Jul 132013
 
JoeNathan

Scott & Jasen have been on a two month hiatus, keeping them from much involvement on the site or in terms of podcasting…so where have they been?  Truth be told…life just happens.

Baseball Do Podcast Episode 28   Where weve been, the Rangers at the break and trade targets...

Expectations…one’s meeting them, the other isn’t.

After catching up, the guys take a quick look at the State of the Rangers as of today (July 13th, 2013) and discuss what they expect to see in the second half.  They also provide their biggest surprises and disappointments from the first half of the season.

With the trade deadline looming less than three weeks away, they guys discuss potential trade targets (Garza, Gallardo, Stanton, etc.) and touch on the price tags associated with some of these big names.

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Mar 192013
 

Jasen and I got a chance to hangout (no pun) with Patrick and Eddie from ShutDownInning.com tonight.  We talked about Mitch Moreland, getting in bed with Elvis Andrus and Bob Bland.

Enjoy!

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Oct 182012
 
James Shields 2

With the emergence of Jurickson Profar, the Rangers may be in a position to improve the line-up or pitching staff via trade of Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler or Nelson Cruz (would require Kins to move to RF).  Expect rumors to run rampant this off-season and potentially into next season, primarily related to Andrus and Kinsler.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes:

“Rays pitcher James Shields has a $9MM option for this year and will likely be unaffordable for the club after that.  It seems likely that Tampa Bay will finally bite the bullet and trade pitching to get the offense that they need.  One National League GM suggested that the Rangers would be a good partner as they could offer Elvis Andrusand someone else for Shields.  Some baseball officials also haven’t ruled out the Rays moving David Price to fill a couple of positions.”

Would you deal Elvis for Shields?  Would you up the ante if we’re talking about Price?

A few things to note:

  • Thursday Sound Off   Elvis for Shields?Elvis, 24, is currently under contract through 2014, making $4.8M in 2013 and $6.5M in 2014.
  • Shields, age 30, is under contract through 2014- both 2013 and 2014 are team options at $9M and $12M respectively.
  • Price, age 27, will be arbitration eligible, but isn’t eligible for free agency until 2016.  Won’t be cheap, but could be under control and would more than likely prefer to just work out a long-term deal rather than deal with arbitration over the next 3 off-seasons.
  • Ken Rosenthal (FOX Sports) believes it that to fetch Price, the Rangers would have to include Cody Buckel and Martin Perez.

A quick look at the numbers:

Elvis Andrus

Year Age Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2009 20 TEX 145 480 72 128 17 8 6 40 33 6 40 77 .267 .329 .373 .702
2010 21 TEX 148 588 88 156 15 3 0 35 32 15 64 96 .265 .342 .301 .643
2011 22 TEX 150 587 96 164 27 3 5 60 37 12 56 74 .279 .347 .361 .708
2012 23 TEX 158 629 85 180 31 9 3 62 21 10 57 96 .286 .349 .378 .727
4 Yrs 601 2284 341 628 90 23 14 197 123 43 217 343 .275 .342 .353 .695
162 Game Avg. 162 616 92 169 24 6 4 53 33 12 58 92 .275 .342 .353 .695
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/18/2012.

James Shields

Year Age Tm W L ERA GS CG SHO IP ER HR SO WHIP BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2002 Did not play in major leagues (Injured)
2006 24 TBD 6 8 4.84 21 1 0 124.2 67 18 104 1.436 2.7 7.5 2.74
2007 25 TBD 12 8 3.85 31 1 0 215.0 92 28 184 1.107 1.5 7.7 5.11
2008 26 TBR 14 8 3.56 33 3 2 215.0 85 24 160 1.153 1.7 6.7 4.00
2009 27 TBR 11 12 4.14 33 0 0 219.2 101 29 167 1.325 2.1 6.8 3.21
2010 28 TBR 13 15 5.18 33 0 0 203.1 117 34 187 1.461 2.3 8.3 3.67
2011 29 TBR 16 12 2.82 33 11 4 249.1 78 26 225 1.043 2.3 8.1 3.46
2012 30 TBR 15 10 3.52 33 3 2 227.2 89 25 223 1.168 2.3 8.8 3.84
7 Yrs 87 73 3.89 217 19 8 1454.2 629 184 1250 1.223 2.1 7.7 3.68
162 Game Avg. 14 11 3.89 34 3 1 227 98 29 195 1.223 2.1 7.7 3.68
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/18/2012.

