Scott Hiler

Oct 132012
 
Yu & Feliz

Podcast Episode 20: Neither here nor there...It’s that awkward time between the regular season’s disappointing end and the off-season rumors heating up.  Hope you dig it, because this is Baseball Do in it’s truest form – baseball, Rangers, random topics and inappropriate stuff…

Check it out and leave us a comment below to let us know what you think.

Coming up next week:

  • Jasen’s horrifying hypothetical
  • Halloween talk
  • Bucket list – Sporting events
  • Jasen’s home life
  • If we have time…Rangers 2013 outfield
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Oct 112012
 
Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees

Jason Churchill of ESPN.com noted this morning that the Rangers could be in the market for an everyday centerfielder, regardless of Josh Hamilton’s return or departure.

The Texas Rangers, whether or not they re-sign Josh Hamilton this offseason, may be in the market for an everyday centerfielder. The Boston Red Sox may be at the point where trading Jacoby Ellsbury, a free agent after the 2013 season, makes more sense than not.

Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald suggests the two clubs could match up in a trade, and wonders if the Rangers could be open to parting with left-hander Derek Holland for Ellsbury.

A few things to note:

  • Thursday Sound Off: Dutch for Ellsbury?The 29 year-old Ellsbury is under contract only through the end of 2013, after which he will become a free agent.  He was paid around $8M in 2012 and is arbitration eligible for 2013.
  • Holland (26) is under control through 2018, with ’17 and ’18 both being club options, with pay escalating to $10M plus in 2016 and beyond.
  • Craig Gentry…

So, what do you think?  Would you like to see Dutch pack his bags for a move to Boston in return for one year of Ellsbury in center?

Vote on the poll and sound off in the comments section!

 

Should the Rangers trade Derek Holland to Boston for Jacoby Ellsbury?
Yes
No
View Result

 

Got other thoughts on what the Rangers should do this off-season?  Check out “Time for Changes in Arlington” and let us hear from you.

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Oct 102012
 
JoshRon

How quickly the last three years have flown by for Texas Rangers fans.  How quickly expectations change for a team.

Time for changes in Arlington?Just three years ago, the Texas Rangers were a week or so removed from the end of a strong 2009 campaign (85-77) in which they finished 10 games back of the Angels in the AL West and well short of the Wild Card clinching Boston Red Sox (8 games back) (Note: the Rangers would have made the playoffs as the 2nd Wild Card in ’09 if current layout had been in place).

Something special was on tap for this young and exciting team.  Behind the talented core of Josh Hamilton, Ians Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Nelson Cruz, the Rangers were going to be a force to be reckoned with in the very near future.

Fast forward three years and the Rangers have accomplished what many franchises haven’t accomplished in a lifetime; both on and off the field.

Here’s a quick look at some of key moments along the way (to be read with banjos playing along):

  • Ownership change - Welcome back Nolan
  • Time for changes in Arlington?Cliff Lee
  • Hambone win’s the MVP
  • 2010 AL West Champs
  • First Postseason series victory
  • Nefti stuck out A-Rod
  • First World Series birth
  • So long Cliff
  • Time for changes in Arlington?Welcome aboard Adrian
  • Napoli Ever After
  • 2011 AL West Champs
  • One strike away…twice
  • David Freese
  • So long C.J.
  • Yu
  • The collapse of 2012

Over the course of the last three years the Texas Rangers have broken new ground and have been labeled as a “model” franchise – the ground work for such was being laid several years prior by team management and franchise leadership.

From the fan’s perspective, the Rangers have gone from mediocrity on the brink -> to one step from the mountaintop -> to crashing back down with great disappointment. Such devastating disappointment is often met head-on with change – something we can expect from the Rangers over the course of the coming off-season.

Baseball history is littered with examples of this, most recently the collapse of the 2011 Boston Red Sox which resulted in the firing of manager Terry Francona and the eventual trade of Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett.

So, what change could be in store for the Rangers this off-season?  How different could this team look by Opening Day 2013?  Let’s examine some of the potential changes in Arlington:

Managerial Change?

Time for changes in Arlington?While Wash has opened himself up for plenty of criticism, I don’t think this is very likely.

The heat could be on if the Rangers don’t bounce back from their poor finish in 2012 and they continue to play uninspired baseball in 2013, but I think the team’s ownership and front office still believe in Wash.

While the manager is ALWAYS part of the problem when a team is playing poorly, I think Wash get’s some leniency due to his success over the last 3 years.

