (sorry, couldn’t resist)?  Uhhhh…yes.

The Bats & Gloves

As stated earlier, the Astros have some young talent at the Major League level and the large majority of that, if not all, falls to the position players.  With some moving parts and flexibility in the line-up, it could easily change, but…

Projected Lineup (from Chip Bailey, Ultimate Astros blog)

  1. Breaking Down the West   Houston Astros: Will a move to the AL get them out of the cellar?

    Jose Altuve will set the tone for the Astros’ lineup in 2013.

    Jose Altuve, 2B

  2. Tyler Greene, SS
  3. Brett Wallace, 1B
  4. Chris Carter, LF
  5. Justin Maxwell, CF
  6. J.D. Martinez, RF
  7. Carlos Pena, DH
  8. Jason Castro, C
  9. Matt Dominguez, 3B

There are many potential variations out there for the Astros’ lineup, but the players are pretty set with the exception of OF Fernando Martinez who should crack the lineup regularly throughout the season.

The 5’5″ Altuve is a solid lead-off option, but beyond that the Astros have a number of question marks with inexperience and inconsistency being the big culprits.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some players here, but I don’t think the Astros can count on the offense to improve enough to avoid 100 losses again.

If a couple of the youngsters (Martinez, Martinez, Wallace, Castro & Dominguez) can break out and if they can get some consistency from the veterans (Pena, Maxwell), they could help win 7+ more games in 2013, but….

The Arms

Breaking Down the West   Houston Astros: Will a move to the AL get them out of the cellar?

Can the Rocket improve this pitching staff?

A few key figures from 2012:

  • .270 Batting Average Against – 27th in the Majors
  • .337 Opponents On-Base Percentage – 28th in Majors
  • .427 Opponents Slugging Percentage – 25th in Majors
  • 2.17 K/BB – 25th in Majors
  • 1.43 WHIP – 29th in Majors
  • Only blew 19 saves…but that was on only 50 save opportunities, so good enough for a 62% Save Rate – 26th in Majors

With all due respect to Andrew McCutchen, Ryan Braun and Joey Votto…it’s not going to get any easier in the American League West.

The Astros brought former Cy Young award winner Roger Clemens in to help, but that’s not going to help unless he brought Brian McNamee along.

The Rotation

There are as many as 10 pitchers in the mix, vying for a spot in the starting rotation, but here’s what’s likely:

  1. Bud Norris
  2. Lucas Harrell
  3. Phillip Humber
  4. Jordan Lyles
  5. Erik Bedard

Brad Peacock, Alex White, Jared Cosart and John Ely are all talented young pitchers who will very likely get a shot at some point during the season as well.

The Pen

Looking at this bunch, I would say there are no clearly defined roles with setup and closing duties open for competition in Spring Training – and the possibility of some of the youngsters mentioned above (Peacock, White, Cosart and Ely) fighting for spots in the bullpen (ala Robbie Ross).

More than likely, Jose Veras will be the closer at least to start the season.

The Manager

First year rookie manager Bo Porter has his hands full, but barring a cluster of unforgivable mistakes, expect the Astros front office to have some patience with him.  I, for one, think Porter was an excellent hire and if given time can be a good major league manager.

From “The Legend of Bo Porter” on RantSports.com:

Porter studied all 162 games of the Astros season last year. He believes the Astros could have won 35 more games than the 55 that the Astros did actually win. If you do the math, that is 90 win season for the Astros and would have ultimately propelled the Astros into the playoffs as the second Wild Card. Porter said those 35 games were lost at the “breaking point”. He also went on to say all the Astros need was mental toughness, and of course, a little motivation.

Maybe a little much, but shows the enthusiasm and confidence.

The Bottom Line

Breaking Down the West   Houston Astros: Will a move to the AL get them out of the cellar?

Astros’ prospect Delino Deshields Jr.