David Price

Year Age Tm W L ERA GS CG SHO IP ER HR SO WHIP BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2008 22 TBR 0 0 1.93 1 0 0 14.0 3 1 12 0.929 2.6 7.7 3.00
2009 23 TBR 10 7 4.42 23 0 0 128.1 63 17 102 1.348 3.8 7.2 1.89
2010 24 TBR 19 6 2.72 31 2 1 208.2 63 15 188 1.193 3.4 8.1 2.38
2011 25 TBR 12 13 3.49 34 0 0 224.1 87 22 218 1.137 2.5 8.7 3.46
2012 26 TBR 20 5 2.56 31 2 1 211.0 60 16 205 1.100 2.5 8.7 3.47
5 Yrs 61 31 3.16 120 4 2 786.1 276 71 725 1.173 3.0 8.3 2.80
162 Game Avg. 17 9 3.16 33 1 1 218 77 20 201 1.173 3.0 8.3 2.80
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/18/2012.

 So, what do you think?  Would you swap Elvis for Shields and hand over full-time SS responsibilities to Profar?  Would you up the ante (Buckel & Perez) along with Elvis if you could get David Price in return?

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

Elvis is being mentioned as a potential trade chip to Tampa for pitching. What would you do?
Not interested in dealing Elvis
Deal Elvis for Shields
Deal Elvis+ (Buckel & Perez) for Price
View Result
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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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Sep 052012
 
MLB: Minnesota Twins at Texas Rangers

Word on the street is that some other Texas team that plays some other type of sport has a game tonight or something. I doubt seriously that anyone will pay much attention to this bizarre type of “ball” that evidently requires a “foot.”

After all, the Texas Rangers are looking to take their second game of the four game series with the Kansas City Royals this evening. A win tonight would even up the season series with four wins apiece.

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

Kansas City Royals (61-74)

Texas Rangers/Kansas City Royals, a Dempster/Teaford Game 3 Preview

Per Fangraphs’ WAR, Francouer is having the worst season of any MLB regular, with his -2.0.


CF David Lough
SS Alcides Escobar
LF Alex Gordon
DH Billy Butler
C Salvador Perez
3B Mike Moustakas
RF Jeff Francouer
1B Eric Hosmer
2B Johnny Giavotella

VS

RHP Ryan Dempster (9-6, 2.87 ERA, 1.13 WHIP,7.6 K/9, 2.5 BB/9)

Over his last three starts, Dempster is 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA and 20 strikeouts. Tonight he’ll be looking for his fourth-straight win and might have an advantage over the Royals in that they are largely unfamiliar with him.

Of current Royals players, only Alcides Escobar (.154/.267/.154) and Jeff Francouer (.400/.400/.800, 1 HR, 4 RBI) have faced Dempster in more than four plate appearances.

Texas Rangers (80-55)

Texas Rangers/Kansas City Royals, a Dempster/Teaford Game 3 Preview

Elvis flashed some pop yesterday, as he launched his third homer of the year in the first inning.


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

VS

LHP Everett Teaford (1-3, 4.30 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 4.8 K/9, 2.9 BB/9)

This will be Teaford’s first appearance against the Rangers this season. He pitched in relief against Texas on three occasions last season, and did not allow a run in his 1 2/3 innings of work.

Teaford will be making just the eighth start of his big league career, and it was borne out of necessity due to last Saturday’s double header against the Minnesota Twins.

Royals’ skipper Ned Yost, has dubbed tonight’s game as “‘pen day,” due to the fact that Teaford—despite a solid 5 1/3 inning outing last week—is still considered a part of the KC bullpen rather than its rotation.

Regardelss, Teaford profiles as the type of pitcher than can challenge the mighty Rangers’ offense. He’s a soft-tossing port-sider that is largely unknown to the Rangers. He’s only faced David Murphy and Mitch Moreland, and they have gone a combined 0-for-3 against him.

