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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Oct 092012
 
Will Napoli be back in Texas in 2013?

Mike Napoli: Should The Texas Rangers Re Sign The Slugging Catcher?The Texas Rangers’ Josh Hamilton is the biggest name in this winter’s MLB Free Agent sweepstakes. So big a name is Hamilton, that another key offensive weapon in Texas is often overlooked. Mike Napoli, despite a precipitous decline from the previous season’s offensive production, provided 24 home runs and has been the team’s most productive catcher since Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez.

And like Hamilton, Napoli could seek a new suitor this winter. Should Napoli follow Hamilton, the Rangers could find themselves scrambling to replace a combined 67 HRs and 184 RBI from last season.

It’s funny to think that the Rangers wouldn’t re-sign Mike Napoli. After all, 2011—Napoli’s first season in Texas—might be best remembered as “The Year of the Napoli.”

For the better part of 2011, Napoli crushed every offering headed his way. His second-half frenzy and subsequent postseason romp—coupled with Nelson Cruz’s October power surge—helped drive the Rangers towards their second-straight American League Pennant. Tampa Bay’s manager, Joe Maddon—whose team was the first victim of Napoli and company—coined 2011 as “The Year of the Napoli,” a catchphrase that reverberated throughout the postseason as Rangers fans fervently chanted his name: “Nap-O-Li!! Nap-O-Li!!!” Few were the times that Napoli didn’t capitalize on his fan’s chants or the opposition’s pitches. However, as 2012 would attest, it was a good thing the Rangers were patient in signing him to a long-term deal.

The Rangers’ Patience Paid Off

By signing Napoli to a one-year $9.4M deal last February, the Rangers avoided arbitration and skirted a long-term commitment. Granted, there were those—present company included—that clamored to extend Napoli on a multi-year deal. 2011’s magical run proved a strong spell. As it turned out, not committing to Napoli long-term was a shrewd move. Since the Rangers decided to wait it out, they now have tangible proof that 2011 was more hot streak than a sustainable run of promised potential. Granted, since Napoli is one of  the premier power-hitting catchers in baseball, his average annual salary should exceed last year’s one-year deal. A three-year, $36M contract would probably land “Nap-O-Li!!!” back in Arlington for the remaining years of his prime.

Despite last season’s statistical letdown, Mike Napoli—who has averaged 27 HRs per season while in Texas—has been the Rangers’ best offensive catcher since the iconic Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez.

Down on the Farm: Help at Catcher?

Mike Napoli: Should The Texas Rangers Re Sign The Slugging Catcher?

If there is a glaring weakness in the Texas Rangers’ farm system—a system  ranked as one of MLB’s finest—then it is a lack of depth at the catching position. Former 2010 first round pick, Kellin Deglan is an intriguing prospect. Deglan flashed some power with Hickory of the South Atlantic League (SAL) in 2012, as he hit 12 home runs. Deglan, a career .225 hitter in the bush leagues, is athletic, but raw. Fangraph’s Mike Newman ranks fellow SAL luminary Jorge Alfaro slightly ahead of Deglan, with a high-ceiling and nearly non-existent floor. Like Deglan, the 19-year-old Alfaro is at least three years away from the big leagues.

Geovany Soto and Other FA Catchers (Been there, done that)

Geovany Soto is one option to replace Mike Napoli. Soto was acquired in the trade that netted the Rangers his former Chicago Cubs battery mate, Ryan Dempster, to boot. While with Texas, Soto, the 2008 NL ROY, flashed moments of greatness but was largely a letdown. Ironically enough, most of the free agent catchers available are former Rangers. Gerald Laird, Rod Barajas, Matt Treanor, and Yorvit Torrealba have all played in Arlington with varying degrees of success and failure. Philadelphia’s Carlos Ruiz, and Atlanta’s Brian McCann, are technically free agents, but both have 2013 club options that their teams are likely to exercise.

So, What do you think? Should the Texas Rangers re-sign Mike Napoli? I’d love to hear your feedback, just respond with your thoughts in our comments section below.

