Jul 012012
 
YUBROOM copy copy

Rangers Look to The Yu to Complete Sweep of OaklandAs those in attendance of Baseball Do’s inaugural field trip witnessed first-hand, the Texas Rangers ripped the Oakland Athletics last night, 7-2, to secure their seventh-straight series win.

Tonight, the Rangers wrap up their four game series against Oakland with a chance to sweep while simultaneously pushing their current five-game winning streak to six.

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

Oakland Athletics (37-42)

Rangers Look to The Yu to Complete Sweep of Oakland

Perhaps powered by his ridiculously thick eyebrows, Cespedes continues to rake against Texas.


DH Coco Crisp
2B Jemile Weeks
RF Josh Red-Dick
CF Yoenis Cespedes
LF Seth Smith
C Derek Norris
1B Brandon Moss
3B Brandon Inge
SS Cliff Pennington

VS

RHP Yu Darvish (10-4, 3.57 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 10 K/9)

Currently, the Texas Rangers have seven players going to Kansas City next week to participate in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. Darvish, regardless of his utterings to the contrary, has put up numbers that are All-Star worthy.

In his last start, he reached a milestone of sorts, as he issued the fewest walks (1) that he has ever surrendered over his 15 big league starts. That solitary free pass, coupled with his 10 strikeouts over seven innings of work were enough for the 6’5” Osaka, Japan native to record his tenth win of the year.

A win tonight against Oakland and The Yu would be tied with All-Star bound Matt Harrison for the team lead with 11.

For Darvish, the Athletics are a team he is quite familiar with. For the first time in his young career, Darvish will challenge a team for the third time. The Yu’ s results have been mixed as he won at home against Oakland in May, going 7 2/3 innings and striking out 7, and took the loss against the A’s early last month.

That loss was the worst start of Darvish’s brief major league career.

He lasted just 5 1/3 innings, put up the rather devilish line of 6 hits, 6 earned runs and 6 walks, and only managed four strikeouts.

Perhaps a tad of revenge—coupled with his success at home—will be the recipe Darvish needs to win his fourth-straight start.

Undefeated in Arlington (7-0, 3.45 ERA), and extremely tough on right-handed hitters (.187/.317/.328),The Yu is certainly capable of subduing an Oakland offense that has already been considerably cooled during the series’ first three games.

Overall, the Athletics are batting .296, with 7 RBI against The Yu. Coco Crisp has been particularly effective against Darvish, batting .667 with one homer and four RBI.

Texas Rangers (50-29)

Rangers Look to The Yu to Complete Sweep of Oakland

After going 0-for-7 during the first two games of the A’s series, Beltre ripped a game-tying homer during last night’s 7-2 win.


2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
LF Josh Hamilton
DH Adrian Beltre
3B Michael Young
RF Nelson Cruz
1B Mike Napoli
C Yorvit Torrealba
CF Craig Gentry

VS
LHP Travis Blackley (1-2, 3.69 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 5.7 K/9

Australian-born Travis Blackley, sadly, doesn’t pitch submarine-style, so there is no point in my stating that he comes from Down Under, just like his fastball.

You can’t win ‘em all.

Tonight will mark the second time this season that Blackley has dared oppose the mighty Texas Rangers. In his last start, in Oakland, Blackley was Oakland’s lone loser of that three-game stand. He lasted just 4 2/3 innings, surrendering seven hits, five earned runs, and two walks with five strikeouts.

Blackley has yet to record a win away from Oakland this year, and over his last 10 starts he’s factored in to only three decisions, two of which he lost.

His platoon splits are quite similar, as left-handed batters produce a slash line of: .229/.224/.282 with zero home runs. Right-handed batters go: .238/.299/.361 with just one big fly off of the left-hander.

Ian Kinsler and Michael Young have had a good deal of success against Blackley, with Kinsler batting .333 with 2 RBI, and Young notching a triple and a double off the Melbourne, Australia native.

It’s worth noting that Blackley’s pick-off move is one of the finest in the American League, as he has successfully picked off four base runners, to tie him with Toronto’s Ricky Romero for the A.L. lead.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Jun 292012
 
feldman

Feldman Good Enough as Rangers Bats Stay Hot in 7 6 Win Over OaklandSeriously, how often does a starting pitcher’s ERA begin at 6.00, actually increase by 0.13 over the course of the game, and he earns the win? Probably not too often.

Scott Feldman, much like Roy Oswalt two nights ago, lived dangerously but still escaped with the victory as the Rangers held off the A’s 7-6.