Texas Rangers/Kansas City Royals, a Dempster/Teaford Game 3 Preview

Teaford (left) and Tim Collins (right), found the recently departed Johnathan Broxton’s pants mighty hard to fill.

Oakland Athletics Watch

• After tonight, the A’s will play 17 of their next 20 games on the road, and hopefully, will lose the vast majority of those games.

• As of this post, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were ahead of the A’s 4-1 in the top of the ninth inning. If the Angels hold on for the win, they will have swept the A’s, which, ultimately, helps the Texas Rangers.

• Should the Angels hold on for the victory, the Athletics would drop to 4 1/2 games behind Texas, while the Angels would climb to “just” seven games behind the Rangers.

Notes:

• There was speculation that Jurickson might get the start at second base since Kinsler was manning the DH spot tonight. Alas, it will be MY that gets the nod at his “natural” position.

• Keep your eyes peeled for a possible Profar sighting for tomorrow’s “gettaway” game against he Royals.

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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 062012
 
troubleintexas

Texas Rangers News: So, Whats Up with Roy Oswalt and Josh Hamilton?The Texas Rangers had just taken two-of-three from the Kansas City Royals, a team that they had failed to defeat in ’12 prior to their three game series last week in KC. That should be good news, but there were some uncharacteristic clubhouse issues that overshadowed the Rangers’ first series win in almost two weeks.

Josh Hamilton—More than a nicotine fit?

• As we all know, Rangers’ slugger Josh Hamilton is a very troubled man. Also, the entire world (those that care at least) have been enlightened as to why Hamilton went from totally MVP-legit to “can barely muster a hit” in the span of two months.

The man’s personal life is none of my business and really doesn’t concern me in the slightest. However, his quips to the media and his recent scuffles with the coaching staff have lead me to believe that he is going through something more intense than nicotine withdrawal. And no, I’m not hinting at substance abuse. I don’t think that’s the issue here.

However, something is eating at Hamilton—could be his personal life, movie deal, or whatever—that he normally has been able to deal with no problemo. The further Hamilton slips into the recesses of his own mind, the less likely retainment of his services becomes. In fact, I’m of the belief that Hamilton will not be a Ranger next season, and should things continue as they have, he may be given the C.J. Wilson treatment.

Roy Oswalt—Clubhouse Problem?

• Evidently, Roy Oswalt, who looked fantastic last night over his two innings of relief work, was asked to go out for a third inning, and declined. If this was due to any other reason aside from physical inability, it is absolutely inexcusable.

Naturally, Oswalt was a starter his entire career, and there was a fundamental agreement in place that he’d remain in that role for the Rangers. But still, any major leaguer that can look outside of his own personal dilemmas for a fraction of a second should be able to understand that baseball is a business, and the business of winning entails making moves that are best for the team, not best for Roy Oswalt, etc.

Besides that, if Oswalt is the competitor that I believe him to be, he should take this “demotion” as an opportunity to kick butt and show the world that he’s not a shell of his former All-Star self. He can pitch his way back into the rotation, especially given the way the injury bug has feasted on the Rangers’ rotation this season.

Here’s hoping there was some sort of mixup or miscommunication between Washington and Oswalt that will explain yesterday’s scenario. If not, this is the type of rift that can cause clubhouse issues. If that’s the case, it’s too bad. Oswalt had looked really sharp in his two appearances coming out of the ‘pen.

The Michael Young situation

• Is their any coincidence that the very moment I read that Michael Young is starting at shortstop tonight, there was an ear rattling thunderclap followed by rain? Sure, it wasn’t quite a flood of biblical proportions, but Texas in August is about as likely to see precipitation as Rangers’ fans are to, well, see MY start at shortstop…

Elvis Andrus isn’t starting tonight due to a sore shoulder—that he wouldn’t have encountered had he not blown past his third base coach’s stop sign last night. It’s why Young gets the nod at SS.

Young playing defense at all anywhere, is newsworthy. First and foremost, he’s just plain awful in the field. Secondly, it limits Ron Washington’s ability to play Mike Olt.