Mike Napoli: Should The Texas Rangers Re Sign The Slugging Catcher?

Follow Timothy On Twitter

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Sep 212012
 
MPHI

Perez vs. Iwakumi, A Rangers/Mariners Game 1 PreviewI must apologize for my recent absence and reluctance to post. I have been suffering from acute “papercut-itis.” For those of you that have suffered through this daunting dilemma, it is far more painful than the equally dreaded malady, “keyboard abrasion.”

Seriously though, if Josh Hamilton can sit out a few games with a sinus infection minus the infection, I should be able to skirt a few posts due to a paper cut that didn’t actually break the skin.

Adrian Beltre: Texas Rangers’ MVP?

• Adrian Beltre’s legend continues to grow. Home run number 34 couldn’t have come at a better time. His two-run blast supplied the necessary runs Texas needed to seal the deal on the LAA series, 3-1.

• Beltre’s 34 homers are the most he’s had since he knocked out 48 in 2005 while with the Los Angeles Dodgers, which led the National League in long balls that year.

Yu Darvish Continues to Dazzle

• For the seventh-consecutive start, The Yu surrendered three earned runs or less while pitching at least 6 2/3 innings. Over that span, he’s seen his ERA drop from 4.54 to 3.90. Since August 24, Darvish has the second-lowest ERA (1.47) in the American League.

• With 214 strikeouts on the season, Darvish now has sole-possession of second place on the all-time list for rookies.

Michael Young: Stringing Together Consistent Excellence

• Over his last 10 games, Michael Young is batting a robust .429. In last night’s dramatic 3-1 win that sealed the series for Texas, MY set the stage for Adrian Beltre’s heroics by doubling off of Angels’ closer Ernesto Frieri.

Scott Feldman is out, Martin Perez is in

• After being the Rangers’ best starter for the entire month of July, right-hander Scott Feldman has fallen back to earth with a resounding thud. After riding a six-game winning streak, Feldman hasn’t ended up on the right side of the win/loss column since way back on August 4 in Kansas City.

• His starts have ranged from average to atrocious and his worst start of his current bad stretch occurred in his most recent start. Scooter lasted just 2 2/3 innings against the Seattle Mariners while he surrendered six earned runs on seven hits.

• Left-handed rookie Martin Perez came on in relief in the aforementioned Scooter start, and had no problems at all with the Mariners, as he surrendered no hits over his 4 1/3 innings of work. That outing impressed the powers that be enough to place Feldman back in the bullpen and to give Perez the fifth-starter slot for the remainder of the regular season.

Up Next:

LHP Martin Perez (1-1, 3.38 ERA) has replaced Scott Feldman as the Rangers’ fifth starter for what is likely the remainder of the season. Perez will oppose Seattle’s RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (6-5, 3.39 ERA).

The first pitch is scheduled for 9:05 PM (CT) and is the first game of a three-game series with fellow A.L. West “rivals,” the Seattle Mariners.

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Sep 032012
 
Yu2

Chen Music: Rangers Rough up Royals, 8 4Well, that was a very satisfying win…one that was almost a true “KC Masterpiece.” Yu Darvish was outstanding. He retired the first 17 batters he faced—and almost made it 18—before allowing his first baserunner.

All told, Darvish lost the perfecto, no-hitter and shutout in that three-run sixth inning but still managed one of his better starts of the season.

Normally it’s hard to top a possible perfecto, but the way the Rangers’ offense has been swinging it of late, that’s exactly what happened.

Here’s a look at some numbers of note and notes on those numbers…

87

• The number of pitches Yu Darvish threw over his seven innings. It’s the fewest he’s pitched in a game all season and the lowest total pitch count since he threw 93 back on May 27 against the Blue Jays.

• Today marked the eleventh time Darvish has worked at least seven innings in a game, and it was the third consecutive time he’s done so.