The facts:

  • New rookie manager
  • Move to the American League
  • Lots of unproven young talent
  • Very shaky (at best) pitching staff
  • Highly regarded front office
  • More young talent in the minor league system

Not working this game by game, but here are my predictions:

  • Best case: 77-95 – Altuve solidifies himself as an up-and-coming MLB star, a couple of the young bats really break out and Brad Peacock and Alex White save the pitching staff.
  • Worst case: 52-110 – Altuve regresses and Porter can’t find the right mix offensively or with his staff all season.

Up next…stay tuned.

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Feb 182013
 

2nd Annual Baseball Do Field Trip Updated   T Shirt Design

The artwork for the 2nd Annual Baseball Do Field Trip T-Shirt is complete (pictured below).

If you haven’t already purchased your tickets to the Field Trip, we still have tickets available.

Game is Saturday, April 6th against the Angels.  Second home game of the season!  We’ll meet up at Mixed Up Burgers around 11:30 to hang out, enjoy a good pre-game meal and give away some door prizes.  We’ll head to the ballpark around 2pm (3:05 first pitch) and watch the Rangers beat the Angels.

Should be a great time!

2nd Annual Baseball Do Field Trip Updated   T Shirt Design

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Feb 172013
 

Baseball Do Episode 24   3rd base, booze and 3 keys to success for 2013Is there a position that you feel better about on this Rangers squad right now than 3rd base?  Adrian Beltre has become a fan favorite, a leader and a fixture at the position for the Rangers (and the American League All-Star team) over the last two years and will man the position for the Rangers through 2015 (possibly 2016).  It just so happens that the Rangers have a pretty salty young prospect in Mike Olt at the position as well, so what’s his future?

To break up the baseball talk, we decided to talk about the exciting topic of alcohol.  We discuss preferences, current favorites, drunken states, friends and most importantly – responsibility.

To wrap up, we go back to the “Dear Baseball Do…” question bag and Jasen provides his 3 keys to success for the Rangers in 2013.

The 2nd Annual Baseball Do Field Trip will be here before you know it.  What are you waiting on?

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Feb 152013
 

Why The Rangers Can Be Better Than Last Year

The sky is falling! The Rangers suck! Why did they trade Michael Young and let Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli leave in free agency? The Rangers will lose 100 games this year!

These are all things I’ve heard Rangers fan say this off-season. Yes, a “Fan” said they would lose 100 games. They won’t. I guarantee you that. Everyone says that the replacement guys, Lance Berkman, AJ Pierzynski and Leonys Martin cannot and will not replace the offense that the outgoing guys had. I’m here to tell you that that is simply not true.

I was watching Clubhouse Confidential on MLB Network earlier this week and they had an interesting saber metrics breakdown called linear weights where a home run was worth x amount of runs on average and so on down the list. I thought this was very interesting so I did some research, some math (god help us) and came up some very interesting numbers. Now, I don’t know the formula for wRC+ (weighted runs created) because that takes into account park factors and league played in.

What I did was simply add up all the linear weighted numbers and came up with a runs created number and then I divided that number by 162 and came out with an average number per game. I did this for Hamilton, Young, Napoli, Berkman and Pierzynski. Since Martin only has 24 career games, I used his stats for those games and averaged it out to a 155 games played season. So let’s take a look at the linear weights, which again is what each of these results are worth as far as runs are concerned: (remember these numbers are ON AVERAGE numbers)

Home Run – 1.39
Triple – 1.09
Double – .77
Single – .47
Walk – .32
Stolen Base – .16
Caught Stealing – (-.45)
Groundout – (-.24)
Strikeout – (.30)

We’ve all heard the saying “a walk is a good as a hit”, well we can clearly see here that that is not true. You would think that a double would simply be worth half of what a homerun would be right? It’s in fact worth a little more than half. What really caught my eye though is the fact that a caught stealing is worth nearly as much as a single. You have to think that if major league clubs use these saber metrics that these numbers would have some kind of effect on when and if a team attempts a stolen base.