Young has not-so-quietly strung together his worst season as a major leaguer in 2012. Anytime he is run out there wearing the leather—and to a certain extent offensively—the Rangers’ chances of winning are diminished.

Mike Olt had a bad game yesterday, striking out with the bases loaded and committing the game-ending error on a bad throw from third to second base. Still, his power potential and normally reliable glove work (at third base at least) make him a more viable option to start over Young.

Michael Young’s career UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) is -55.5 at shortstop. Yes, my coffee just went down the wrong pipe as well.

I suppose this means that the Rangers backup shortstop, Alberto Gonzalez, has played Plinko with Washington’s Tree of Trust while plummeting down to Earth after hitting every single branch.

Up Next:

The Texas Rangers travel to Boston today for a three game series with the Red Sox. Starting tonight for Texas is RHP Yu Darvish (11-7, 4.38 ERA) vs. Boston’s RHP Aaron Cook (2-5, 5.24 ERA).

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Aug 022012
 
Elvis

Walk Off Rangers Win so Huge it Overshadows Dempster/Olt DebutsHad the Rangers lost last night, you’d better believe that this post would be all about Ryan Dempster and Mike Olt’s Texas Ranger debuts.

Only problem with that is the Rangers did not lose. Quite the opposite, as they won in thrilling fashion, 11-10.

And oh boy was that a much needed “w.”

So bad have the Rangers bats been, and so woeful the starting pitching, I feel it’s best we bathe in the glory of last night’s throat punch to the second-place Los Angles Angels of blah-blah-blah.

Stay down, Angels. Save yourself further embarrassment. Should you rise, we’ll just lay you out again, each time more forcefully than the last. This Division, this League, it’s ours. We’ve got this sh**.

That’s how Texas Rangers baseball suddenly feels again—and it’s fantastic.

It’s a win that will be fondly remembered as summer’s heat recedes while the regular season gradually gains intensity before blooming into postseason play.

Man, that Rangers’ tenth inning…A half frame that functioned as snake oil for the soul, capable of healing all ailments, while restoring plummeting batting averages and halting the rise of our chief A.L. West combatants.

Hell, it might even halt Roy Oswalt’s regression and fix Josh Hamilton’s inexplicable batting misadventures.

Some thoughts from last night’s tenth inning Angels-beat down:

Joe Nathan

• In the top of the tenth inning, in a 7-7 tie—in a game that the Rangers had trailed by as much as six runs, closer Joe Nathan immediately delivers his best Koji Uehara impersonation. Eight-hole hitter, Chris Ianetta, promptly whistles a go-ahead home run into the left field seats for an 8-7 advantage.

Then, after two quick outs, Nathan plunks Torii Hunter, and here comes Albert Pujols. Yep. Two-run rocket shot to left field, Rangers down 10-7. I’m not sure what left quicker, Pujols’ homer, or the crowd’s feel-good vibe.

But, so magical was last night, that Joe Nathan not only gets to stay in town unharmed, he gets the win!

Michael Young

• Sure, we all know Michael Young is having a down season. No need to delve deeper than that. Young seemingly grounds out to Angels’ shortstop Andrew Romine, only to reach on an error. He’d eventually score the run that brought the Rangers within one, 10-9.

Mitch Moreland

• Injured for over a month, Mitch Moreland has hit safely in all three of his games since being reactivated from the disabled list on Monday. No hit was bigger than his line-drive single that tied the game up 10-10.

Moreland could provide the stretch run offense the Rangers have so sorely lacked.

Ian Kinsler

• Yes, Kinsler was the only out recorded by the Angels in the tenth inning. Yes, it was a meekly hit weak pop-up that didn’t leave the infield…but his game-tying, leadoff homer in the bottom of the ninth inning more than makes up for any of his shoulder-dropping, groan-inducing games of pepper with second baseman the league over.

Nelson Cruz

• Nelson Cruz’s laser beam solo shot should have been for the walk-off win. But that doesn’t matter. What does is that The Boomstick is heating up baby…and Nellie goes nuclear, he can carry the team almost solomente.