1 and 1 equals 2

• Number of times Nelson Cruz was plunked in today’s game. Also the number of pitches it took for Michael Young to connect for a two-run home run immediately after Cruz’s beaning in the ninth inning.

9

• Number of points David Murphy—currently in third place in the A.L. batting race—trails leader Mike Trout (.333).

• Murphy qualified for the batting title yesterday after obtaining the necessary number of plate appearances. A player must have 3.1 plate appearances per team game played.

80

• Current Rangers win total. It’s the third-fastest time the Rangers have reached that mark in the franchise’s 40-year history. Just like the 1999 Texas Rangers, they landed win number 80 in game number 134. They also share an identical record with their 20th Century predecessors up to this point (80-54). The ’99 club finished at 95-67, a team record for wins that stood until last year, when the Rangers notched 96 regular season wins.

507

• Career wins for Rangers’ manager Ron Washington. Today’s 8-4 win pushed him past Johnny Oates (506) for second place on the all-time list. Current Boston Red Sox skipper, Bobby Valentine, had 581 wins during his tenure as the Rangers’ manager, from 1985-1992.

11

• Number of home runs Adrian Beltre has hit in his last ten games. He’d hit 17 in his previous 120 games…

Up Next:

LHP Matt Harrison (15-8, 3.30 ERA) toes the rubber for the Rangers tomorrow and will oppose Royals’ RHP Jeremy Guthrie (6-12, 5.48 ERA). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM (CST).

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Sep 022012
 
Texas Rangers v Cleveland Indians

Feldman Falters in the First, Rangers Cant Recover as Tribe triumphs 4 3Scott Feldman is beginning to develop a pattern.

No, I’m not just talking about his current five-game losing streak. Feldman is having—quite consistently over his last six starts—one bad inning.

Every start.

Last month against the Detroit Tigers, it was the four-spot he surrendered in the sixth inning that was his ultimate undoing. In his next start, against the Yankees, it was a three-run third. The Orioles jumped on him for four in the fifth during his next go-around…then the Twinkies dropped a deuce on Feldy in the fifth inning (once again.) And, last night, the Tribe gave Texas a Scooter-scalping for four earned runs in the first inning.

If you’re keeping score at home, he need only surrender a big second-inning to close out the first six frames, dart-style.

Last night’s 4-3 loss had the makings of an extremely short outing for Feldman, as Oswalt was beginning to get loose in the bullpen with just one out in the first inning.

Feldman recovered nicely, and stellar relief from Alexi Ogando and even gasp! Koji Uehara, kept the Indians to only four runs, total. Unfortunately, Adrian Beltre can’t do it all himself and the first-frame four-spot proved insurmountable.

Here in a few hours the Rangers will turn to Derek Holland to try and take their fourth-straight series, so hey, pound a few coldies and go get ‘em tomorrow…

Oakland Athletics Watch

• I don’t know about you, but I still find myself scoreboard watching—without even looking at Oakland’s box scores. I just don’t consider them a threat. But I think that it’s high time to start giving them more than a cursory glance.

They are currently a measly three games out of first place with a 75-57 record. Think about that for a moment. The Texas Rangers are having their best season in the franchise’s history…and the stupid Oakland A’s are only three games behind them.

With their current record, the A’s would be in sole possession of first place in the A.L. Central as well as the N.L. West…it’s definitely time to circle our calendars for September 24—September 27, when the A’s arrive for a four game series in Arlington that might just have some playoff implications…

Up Next:

LHP Derek Holland (9-6, 4.90 ERA) is currently riding a modest two-game winning streak. For HollandO, a native of Newark Ohio, there is truly no place like home. The 25-year-old lefty is 2-0 with a 2.16 ERA against the Tribe over his career.

For the Indians, it’ll be RHP Zach McAllister (5-5, 3.82). Like the Indians, McAllister has struggled over the last couple of months. He’ll be vying for just his third win since July.

The first pitch is scheduled for 12:05 (CST).