So how bad will the Rangers offense be now that those three guys are gone? Let’s take a look:

Hamilton
HR- 59.77
3B- 2.18
2B- 23.87
1B- 39.48
BB- 19.20
SB- 1.12
CS- (-1.80)
GO- (-36.96)
SO- (-48.60)
58.26 RC

Young
HR- 11.12
3B- 3.27
2B- 20.79
1B- 61.57
BB- 10.56
SB- .32
CS- (-.90)
GO- (-69.84)
SO- (-2.10)
15.89 RC

Napoli
HR- 33.36
3B- 2.18
2B- 6.93
1B- 21.15
BB- 17.92
SB- .16
CS- .00
GO- (-21.84)
SO- (-37.50)
22.36 RC

These three combined to create 96.51 runs last year for the Rangers. That comes out to .60 runs per game (in 162 games). As you can see Hamilton and Napoli were really hurt by their strikeout numbers and Young was hammered by the ground ball out. These numbers all make sense since every Rangers fan last year was complaining about Hamilton and Nap striking out so much and Young being a ground ball machine. There is no denying the fact that 97 runs over the course of the year from three players is a lot. It’s easy to look at the RBI and Runs Scored stats and say they were worth that much. That doesn’t take into account everything else, all the runners they left on base, strikeouts with runners on and the grounded into double plays. This gives a look into the runs they created and takes away the runs that they cost their team. I feel like it’s a more accurate assessment as to how much a player is actually worth.

Now, for the three replacements, I used Berkmans 2011 season in St. Louis since it was his last full season and since Martin has never played a full season in the bigs, I took his numbers and averaged them out over a 155 games played season. Seeing is how he hasn’t really performed yet, anything he does this year better than what he has shown us so far, is nothing but a bonus. In all fairness, I have Berkmans numbers from 2012 as well and I did the same thing with those numbers as I did with Martins.

Berkman
HR- 43.09
3B- 2.18
2B- 17.71
1B- 42.77
BB- 29.44
SB- .32
CS (-2.70)
GO- (.27.90)
SO- (.36.96)
67.95 (2011)

Pierzynski
HR- 37.53
3B- 4.36
2B- 13.86
1B- 39.48
BB- 8.96
SB- 0.00
CS- 0.00
GO- (-23.40)
SO (-40.80)
39.99 RC

Martin
HR- 0.00
3B- 5.45
2B- 4.62
1B- 1.41
BB- 1.28
SB- .48
CS- 0.00
GO- (-3.9)
SO- (-4.8)
4.51 (21.70 avg)

These three guys have a combined Runs Created number of 129.64! That is an astonishing 33.14 runs MORE per season that Hamilton/Young/Napoli! That comes out to .80 per game which is .20 runs more than the three guys leaving. Bet you didn’t expect that result did ya?

Now remember, this is assuming that Berkman stays healthy and if he doesn’t, like he didn’t in 2012, than we can expect about half of his performance which would make the numbers between each set of mean, nearly identical. That still isn’t as bad as everyone is making it out to be. That is basically equal production! However, if Leonys Martin produces even as an average major leaguer, that makes up for Berkmans slack. Anything Martin does is a bonus. Berkman and AJ are going to strikeout, not as much as Napoli and Hamilton but it will be close, close enough that it will feel like the same. The biggest thing I see out of this is the ground ball outs. The new three COMBINED didn’t ground out as much as Michael Young did last year by himself. Young REALLY was a rally killer last year as some called him the grounded into double play master.

All of this is contingent on everyone staying healthy and being a shadow of their self from last season. It’s baseball, anything can happen. Berkman may get hurt the first week and this is all moot. What I’m trying to convey to you all is that the future isn’t as bleak as you once thought. These guys can perform as good as or better than the big three that left. It may not be as flashy with long home runs but it will be exciting. There will be a more controlled running game and more situational hitting. I expect a running game similar to 2010 when the Rangers would literally steal a run.

33 runs more per season can translate to roughly six more wins based on a five runs per game average. SIX MORE WINS! Remind me, how many games did the Rangers lose the AL West by?

Game on Anaheim.

Follow me on twitter @bcasey55. Follow the site on twitter @baseballdo.

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Feb 142013
 

The 2nd Annual Baseball Do Field Trip is all set.  Who would have thought that we’d ever make it to the 2nd one of these things…?