Mike Napoli

• Quietly—it’s hard to make much of a racket after last year’s slash line—Mike Napoli is starting to show signs of life—as well as pop. Naps has hit five home runs in his last 10 games and was an almost-overlooked 3-for-4 last night with 2 RBI.

Elvis Andrus

• Despite Ian Kinsler’s big game last night, there will be plenty that feel Elvis Andrus should be the Texas Rangers’ leadoff hitter. I’m beginning to be one of them. It’s not that Kinsler sucks, but it seems his skill-set might be better suited lower in the batting order.

Regardless, Elvis made a case for not only batting leadoff, but for team MVP last night. One of the few Rangers that has stayed consistent at the plate all season long, Elvis’ ringing, walk-off double still induces goose bumps nearly 14-hours later.

Ryan Dempster

• Arguably the happiest Ranger of all, Dempster toes the rubber for his Texas debut tonight. Why so happy? It’s hard enough switching teams, but how about having to be your team’s ace and losing streak stopper all at the same time?

Mike Olt

• If Olt takes to the big leagues as he has at every level of the minors, the Rangers might have their own version of Mike Trout. Okay that’s a bit far-fetched, but Olt has flashed prodigious power, a plus-glove and a knack for drawings walks throughout his minor league career.

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Jul 132012
 
Rangers All Stars

The All-Star break officially concludes today as the Rangers (and the other team’s we don’t care about as much) return to action tonight in Seattle.

Seems like a good time to check in our five pre-season predictions.

Checking in our pre season predictions...#1.  Ian Kinsler will win the 2012 AL MVP Award

Not looking too good on this one.  Kinsler started off the season with a bang, like the entire Rangers offense, but has since been good (not great) at best.

Currently leads MLB in At-Bats, Plate Appearances and Runs Scored, but that would be expected by an average lead-off hitter with the Rangers batting order following him.  He’s also 6th in MLB in doubles, which is nice, but not going to get you any nods at the end of the year when they are handing out the hardware.

Current slash is .279/.341/.442 for an OPS of .783 which would be the lowest in his career if the season ended today.

It’s gonna take one heck of a second half from Kins to prove us right on this one.

Checking in our pre season predictions...#2. Elvis Andrus will be the starting short-stop for the 2012 American League All-Star team

WRONG.  All Star – Yes, Starter – No.  Elvis had a great first half, but the Rangers voting base couldn’t overcome the power of Jeter.

E’s current slash is .293/.368/.393 for an OPS of .761 which would be the highest in his career (next best was .708 last year), so he continues to improve.

That said, starting in an All-Star game may not occur until Jeter is completely out of the game or has changed positions, simply due to the respect around the league Jeter has earned.  Feels very similar to the Ozzie Smith situation in the 80′s when Barry Larkin was clearly the better player, but feel short in the voting to the fan favorite.

Checking in our pre season predictions...#3. Mitch Moreland will remain healthy all year and will hit 30 home runs

Mitch was on pace for this, before landing on the DL last month with a strained hamstring.  He had 10 dingers in 158 ABs, which would translate to 30 dingers if he could have approached the 450-500 AB plateau.

Moreland should return to the line-up later this month or in early August, but the 4-6 week absence will be too much to overcome for the second part of this prediction to come true.

Checking in our pre season predictions...#4. At the all-star break, Joe Nathan will be in the top five save leaders in Major League baseball

7th in the American League close enough…?  Guess not.

Nathan has been dominant since getting over his early season woes and has compiled 18 saves in 36 games with a 1.73 ERA and a 0.936 WHIP.

The opportunities haven’t been there as often as needed in order to get him into the top 5 in MLB, but we are very happy with the Rangers closer.

Checking in our pre season predictions...#5. The Texas Rangers win the 2012 World Series

The Rangers went into the season as one of the favorites and have done nothing to lose ground here.  We’ll check back in on this one in November…

So, all in, we are looking to be 0 for 4 on our first 4 predictions (with Kinsler still as a pipe dream), with our fifth and final prediction still very much in play.

Looking forward to the second half!

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Jul 022012
 
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Lucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer ClassicThe Texas Rangers will have at least seven representatives at this year’s All-Star Game in Kansas City.