Besides Wash, the coaching staff could take a hit if Mike Maddux is lured out of Texas for a managerial role somewhere else (Boston perhaps).

Let Josh walk…

Time for changes in Arlington? Josh was widely seen as a big part of the problem over the last 1-2 months of the season.  While he wasn’t the only player that demonstrated a lackadaisical approach as the season came to a close, none seemed less interested than Josh.

While I have no inside scoop on what went wrong, my theory is that the team revisited an extension with Josh and his agent at some point in June or July which left Josh feeling bitter.  My guess would be that the contract negotiations weren’t real close in terms of length and Josh felt unappreciated.  Whether it was intentional or not, Josh let his feelings regarding the negotiations impact him on the field and in the clubhouse.

Is it likely that Josh is playing his home games somewhere other than Arlington next season?  I think it’s a foregone conclusion.

How big of an impact is Josh leaving on the team and the line-up?  Well, when Josh is playing up to his potential, he has the ability to carry a team on his back as we have seen many times during his time here in Arlington, but…when Josh is frustrated and uninterested, he can become a distraction that can poison a clubhouse.

Plan and simple, this is very well a situation where both parties will benefit from a change.  Something has clearly gone awry in the relationship.

Dustin Dietz will have a article up in the next few days that analyzes Hamilton’s potential contract situation and sheds some light on the risks involved with giving a hefty contract to a player north of 30 years of age.

Hamilton isn’t the only Ranger entering free agency, but will be the biggest story.  Tim Howell is taking a closer look at each of the free agents from the 2012 Rangers squad to determine who the Rangers should make a push for and who they should just let walk away (Hamilton here, Napoli here, more to come).

Shake-up via trade

Time for changes in Arlington?The possibilities here are endless.  Just a few names that could be mentioned this off-season and into the 2013 season:

  • Ian Kinsler – Kinsler is the most polarizing player on the Rangers, according to Jasen and the rest of Twitter.  With the arrival of Jurickson Profar, Kinsler could be moved to make room at second base.  The 30 year-old plays a offensively scarce position, can hit anywhere from 1st to 5th in a line-up and is under team control through 2018 (option in ’18) – so there would be plenty of interest from around the league.
  • Elvis Andrus – For the same reason cited above for Kinsler, Elvis is a little more expendable now if the front office truly believes that Profar can be a transcendent player.  Andrus’ age (24), position and talent ceiling would make him more valuable than Kinsler to any potential suitors.  He’s under contract through 2014, so he’ll never have more trade value than he has right now coming off season in which he posted career high in almost every offensive category.
  • Nelson Cruz – Again, the Profar factor is a part of this as the Rangers would more than likely need to make room in the outfield if Kinsler were to be relocated. Nellie is signed through next season, so if the Rangers felt they weren’t going to be in position to resign him – or – felt the interest wouldn’t be there after 2013 due to the youth movement, now would be the time to move him for maximum value.
  • Jurickson Profar – This is the least likely to happen.  According to multiple reports, it would take something to the tune of Felix Hernandez or Clayton Kershaw to pry the young phenom away from the Rangers.
  • David Murphy, Mitch Moreland, Mike Olt – You never know.
  • I don’t think there is anyway the Rangers would or could deal Michal Young heading into the final year of his contract.  Young will be 36 later this month and is due $16M.
  • Derek Holland, Neftali Feliz, Martin Perez, Alexi Ogando….and them – Current value isn’t equal to potential for all of these guys, so I doubt we’ll see Dutch moved.  Really aren’t too many Rangers pitchers in general that would have good value and make sense from the Rangers standpoint.

The list could go on and on, but the bottom line is, there will be change.  Hopefully this change will bring some renewed life to a team that sputtered down the stretch, but only time can tell.

What do you think?

Looking at the potential trade bait above, give me a realistic trade that you’d like to see the Rangers pursue.  Do you want to see Josh back with the Rangers in 2013?  Do you think it’s time for a managerial change?  Use the comments section below.

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Oct 052012
 
Yu Darvish

Baseball Do Post season Prep Podcast   Episode 19

The Rangers are playoff bound!  Are we excited or what?  The regular season didn’t quite shape up like we had hoped, but nonetheless, the post-season brings new hope!

Ok, was that a little too “rah-rah”?