Feldman’s main issue was the long ball—as he surrendered three over his five innings of work. Oswalt basically threw BP against Detroit, coughing up 13 hits over his six innings the night before last.

But hey, both Scooter and the Whiz have now won their last two starts. Hey, for Roy Oswalt this is still spring training. For Feldman, it’s always spring training.

Regardless, it’s good to be on the right side of Texas’ potent offense—especially when you don’t have your best stuff. Just make it through five or six, and let the sticks get your back.

Cliff Lee might be 10-0 right now—rather than winless—had he decided to stay in Arlington. I’m sure he’ll cry himself to sleep on a pillow stuffed with money.

Notes from last night:

• Adrian Beltre remains en fuego. You’re know you’re going well when you go 0-for-3, but still manage to drive in two runs.

• David Murphy continues to tear it up. Murphy went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI last night, and combined with his 4-for-5, 5 RBI night prior, he’s now raised his batting average 20 points. Murphy is not one of the flashiest players on the team, but he has a real knack for turning up his game at the most opportune times.

• Just when the criticism surrounding the Rangers’ leadoff hitter seems to reach a crescendo, Ian Kinsler catches fire. The Rangers’ second baseman is now batting .571 with 6 runs scored over his last three games. Kinsler leads the major leagues in runs scored, and his double last night pushes him into the American League lead, with 25.

• Texas Rangers super-utility man, Michael Young, may have turned the corner on a disappointing start to the season. After going 2-for-4 last night, Young is batting .370 during his current six-game hitting streak.

• Josh Hamilton went 2-for-3 last night with 2 RBI. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Hamilton’s showing last night was his ability to grind-out two walks.

Prior to last night, he’d walked just three times in ten games. Seems he’s seeing the ball better now, and if that’s the case, the Oakland Athletics—as well as the American League as a whole—might be in trouble.

Up Next:

Lefty Matt Harrison (10-3, 3.24) will oppose Oakland’s right-hander A.J. Griffin (0-0, 3.00 ERA). The first pitch scheduled for 7:05 (CT).

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Jun 282012
 
Scott Feldman, Texas Rangers

Rangers/Athletics Feldman vs. Ross, a Game 1 PreviewSo far so good for the Texas Rangers during their current 10-game home stand. After last night’s 13-9 series-clinching win over Detroit, Texas has won four of six in Arlington and now welcome the Oakland Athletics for a four game set.

The A’s are 10 games behind Texas in the A.L. West, but are 4-2 against the Rangers thus far this season.

Tonight, it will be up to Scott Feldman to keep the Oakland bats at bay. In Feldman’s last start against the Athletics, it didn’t go so well. He surrendered eight earned runs in just 1 2/3 innings pitched.

A look at tonight’s starting lineups:

Oakland Athletics (37-39)

CF Coco Crisp
2B Jemile Weeks
RF Josh Red-Dick
DH Yoenis Cespedes
LF Seth Smith
3B Brandon Inge
1B Brandon Moss
C Derrick Norris
SS Cliff Pennington

VS

RHP Scott Feldman (1-6, 6.00 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 6.9 K/9)

After the aforementioned eight run meltdown in Oakland, it shouldn’t be surprising that the A’s are hitting .308 against Scooter.

Kurt Suzuki (.294, 4 RBI) and Brandon Inge (.363, 3 RBI) hit Feldman particularly well. However, Feldman—surprisingly enough—is a much better pitcher at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. At home, his ERA is 3.66 as opposed to a ghastly 8.06 on the road.

This season, right-handed batters have gone: .291/.313/.430 with 3 HRs off of him, whereas the southpaws have hit him to the tune of: .263/.336/.389, with 2 HRs.

During his last start, in San Diego, Feldman pitched his best game thus far in 2012. He picked up his first win of the year going six innings with five strikeouts and no walks, as the Rangers won 7-3.

Texas Rangers (47-29)

2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
LF Josh Hamilton
3B Adrian Beltre
1B Michael Young
DH Nelson Cruz
RF David Murphy
C Yorvit Torrealba
CF Leonys Martin

VS

RHP Tyson Ross (2-7, 6.02 ERA, 1.71 WHIP, 4/9 K/9)

This will be Ross’ first time to face Texas this season. Over his last five starts, he’s lost four with a no-decision sprinkled in for good measure.

The former 2008 second-rounder, Ross tends to get lit-up against lefties: .352/.456/.528, with 4 HRs. Against right-handers, he’s had much more success: .257/.319/.390 with 2 long balls allowed.