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Aug 202012
 
Michael Young 8

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

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

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

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

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

By: Dustin Dietz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Yadier Molina – .595 (2006 Cardinals)

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

3. Carlos Ruiz – .620 (2008 Phillies)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then, the 70’s. No lower rWAR.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can the Rangers overcome Michael Young?

By Dustin Dietz

Follow Dustin on Twitter @DustinDietz18

 

 

 

 

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Aug 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 102012
 
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The 1972 Texas Rangers won 54 games all season long…The 2012 Rangers squad had 52 wins heading into the 83rd MLB All-Star break.

Case in point, the Texas Rangers haven’t always been this good.

It doesn’t seem like too long ago that the only reason the Rangers had an All-Star representative was because each team had to have one.

Still, the Texas Rangers have historically played extremely well in the Midsummer Classic—they’ve garnered three AS MVPs and provided other magical moments.

So it’s time to navigate “Nostalgia Boulevard”, because “Memory Lane” was already taken.
Here’s a look at some of the top Rangers moments in the Midsummer Classic.

Josh Hamilton goes bonkers
Turn Back the Clock: Big Rangers Moments during the Midsummer Classic
Technically, Hamilton’s excellent exploits didn’t occurr during the All-Star Game. As it turned out, in the All-Star Game, “Hami” went a somewhat pedestrian 1-for-3 with a stolen base.

Hamilton, however, had made his mark the night before.

The magnitude of his performance during the 2008 Home Run Derby can cause even the world’s wittiest journalist to run out of adjectives in a hurry.

Hamilton, as you’ll recall, crushed 28 home runs—in the first round.

And the theater within which he put on his majestic show was none other than “The House that Ruth Built.” It was truly special to watch his Ruthian display on national television—as a Texas Ranger nonetheless.

It not only put Hambone on the map, but it helped the world take notice of the Texas Rangers too.

Julio Franco, AS MVP, 1990

Turn Back the Clock: Big Rangers Moments during the Midsummer Classic

Yeah, the trophies were much bigger back then. It’s why everyone started using steroids.


The 1990 Texas Rangers season needed a lift. When you have a four-man rotation that has two pitchers 42 years old or older in Charlie Hough and Nolan Ryan—even if one of them is a Hall of Famer—the team needed a cool breeze to amp up for the relentless late-summer Texas heat.

Julio Franco provided just that.

Franco was the Jheri-curled second baseman who at the age of 31 was making his first All-Star appearance as a reserve.

Famous for his farcical batting stance—picture a PGA golfer at the height of his back swing, and that’s Franco’s starting point—his stance was both knock-kneed goofy and extremely intimidating.

In the top of the seventh inning he lined a double to right field off of one of the Cincinnati Reds’ highly esteemed “Nasty Boys”, Rob Dibble.

The double scored both Lance Parrish and Roberto Alomar.

Those were the only runs plated in the game—and they made Franco the no-doubt choice for MVP.

Franco, incredibly, would play another 17 big league seasons after his 1990 All-Star Game heroics.

Alfonso Soriano, AS MVP, 2004
Turn Back the Clock: Big Rangers Moments during the Midsummer Classic
You can say what you want about Soriano, but during his two years with the Texas Rangers he gave Rangers Nation plenty to cheer about.

In both 2004 and 2005 he represented the Rangers in the All-Star Game, and in 2004 he was named MVP—just the second Texas Ranger to earn the award, and the first since the aforementioned Julio Franco did so way back in 1990.

Soriano certainly didn’t take long to wow the Minute Maid Park crowd in Houston.

With two on and two out in the first inning, Soriano smacked a Roger Clemens fastball for a three-run home run, providing the American League All-Stars with all of the momentum they would need to stave off the NL squad for a 9-4—pushing their All-Star game winning streak to seven.

Hank Blalock, AS Game Bad-ass, 2003
Turn Back the Clock: Big Rangers Moments during the Midsummer Classic
The year after the ill-advised and much debated Bud Selig decision to end the 2002 All-Star game in a tie, MLB fans deserved something extra special during the 2003 Midsummer Classic.