How about this:

The Rangers are limping into the post-season with a one-game, all-or-nothing match-up against the Orioles tonight at the Ballpark.  While on paper, we should kill the Orioles tonight, we are hesitant to be too cocky based on the lifeless and uninspiring performance of the team over the last two weeks.

We discuss the collapse and what we expect to see from the Rangers during the post-season with a comparable level of lifelessness and lack of inspiration.

Who needs to step up for this team to have a chance?

If the Rangers get past Baltimore, do they stand a chance from there?

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Oct 032012
 
RangersAs

Here we are at game 162…

How the West was won...At no point this season, did I think it would come to this.  Even yesterday, I felt confident that Matt Harrison would get it done.  I felt confident that the bats would come to life just enough to claim victory in game 161 and wrap up the AL West title.

But that’s not the way it worked out…and here we are.

A small part of me is excited.  While I would have loved for the Rangers to have locked up the division a month ago, there is something to be said for this Game 7-like finality.

The more realistic and pessimistic side of me wants to puke.  The Rangers look like a deflated, uninterested, scared team and a meager shell of what we saw early in the season.  This side  of me is not confident that we can secure the division with a win today.  This side of me is not confident we can beat Baltimore in a one game Wild Card to get to the ALDS.  This is not my favorite side of me…

Let’s take a quick look at how the West was won….

AL West Division as of April 30th, 2012

Tm W L W-L% GB RS RA pythW-L%
TEX 17 6 .739 124 68 .750
SEA 11 13 .458 6.5 94 103 .458
OAK 11 13 .458 6.5 73 92 .396
LAA 8 15 .348 9.0 80 94 .427
Feeling good at this point.  The Angels were the bigger concern coming into the season, and Rangers fans were just as enthused about their poor start as they were the Rangers strong start.

AL West Division as of May 31st, 2012

Tm W L W-L% GB RS RA pythW-L%
TEX 31 20 .608 291 212 .641
LAA 26 26 .500 5.5 199 191 .519
SEA 23 30 .434 9.0 218 216 .504
OAK 22 29 .431 9.0 164 202 .406
That’s more like it.  Angels surged in late-April/May with the arrival of Mike Trout and the bottom feeders took their rightful spots – 9 games out close to 1/3 of the way through the season.

AL West Division as of June 30th, 2012

Tm W L W-L% GB RS RA pythW-L%
TEX 50 29 .633 426 324 .623
LAA 43 35 .551 6.5 337 297 .558
OAK 37 42 .468 13.0 297 301 .494
SEA 34 46 .425 16.5 315 344 .460
The Rangers continued to hold a nice lead in the division at 6.5 games over the Angels.  Oakland and Seattle continued to slide as expected.  It clearly looked like a two horse race as we approached the All-Star break.

AL West Division as of July 31st, 2012

Tm W L W-L% GB RS RA pythW-L%
TEX 59 43 .578 507 434 .571
LAA 57 47 .548 3.0 475 416 .560
OAK 56 47 .544 3.5 414 384 .534
SEA 49 57 .462 12.0 423 422 .501
What the hell happened here?  Rangers (9-14 in July) gave up some ground to the Angels (14-12 in July) and Oakland got HOT, posting a record of 19-5 during the month of July.  All of the sudden, there looked to be a third horse in the race.  While there July performance couldn’t be ignored, it was seen as a bit flukey and I think many questioned if they could sustain the pace through the end of the regular season.

AL West Division as of August 31st, 2012

Tm W L W-L% GB RS RA pythW-L%
TEX 78 53 .595 675 562 .583
OAK 74 57 .565 4.0 560 486 .564
LAA 70 62 .530 8.5 631 588 .532
SEA 64 69 .481 15.0 518 528 .491
The Angels faded during August and Oakland kept pace with the Rangers.  With a month to go, there was still a small fear of a Angels surge and most felt like Oakland was for real at this point.
Wild card for Oakland?  Sure.
AL West title for Oakland?  Seemed like a stretch.

AL West Division as of September 30th, 2012

Tm W L W-L% GB RS RA pythW-L%
TEX 93 66 .585 799 688 .568
OAK 91 68 .572 2.0 694 605 .562
LAA 88 71 .553 5.0 758 677 .552
SEA 73 86 .459 20.0 597 642 .467
This is where we stood Monday morning.  Headed to Oakland in complete control of the division and our post-season placement…and our DESTINY if you dig the emotional cheese.