Much like Feldman, Ross is better in his own home (4.82 ERA as opposed to a nasty 7.12 ERA on the road.) Unlike Scooter, Ross is not pitching at home tonight—here’s hoping that bodes well for the Rangers.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Jun 232012
 

We are 1 week away from the First Annual Baseball Do Field Trip!

$34.99 gets you…

Start off at Patty Shack Burgers at 4pm for some good grub and Rangers fellowship!

Time is running out...

You get a “Nolan is my Homeboy” T-Shirt plus we’ll have some cool prizes to raffle away!

Time is running out...

Then we’ll head to the Ballpark to see the Rangers thrash the A’s!
Lexus Club Terrace ticket.

Time is running out...

Top it all off with a Reckless Kelly concert at the Ballpark following the game!

Time is running out as we are only a week away, and space is limited!

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Jun 052012
 
Scott Feldman 4
Rangers Offense Bottoms out in Oaktown while Feldman Gets Rocked

Yeah. Scooter was lit-up last night.

The hackneyed premise for the recent movie,The Changeup,centers around two dudes that switch bodies after taking a piss in a magical pond.

It makes you wonder at what point the Mariners and the Rangers whizzed in Hurricane Harbor’s Lazy River.
We may never know. But should the secret surface, I’ll give you a shout main.

It’s definitely no secret as to who crapped the cradle for Texas last night: Scott Feldman.

Here are some of my thoughts—the ones that can be printed—after last night’s 12-1 Oakland A’s ass stomping.

Roy Oswalt’s appeal is at an all-time high

• Just like an ugly chick on dollar beer night, Roy Oswalt is looking better by the minute.

• And yes, Roy Oswalt would be one ugly chick—at least for the first nine beers…

Those Crazy 8s

• The Texas Rangers have surrendered eight runs in one inning for the third time in six days.

• The Seattle Mariners did it last week in consecutive innings. They’re batting .236 as a team

• The Oakland Athletics entered last night’s game batting .204…it jumped up to .213, which is still the worst in all of MLB if not the world.

Closed door meeting

• Seemed to work for the defense…not so much for the offense. How about an open-door testicle-tazing? Might just put a charge into them.

Rangers Offense Bottoms out in Oaktown while Feldman Gets Rocked

Okay. Whose balls are first?

Forgot to pack the bat

• Beltre is 0-for-12 with 8 strikeouts over his last three games.

Scooter’s pooter

• In eerie fashion to Derek Holland a week ago, Feldman retired the first three A’s he faced while striking out 2-of-3…only to get rocked for 8 eight runs in the second inning.

Rangers Offense Bottoms out in Oaktown while Feldman Gets Rocked

This is how Feldman's pitches appeared from the batter's box during his fatal second inning.

Jarrod Parker is good, but they’re still the A’s

• Parker had a no-hitter going through seven innings; had he finished it off there would have been 10,000 in attendance to have witnessed it—but only 5,000 would have admitted to being there.

If it were up to me

• I’d option Scott Feldman to the minor leagues; or place him on the 15-day disabled list.

• Then I’d call up a lefty for the bullpen (Michael Kirkman) and I’d let Robbie Ross pitch in the five-hole until Roy Oswalt is ready.

• I would also hold Feldman contractually obligated to buy Papa John’s pizza for any Rangers’ fan that freely admits to having watched his second inning.

• The pizzas would be hand-delivered to us in bikinis by the Fox Sports Chicks.

• Maybe it would be a better idea for the Fox Sports Chicks to be in the bikinis rather than us…
Rangers Offense Bottoms out in Oaktown while Feldman Gets Rocked
2012 MLB Draft Picks

• The Rangers drafted Lewis Brinson with their 29th pick tonight. Joey Gallo was their next pick at 39th, and Colin Wyles was their final first-round selection, and was taken 53rd overall.

• None of the three are available for tomorrow night’s game. I already asked.

Tonight’s Head Scratcher

• Why go with center fielder Craig Gentry to pitch the eighth rather than Mitch Moreland?

Moreland was a closer at Mississippi State, his fastball sat in the low to mid 90s. Craig Gentry had TJ surgery in college (Arkansas).

Silver Lining in a sea of crap

• The Angels lost 8-6 last night.

• Thus the Rangers’ lead is still 4 1/2 games in the American League West; and being in first place is ALWAYS a good thing—so long as you’re not first in being last, whatever the hell that means.