If you didn’t get to go last year, you missed out on a great time.  The food at Mixed Up Burgers was excellent (as always) and everyone enjoyed hanging out there before heading over to the Ballpark to see the Rangers beat Oakland.  If we learned a lesson from last year, it was that it’s hot on June 30th.

While this is never a true deterrent from going to the Ballpark for most of us, we decided that if we could get out to the Ballpark earlier or later in the season for some cooler weather, we would do it. That said, we moved the Field Trip up earlier in the season this year to enjoy the nice 2-3 weeks of Spring time that we get to enjoy here in Texas in early April.

Let’s get to the details:

  • Saturday, April 6th, 2013 – Angels at Rangers, 3:05pm first pitch – 2nd home game of the season!
  • Field Trip starts at 11am at Mixed Up Burgers in Grand Prairie, just a short 5 minute drive to the Ballpark.  Your Field Trip ticket includes a burger, fries and soft drink or tea at Mixed Up Burgers.  They have plenty of adult beverages as well (cold bear on tap, margaritas and the infamous $0.50 Beer Thirty), but those will be on your own dime.
  • 2013 Field Trip   Burgers, Baseball and a One of a Kind Rangers ShirtField Trip includes a world famous “2nd Annual Field Trip” t-shirt (artwork coming soon).  Please provide your shirt size(s) in the note section when you purchase your Field Trip though Paypal.
  • We’ll hang out at Mixed Up Burgers, enjoy a great meal and give out some door prizes and then head over to the Ballpark around 2pm.  Each Field Trip includes one Lexus Club ticket to the game.  We have an entire Lexus Club section reserved for this, so we’ll all be seated together.   You will receive your ticket to the game at Mixed Up Burgers.
  • All this for $60!

This is gonna be a great time!  Beautiful early-April day game against the dreaded Angels, and the former love of our lives, Josh Hamilton.  Throw in the t-shirt, great food and fellowship with other Rangers fans – it just doesn’t get any better than that.

Click here to purchase your tickets to the 2nd Annual Baseball Do Field Trip today!  We have a limited number of tickets, so don’t wait too long.  Tickets to this game will be in the high demand.

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Feb 092013
 

Episode 23   Focus on the catchers, TV Talk and Dear Baseball Do...

Are the Rangers better or worse at the catcher position than they were in 2012?  How do A.J. Pierzynski and Geovany Soto stack up when compared to their peers in the American League?

Jasen and I break down the catcher position for the Rangers in the first of their preseason position-by-position review.

We also rank their top 5 current TV shows.  Spoiler alert – Breaking Bad makes the cut, but is it in the top spot?

Last, but not least, we introduce our newest segment – “Dear Baseball Do…” in which we field questions from our Twitter friends.  If you want to have your question on a future podcast, hit us up on Twitter (@baseballdo) or Facebook (facebook.com/baseballdo) with your questions.  They don’t have to be Rangers related, or even baseball related for that matter.  Jasen and I are both experts in pretty much everything with the one exception of Jasen’s lack of knowledge in the area of the adult film industry.

Do you agree with our take on the catchers?  Got a great TV show that we missed or wanna share your top 5?  What do you think of the new intro and outro?

Leave us your comments below.

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Feb 082013
 

The 5th Element
The offseason for the Rangers has been dominated by the talk of whose going and who’s staying. Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar are the two names that come up the most when it comes to potential trades. We all know that both of these young men could be the face of the franchise soon. Elvis has already shown he is an elite shortstop and Profar homered in his first ever big league at bat showing why he is the Rangers and all of baseballs #1 prospect.

But I don’t want to talk about them right now. I want to talk about what I feel will be the most intriguing matchup and competition in spring training.

The 5th spot in the Rangers rotation.

It’s a foregone conclusion that the Rangers top four pitchers will be right handed starters Yu Darvish and Alexi Ogando and left handers Derek Holland and Matt Harrison. That leaves the fifth spot open for competition. The candidates are said to be lefties Robbie Ross and Marin Perez and right hander Justin Grimm among others.