AL West Division as of Today

Tm W L W-L% GB RS RA pythW-L%
TEX 93 68 .578 803 695 .566
OAK 93 68 .578 701 609 .564
LAA 89 72 .553 4.0 767 687 .550
SEA 74 87 .460 19.0 607 651 .468
Two games with Oakland.  Two losses.  Game 162 today at 2:30pm to determine:
  • The American League West Division Title
  • Post-season placement – Wild Card or #1/#2 seed (depending on Yanks outcome)
  • Another chapter in the Rangers History Book.

Will this team be looked back on as the team that came through when their backs were against the wall – or – will this be the team that cued up changes.  Changes in personnel, changes in approach and changes in how the team is perceived by the rest of the MLB community.

How the West was won...

Hey Dempster – need ya to be great today brother!

I want to be the guy that believes the Rangers can wrap this up today and play like I know they are capable of in the post-season.  I also want to be independently wealthy without actually working, but…

Love you all.  See you on the other side.

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Oct 012012
 
Martin Perez

The Rangers head out to Oakland for a three game series against the Swingin’ A’s, who are currently only 2 games back in the AL West.  While the Rangers are the in the driver’s seat and have locked up a position in the post-season, the division title is on the line; not to mention avoiding the craziness of a one game Wild Card game if the division is lost.

Jarrod Parker vs. Martin Perez

Can Perez lock up the division in Game 1 of the series?

With the season on the line, could we ask for anyone better to be on the mound tonight for the Rangers?  Yes.

October Baseball   AL West Title on the line in OaklandThat said, the young Perez is taking the mound whether we like it or not.

  • Perez has faced Oakland twice this season, both starts, and is 1-1 with a 10.50 ERA and a 2.167 WHIP across 6 innings of work.
  • Most recent start against the A’s was last Wednesday when he was quickly dispatched after giving up 5 runs on 6 hits after just 2/3 of an inning.
  • His other start against Oakland, came on June 30th (Baseball Do Field Trip!), where he got the win, giving up 2 earned runs over 5 1/3 innings.
  • His body of work is really too small to read into it too much….

We know Perez has the ability to be great.  We know he has the stuff to shut down the opposition.  We have seen glimpses, but nothing sustained.  Could he put it together for a solid 6 innings tonight against the A’s?  One can always hope.

  • Oakland’s team batting average over the last 14 days is .253, compared to .237 across all of 2012.
  • During that same 14 day span, Yoenis Cespedes has a 1.027 OPS and Coco Crisp has a 1.300 OPS.
  • Oakland’s team BABIP over that same span is .302 compared to .280 for the season.

The A’s are playing great baseball and seem to have a ton of momentum with just the right amount of lady luck mixed in.

Jarrod Parker hates you

October Baseball   AL West Title on the line in OaklandThe A’s counter the Rangers young left-hander with a youngster of their own in  23 year-old Jarrod Parker.  Parker enters tonight’s match-up with a 12-8 record on the season with a 3.44 ERA and 1.260 WHIP.

  • Parker is 3-1 with a 2.31 ERA over the last month of the season, striking out 27 and walking only 6 during the span.
  • Parker has two starts against the Rangers on the season, and has earned the victory in both of them, going 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA and a 0.857 WHIP.
  • 14 of Parker’s 28 starts have come at home, where he has proven to be more effective with a 2.49 ERA and a 1.170 WHIP.

It’s not all doom and gloom…he’s not untouchable…as proven by the Kansas City Royals, who beat his ass back on August 14th.  Rangers need to channel Alex Gordon and Alcides Escobar.

Parker faces a Rangers offense that we all know is capable of knocking any pitcher in baseball out early…but has been inconsistent throughout the large majority of the 2012 season.  Could the Rangers bats be on the verge of a post-season breakout?

  • Mike Napoli has posted a 1.130 OPS (compared to .818 on the season) over the last 14 days with 5 home runs.
  • Nelson Cruz is also experiencing a surge with a .940 OPS (compared to .786 on the season) over that same span.

Outside of one inning, the Rangers bats haven’t had much luck against Parker, but given the match-up tonight, that trend has to change.

If the Rangers are going to wrap up the AL West division tonight, it’s going to be a high-scoring affair.  Realistically, I just don’t see how Perez will be able to keep the Oakland bats completely at bay.  I do think the Rangers can get to Parker, but will it be enough to overcome?