And thanks Hank Blalock, they’d receive just that. Special, of course, unless you’re a Los Angeles Dodgers fan.

Hank Blalock was called on to pinch-hit for Troy Glaus in the bottom of the eighth inning with one on and two out. Pinch-hitting is no easy task, much less when you’re the go-ahead run at the dish and unbeatable Eric Gagne is toeing the rubber.

Two things about Gagne and his now-famous saves streak should be noted:

1. Gagne, up until the All-Star Game, had saved 31 consecutive games on the season—he’d save 55 consecutively by the end of 2003 (63 straight dating back to ’02) on his way to the ’03 Cy Young Award.

2. It’s a good thing that All-Star Games don’t count against such streaks, because Hank Blalock wasn’t hearing any of that noise.

Trailing 6-5, and with the Blue Jays’ Vernon Wells on, Blalock strode to the dish.
He then slashed a 3-1 pitch deep into right-center field for the go-ahead home run that rocked the nation.

Well, it rocked my world at least—I almost jumped through the ceiling and onto the third floor of my apartment complex.

And now, nine years later, I still wonder how the heck Blalock wasn’t deemed All-Star MVP that year.
I mean, he did stop one of the greatest streaks of all time—albeit unofficially.

The Face states his case, 2006
Turn Back the Clock: Big Rangers Moments during the Midsummer Classic

During the 2006 All-Star Game, the “Face of the Franchise” did something truly special.

Top of the ninth inning, two outs, down 0-2, Young ripped a two-run triple off of Trevor Hoffman to give the American League a 3-2 lead.

The lead was safe in the hands of Mariano Rivera as the AL All-Stars won the Midsummer Classic for the tenth consecutive time (excluding the ’02 tie).

And the AL All-Stars, once again, had a member of the Texas Rangers to thank for the victory.

Perhaps another Texas Ranger will earn an All-Star MVP after tonight’s game has concluded. After all, with eight representatives, they’re the odds-on favorites.

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Jul 092012
 
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Back to Back walk off wins send Rangers to All Star Break in StyleI purposefully waited until a few hours after the conclusion of the Rangers’ second-straight walk-off, extra inning win to write this post.

I wanted the goosebumps to fully recede. I needed my walk-off high to dissipate, allowing me to descend back to planet Earth.

I needed to sober up…literally and figuratively.

For the second night in a row, the Texas Rangers won via the walk-off, in extra freaking innings, nonetheless.

Two nights ago it was Nelson Cruz’s single that did the trick, and last night it was Ian Kinsler’s clutch knock that sent the Rangers into the All-Star Break on the highest of high notes.

Back to Back walk off wins send Rangers to All Star Break in Style
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Say what you want to to about these Texas Rangers. They frustrate you with their inconsistencies. They beat you down with their poor approaches at the plate. They breakdown—how many key pitchers have spent time on the disabled list during the first half?

The bottom line is this: when it seems the Texas Rangers are about to hit their true plateau and true regression is seemingly just one game away—that six-game losing streak is looming, crystal clear in its imminence…

The Texas Rangers win.

How annoyingly simplistic is that? This team just wins.

Back to Back walk off wins send Rangers to All Star Break in Style
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Down 3-0 in the rubber match with the supposedly punchless Twins—a far inferior team, let’s face it. Yet this weak opponent outplayed the Rangers…Yep. The Rangers wait—until the last minute—to rally, then, inexplicably, WIN.

This team is frustrating because we, as fans, understand their ceiling—and just how ridiculously high it is. And when that roof appears to be raised to its precipice…just as we appear poised for a collapse…

This happens:

Back to Back walk off wins send Rangers to All Star Break in Style
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As we head into the All-Star break, with 52 wins, let’s not forget just how truly gifted this Texas Rangers team is.

Perhaps more so than any other Rangers squad in history. This team, our 2012 Texas Rangers—your Texas Rangers—can win, straight up. And they—somehow, against all odds—manage to do so with alarming frequency.

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