Ross spent the entire 2012 campaign in the big leagues as a reliever and quickly became a fan favorite. The Rangers even named some nachos after him, calling them the “Totally Rossome Nachos”. He even signed an autograph for my cousin as he was leaving the stadium in his truck one night. (My cousin is a creeper for waiting at the players exit for him but that’s neither here nor there). He made 69 starts in the minors before surprising everyone, including the Rangers, and making the big league club out of spring training. The knock on Ross is that he only has two pitches but so did Alexi Ogando and Neftali Feliz. Ogando was an all-star as a starter in 2011 and Feliz was having a great first half in 2012 before blowing out his elbow.

Justin Grimm was called up in June of 2012 to make his debut against the now division rival Houston Astros. He got the win in his debut going six innings allowing six hits, three runs and recording seven strikeouts. Considering he had never pitched above the AA level, most considered his debut a huge success despite it being against one the worst teams in all of baseball. He split the rest of the year between AAA Round Rock and the big leagues. Grimm went on to make one more start and three relief appearances and compiled a 9.00 era over 14 IP at the big league level. He has above average velocity with a fastball that routinely touches 95 and a sharp curve. According to Rangers scouts, he lacks command in his mechanics that would allow him to repeat his delivery the same each time which could ultimately be what holds him back.

Martin Perez was another guy who split time between the Rangers and the minors. Perez has plus stuff across the board with his fastball, curve and changeup. The biggest issue with Perez, just like Grimm, is his command. He walked 15 big leaguers in just 38 IP which comes out to just a little over four per nine innings. Any baseball fan will tell you, walks equal runs and that’s not a good thing. The bright side? He’s only 21.

So who will take the 5th spot in the rotation? Robbie Ross clearly has the most big league experience and Martin Perez has the most starting experience. Without boring you to death with stats and who pitches better within the division, I believe that Martin Perez will win the fifth and final spot in the rotation.

WHAT? MARTIN PEREZ??

Yup. I’m just as surprised as you are. When I originally started writing this article I was going to go with Robbie Ross as winning the spot but the more I thought about it, the more I believe that Perez will win it. The Rangers only have one left handed reliever out of the bullpen right now in Michael Kirkman and I wouldn’t consider him a lefty specialist. You are going to need more than one lefty to battle the likes of Josh Hamilton, Josh Reddick and Raul Ibanez and that’s just in your division! Ross fits that reliever role much better than Perez does. He’s used to it, he’s accustomed to it and he thrived in it last season. Perez, despite being owned by the Oakland Athletics, has so much more room to grow and excel. It’s almost as if I’m saying Perez will win the spot by default over Ross and maybe I am but I believe that Martin Perez will come out on top.

Robbie Ross was nothing short of brilliant in his rookie season and much like Neftali Feliz, I think the Rangers see his assets being utilized the best out of the bullpen. Perez doesn’t fit the bullpen mantra like Ross does. As long as the 5th spot avoids the Oakland A’s all season, Perez will do fine! Remember, whoever wins this final spot in the rotation will likely be replaced mid-season when Colby Lewis returns from his elbow injury. The battle will certainly be an intriguing one to watch. If Ross pitches in spring training like he did last year, he will push Perez either to the bullpen or back to AAA. It would not surprise me to see Ross win in but I’m sticking with Perez as my winner.

My sleeper pick to surprise everyone is Cody Buckel. Even deeper sleeper, Neil Ramirez. Write it down.
I’ve been wrong before.

And I will probably be wrong again.

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Feb 072013
 

Podcast Episode 22   Top 2 questions for Rangers offense and Field Trip time!Scott and Jasen dig into a couple of questions the Rangers face heading into Spring Training – first base and center field.

  • Will Gentry and Martin platoon or can someone emerge as the full-time center fielder?
  • Is Mitch the answer at first base?  Can he stay healthy and gain the trust of Wash to become a full-time player?

Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section below!

The 2nd Annual Baseball Do Field Trip is right around the corner as well.  We discuss details of this year’s Field Trip as well as come highlights from last year.

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