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Sep 122012
 
Jurickson Profar, Lou Marson

Thanks to everyone who participated in the most recent Baseball Do Ticket Giveaway.  We had planned to give away one pair of lower level tickets to Thursday’s Rangers game with the Indians, but we had such great participation we decided to give away two pair!.  Our winners are:

Adam Andrews of Longview, TX

and

Michael Kenyon of Dallas, TX

Enjoy the game guys!

Be sure to check back often (or better yet, subscribe over on the left), follow us on Twitter (@baseballdo) and like us on Facebook (facebook.com/baseballdo) for great coverage of your Texas Rangers from the fans perspective.  Stay tuned for more giveaways!

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Sep 112012
 
Eric-Nadel

How often do you listen to the Rangers on the radio?

More than likely, not often enough.  With a TV in most living rooms, bedrooms, some kitchens and bathrooms and even some backyards – along with the increasing popularity of MLB.TV where you can watch a game live on your phone or tablet – radio has fallen from the secondary source for a game even further down the list.

Rangers Fans: Vote for Eric Nadel for 2013 Frick Award

So, for those of you who rarely or never catch a Rangers broadcast on the radio, I invite you to partake in a fun experiment.  Next time you sit down to watch the game, mute your TV and tune in to the Rangers broadcast on radio (ESPN, 103.3FM) and enjoy Eric Nadel.  You’ll thank me later.  Just be sure you don’t tune in too early and inadvertently catch any Randy Galloway…might sour the experience.

Some of you may already employ this method of enjoying a Rangers game.  For some of you, radio may be the only option.  For many, you know how great Eric Nadel is, but TV still makes up 90% or more of your Rangers broadcast experience.

For sentimental reasons, I try to listen to games on the radio as often as possible.  I’m not going to tell you that I tune in to the radio “mute for Nadel” every game or even half the time, but listening to a game on the radio can sometimes be more relaxing and when possible, I let Eric Nadel paint the picture for me.

Nadel, who is in his 34th season of Rangers broadcasting and was inducted into the Rangers Hall of Fame in August, and is one of 41 nominees for the 2013 Ford Frick Award.

Rangers television broadcasters Tom Grieve and Steve Busby also made the list of 41 nominees.

Per Barry Bloom (MLB.com), “The field for the prestigious award sponsored by the National Baseball Hall of Fame will be narrowed to 10 finalists — three from the pool of 41 names and another seven selected by a Hall of Fame committee.”

Call to Action for Rangers Fans

[important]Fans can go vote at www.facebook.com/baseballhall[/important]

Rangers Fans: Vote for Eric Nadel for 2013 Frick AwardThe award, given annually since 1978 to a broadcaster with a long career of excellent service announcing Major League Baseball, was won this year by FOX broadcaster and former big league catcher Tim McCarver.

The winner will be honored at the Hall of Fame’s awards presentation on July 27, 2013 at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, N.Y. The induction ceremony for any new electees to the Hall is slated for July 28 in a field adjacent to the Clark Sports Center.

Let’s make this happen.  Eric really is one of the best in the business and deserves to make it to the Final 10.

Some Nadel Gold to brighten your Tuesday


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Sep 092012
 
Rangers Fans

Interested in getting your grubby little hands on a pair of Rangers tickets?  Better yet….lower level Rangers tickets (Corner Box Section 39) for this Thursday’s game against the Cleveland Indians.

We’re giving them away, and all you have to do to be eligible to win them is follow these two easy steps:

  1. Join the Baseball Do Email list.  All you have to do is plug your email address into the box over the on left and Subscribe.
  2. Email our Ticket Hotline team (pictured) at tickets@baseballdo.com from the email address that you sign up with.  Include your name and city in the email.

Want free lower level tickets to a Rangers game?

[notice]You must complete both steps (subscribe and then email us from the subscribed email address) to be eligible.[/notice]

If you are a current subscriber, all you have to do is step #2.  

It’s a WIN-WIN.  By signing up, you not only get blog entries and site notifications delivered directly to your inbox, but you also get a chance to win tickets and will be eligible for other giveaways in the future.

This giveaway is for 2 tickets to the Rangers game on Thursday, September 13th against the Cleveland Indians.

We will select a winner on Wednesday at 6pm and announce it during Wednesday night’s Rangers game on the site and via Twitter.

If you provide your email address, we won’t email you without a good reason. We won’t sell, rent, or give your email address to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Ever.