Rookie right-hander Yu Darvish made the final ballot and can be voted onto the All-Star team by following this link—there is NO limit to votes, so, by all means vote “Yu” until your heart is content, or your wrist locks up in a fit of carpal tunnel syndrome…and then vote a few times more.

The Rangers have had as many as five players at the Mid-Summer Classic in previous years—including the last two—but have never had more than two voted to start. The seven—possible eight—players on this year’s roster is by far the most the Rangers have ever had during their 40-year history.

Here’s a quick look at those that have already made the cut:

The starters:

Josh Hamilton, OF—11,073,744 votesLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
.314/.381/.643, 25 HRs, 73 RBI

Hamilton obliterated the vote record set last season by Toronto’s Jose Bautista. Fellow A.L. starters, Curtis Granderson (NYY) and Jose Bautista (TOR) combined, received fewer votes than Hamilton’s gargantuan number.

This is the fifth All-Star nod for Hamilton, and the fifth straight time he’s been voted in to start. Hamilton is just the third Texas Ranger to receive the most votes in any given year. He joins catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez (2,808,456 in 2000), and second baseman Alfonso Soriano (3,466,447 in 2004).

Adrian Beltre, 3B—4,613,180 votesLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
.323/.355/.527, 14 HRs, 52 RBI

In an exceptionally close race, Beltre beat-out Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera by just 416,595 votes. To wit, the balloters got this one right, as Beltre’s contributions are just as important in the field as they are at the dish.

Beltre, who started last year’s Mid-Summer Classic due to an injury to Alex Rodriguez, is a three-time All-Star participant.

Mike Napoli, C—4,317,718 votesLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
.235/.335/.438, 12 HRs, 30 RBI

“Nap-O-Lee!!!!” finished well ahead of Minnesota’s Joe Mauer to earn the start at catcher. This is Napoli’s first All-Star selection.

Although his numbers haven’t been great thus far, this honor has been bestowed upon him due to overall popularity and fantastic 2011 accomplishments—that, plus the fact that A.J. Pierzynski is a douche-bag of the highest order.

The rest of the Rangers’ best:

Ian Kinsler, 2BLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
.276/.335/.451, 9 HRs, 40 RBI

Over the first few weeks of the balloting, Kinsler was in the lead for all A.L. second baseman. NY’s Robinson Cano eventually overtook him for the lead, but Kinsler was voted in by players, managers and coaches.

This is Kinsler’s third trip to the Mid-Summer Classic.

Elvis Andrus, SSLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
.307/.383/.412, 16 stolen bases

Andrus was selected by manager Ron Washington as a reserve, after finishing second to the A.L.’s top vote-getter at shortstop, Derek Jeter.

Elvis is having the finest offensive season of his young career. Andrus has the highest OBP of any other A.L. short stop, and is also tops in the league in stolen bases.

This is Elvis’ second All-Star nod.

Matt Harrison, LHPLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
11-3, 3.16 ERA, 1.24 WHIP

Harrison is tied for the A.L. lead in wins. Selected by Washington, don’t be surprised if Harrison is the American League’s starting pitcher. After all, the 26-year-old left-hander certainly has the numbers to backup such a decision.

Joe Nathan, RHPLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
0-2, 1.87 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 11.2 K/9, 18 saves

Just two years removed from Tommy John Surgery that caused him to miss all of the 2010 season, Nathan was selected by Washington to participate in his fifth All-Star Game.

Aside from two early-season hiccups, Nathan has been exactly what the Rangers were looking for—a shutdown closer that’s one of the finest in all of Major League Baseball.

Nathan’s 10.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio is best in all of baseball for any pitcher that has appeared in at least 30 games.

On the fringe:

Yu Darvish, RHPLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
10-5, 3.59 ERA, 117 strikeouts

Darvish, despite a quality start, lost in his first bid for win number eleven. Regardless, the rookie right-hander from Osaka, Japan, has been outstanding for the Rangers during the first half of 2012. He’s the team leader in strikeouts, second in wins and until last night’s 3-1 loss, had been undefeated at home in the hitter’s haven of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

You can make Darvish the Rangers’ team-record eighth All-Star participant by voting here.

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