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Sep 072012
 
Mike Napoli 3

Which Naps coming back?According to T.R. Sullivan (MLB.com), Mike Napoli continues to make strides in his recovery from an injury to his left quad.  While it sounds like Nap just needs to get more comfort in his running, Rangers fans hold out hope that we get the 2011 version of Nap upon his return, rather than what we saw during the first 4+ months of the 2012 season.

Want the 2011 version of Nap back for the final month of the season and the playoff run?  I have the answer!!  Read on…

A look at the numbers…

Napoli, who has not played in a game since August 10th (DET), was making it clear that 2011′s performance was the outlier in his career and not the norm.  Here is a quick look at Nap’s career numbers:

Year Age Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2006 24 LAA 99 268 47 61 13 0 16 42 51 90 .228 .360 .455 .815 110
2007 25 LAA 75 219 40 54 11 1 10 34 33 63 .247 .351 .443 .794 107
2008 26 LAA 78 227 39 62 9 1 20 49 35 70 .273 .374 .586 .960 148
2009 27 LAA 114 382 60 104 22 1 20 56 40 103 .272 .350 .492 .842 120
2010 28 LAA 140 453 60 108 24 1 26 68 42 137 .238 .316 .468 .784 115
2011 29 TEX 113 369 72 118 25 0 30 75 58 85 .320 .414 .631 1.046 173
2012 30 TEX 92 301 45 67 7 2 17 40 50 108 .223 .343 .429 .771 101
7 Yrs 711 2219 363 574 111 6 139 364 309 656 .259 .357 .502 .859 126
162 Game Avg. 162 506 83 131 25 1 32 83 70 149 .259 .357 .502 .859 126
LAA (5 yrs) 506 1549 246 389 79 4 92 249 201 463 .251 .346 .485 .831 119
TEX (2 yrs) 205 670 117 185 32 2 47 115 108 193 .276 .382 .540 .922 140
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com
Generated 9/6/2012.

As you can see, Napoli’s 2012 performance is down across the board from that magical 2011 season.

  • .223 batting average is actually the lowest of his career.  He’ll have a limited number of games upon his return to try to bring that up over .228 he hit in his 2006 rookie season in Anaheim.
  • 108 whiffs in 92 games YTD exceeds the respectable 85 (for a slugger) he accumulated in 2011 in 113 games played.
  • Walks is really the only thing that doesn’t seem to have gotten worse (50 YTD compared to 58 in 2011).
  • Check that – he has 2 triples!

You could go on and on, and I won’t, but the point is that it looks like Nap was playing well above himself in 2011 and his performance has regressed to the mean.

Could we get Nap v.11 for the stretch run?

Taking a closer look at 2011, we see the cycle of Nap’s season, and there is hope:

Split G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
April/March 17 45 12 12 3 0 6 12 13 8 .267 .431 .733 1.164
May 21 63 9 13 3 0 4 13 10 17 .206 .320 .444 .764
June 8 28 3 5 1 0 0 0 1 9 .179 .233 .214 .448
July 18 61 16 27 8 0 5 14 7 12 .443 .500 .820 1.320
August 28 102 20 31 5 0 7 17 13 23 .304 .388 .559 .947
Sept/Oct 21 70 12 30 5 0 8 19 14 16 .429 .518 .843 1.361
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com
Generated 9/6/2012.

Started the season off with a bang, slid back into mediocrity in the early summer months and finished the season and post-season at a ridiculous All-Star level.

Last year was truly “The Year of the Napoli”:

Now, a closer look at 2012 YTD:

Split G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
April/March 20 70 11 18 1 0 7 14 6 27 .257 .338 .571 .909
May 25 77 14 17 2 2 2 11 11 27 .221 .322 .377 .699
June 23 76 11 18 3 0 3 5 12 26 .237 .356 .395 .750
July 19 60 7 11 0 0 5 8 17 19 .183 .364 .433 .797
August 5 18 2 3 1 0 0 2 4 9 .167 .318 .222 .540
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com
Generated 9/6/2012.

May and June brought similar levels of mediocrity after a strong start in April, but we started to see a bit of an uptick in July with Nap’s OPS creeping up closer to the .800 range, which would be considered above average – especially at the catcher position.  Disregard August numbers given the injury.

A closer look at July shows us that his batting average was at the lowest level it’s been all year, but his walks and power numbers were up.

  • 5 home runs in 60 July at-bats (HR/12.5 AB) vs. 5 home runs in 153 May/June at-bats (HR/30.6 AB)
  • 17 walks in 19 July games vs. 23 walks in 48 May/June games

By no means was this July in line with what Nap did to close out his 2011 campaign, but as mentioned above, it gives us a glimmer of hope.  As good as this current team is, it could use Napoli v.2011.

Theories on Nap’s decreased production

OK, full disclosure before we go any further…I’m the same guy that was ready to fork over the bank to Nap before the season started.  I thought we had seen the breakout in 2011 rather than just a prolonged hot streak from an above average MLB hitter – and I’m not fully convinced I’m wrong (proven by this article), but his 2012 performance is like mud in my face at this point.

Clearly, when you look at the career stats above, 2011 was the outlier, so perhaps the real question is – Where in the hell did 2011 come from, and how do we get it back for the next two months?  Let’s first examine the top 5 theories behind why his 2012 performance hasn’t matched what he did last year (with odds since I gamble on everything):

  1. Which Naps coming back?He’s misses C.J. Wilson – while they had a little off-season friction over C.J. tweeting out Nap’s cell phone number, could it be that they really were buds?  They both made Dustin Dietz’s “Team D-Bag”, so might they have more in common than we actually realize?  Nap has dismissed a friendship, much a relationship that could cause a funk like he’s been in much of 2012.
    “You know, I haven’t even talked to him since the end of last season,” Napoli said after the so-called prant. “We don’t have that type of relationship.”
    ODDS – 75:1 
  2. Which Naps coming back?He misses Jered Weaver and the rest of the Halos – Let’s face it, Nap’s first season here in Texas was the honeymoon, and the honeymoon is always fun!  Well, maybe the honeymoon is over.  Napoli was drafted by the Angels organization in 2000.  It’s natural for a little homegrown loyalty to develop in players that come up through the ranks and experience their first success all with one organization.  The theory calls out Weaver specifically because they clearly have a friendship (suck on that C.J.), which we were all reminded of at the 2012 All Star Game (here and here) – and there’s nothing wrong with that…as long as Nap’s longing for quality time with his former homies isn’t the reason for his decreased production.
    He’s a professional.  He has the off-season to rekindle the flames.  Seems like a long shot.
    ODDS – 60:1 
  3. Which Naps coming back?The Ankle of Steel – Look at that picture!  Zoom in on it, crop it, posterize it, make it black and white, rotate it, make it look like a Zombie, do whatever you want to it…it’ll still makes you a little queasy.
    Physically, he’s over it, proven by this ability to effectively run the bases and play the catcher position during the first four months of the season.  But mentally?  Emotionally?  Could he be addicted to the pain?  Addicted the baboon ankle transplant be affecting his other senses and abilities?  Doubt.  Seems like another long shot.
    ODDS – 45:1
  4. Too much nookie -
    Which Naps coming back?Which Naps coming back?Which Naps coming back?Which Naps coming back?Which Naps coming back?Which Naps coming back?Which Naps coming back?Which Naps coming back?  Yes it’s them again…
    Which Naps coming back?Which Naps coming back?
    Sorry…that one got mixed in accidentally.
    No need for further examination of this one.  Nookie makes us stronger.  Theory trashed.
    ODDS – 1,000,000:1
  5. Which Naps coming back?The Evan Grant Pizza Curse –  It would be a first…that we know of, so I’m not 100% sure I can label it as a curse already, but maybe this will dissuade Mr. Grant from naming a pizza after a player ever again.  So far, every time Grant’s done this, the player follow’s it up with a decrease in production the following season.  It’s groundbreaking, but a strong contender.
    ODDS – 15:1

The Odds On Favorite

Overuse of the “NA-PO-LI” chant by Ranger fans -

Last season, the chants started in early October and carried through the playoffs and World Series – fans called out with the chant in key situations and were usually answered with clutch performances from the overnight fan favorite.

This season, fans were half-heatedly chanting “NA-PO-LI” with the bases empty and 2 outs in the 5th inning of a game the Rangers already had in the bag.

Can you see how it would lose a little power?

ODDS – 2:1

There you have it.  Vegas Odds say that we, the fans, can bring back Napoli v.2011.  It has nothing to do with C.J. or Weaver, his baboon ankle or nookie consumption, or even that damn pizza.  It’s about respecting the power of the chant.

I move that we reserve the “NA-PO-LI” chant for those times when we need it most.  For those times when we need some magic and when a situation calls for Super Nap (formerly known as Napoli v. 2011).

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