Up Next:

Derek Holland toes the rubber for the first time since the Mariners provided him with an auxiliary a-hole last Wednesday…make sure to check back here for tomorrow’s BaseballDo pregame preview as well as a Rangers Draft review…

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Jun 042012
 
Snoop & Dre

Texas Rangers Look to Take Down Athletics West Coast StyleThe Texas Rangers finally stopped their 4-game losing streak—preventing the Angels from gaining ground—with their 7-3 victory yesterday afternoon.

For the Rangers, it’s another week of wonderful California weather and woeful West Coast start times. For the next four games it’s the less-than-formidable Oakland Athletics that stand in their path.

No matter how bad the Rangers have been playing lately, the A’s have been much worse. This Oakland squad is a team that the Rangers should have no problems dispatching. But what with the Rangers’ playing a skitterish brand of ball of late, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Oakland Athletics (23-31, 4th Place)

The A’s had a surprisingly strong start to the 2012 season. Since then, they’ve regressed back to their mean. Currently the once proud franchise has won just one game in their last 10.

On the hill:

RH Scott Feldman (0-3, 4.50 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, K/9: 4.1, BB/9: 4.5)

vs.

RH Jarrod Parker (1-2, 2.88 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, K/9: 6.4, BB/9: 4.6)

Feldman

This will be “Scooter’s” third spot-start as the number five man in place of the injured Neftali Feliz. In terms of success, he’s been right down the middle. He has yet to win a game and hasn’t pitched more than 4 2/3 innings yet.

However, aside from being roughed up in Seattle late last month, he’s pitched well enough to keep his team in the game.

Gives Scooter Fits:

Kurt Suzuki (.300, 4 RBI)

Can’t hit his shi*:

Cliff Pennington and Adam Rosales are a combined 2-for-16 (.125) with 4 Ks against Scooter.

Key to success: Scott Feldman relies on two things for success: fastball command, and keeping his sinker down in the zone. When he’s on, he is a groundball machine that works quickly. If he doesn’t have the feel for his sinker it’ll be a quick outing—even against Oakland’s lethargic offense.

Parker

Jarrod Parker was one of the key trade pieces in the Trevor Cahill trade last off-season. Parker was the Diamondbacks’ top pick in the 2007 MLB Draft (1st RD, 9th Overall).

Like Feldman, Parker can have issues in command and generally walks far too many batters. However, he is extremely difficult to hit home runs off of so he tends to minimize the damage of his free passes.

Parker was roughed up for 6 earned runs against an anemic San Francisco Giants offense that was without their top hitter, Pablo Sandoval.

Hitters that have found their niche and batter’s he’s made his bitch

In his young career, Parker has never faced a current member of the Texas Rangers.

Keys to Victory:

It’s a small sample size, but if the A’s can hit enough to give Parker a lead he might be able to capitalize against a Rangers offense that has been sputtering of late.

Prediction Time

Parker has never faced an offense as potent as the Texas Rangers. He struggled against a Kung Fu Panda-less Giants offense last month and if he brings that same game tonight, he will get crushed.

Rangers win 5-2.

Go Rangers!

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
May 162012
 

Oakland Athletics vs. Texas Rangers—a Showdown for AL West Supremacy

Nelson vs. Yoenis Cespedes: The battle for AL West eyebrow supremacy has commenced!


The Kansas Royals series? Never happened. I’ve erased all memories of that highly forgettable series
Total Recall
-style.

And I needed no help from Kuato. Just the aid of 12-15 ice-cold beers. There’s no way in hell I’d grab that circus freak’s grubby carnie hands anyways…but if Sharon Stone—circa 1990—cares to come along for the ride, that’s cool by me.

So, the aspirin has kicked-in, the hangover meal’s fully munched and all Royals feats have been forgotten. It’s now time to create some new and improved memories, and we have the Oakland Athletics (19-18) with which to start…

Here’s a look at some points of interest as the first-place Rangers play host to the second-place Athletics (yeah, it’s weird.)

The Oakland Athletics are in 2nd place

Yeah, I had to say it twice just to make it seem more real. It’s the truth, the A’s are four games behind the Texas Rangers in the AL West as of today. Sure, it’s early, and yeah this two-gamer doesn’t really matter that much, but it sure would be nice to get a quick sweep and push our lead to six.

Conversely, if the A’s stay hot and the Rangers remain tepid, we could be looking at a mere two game lead in the West. And that’s messed up.

Yoenis Cespedes

Remember him from the offseason? Yeah he was that other foreign-born badass free agent not named Yu Darvish.

Cespedes isn’t exactly on a Hamiltonian tear, but he’s not crapping the bed a la Pujols, either. His slash line sits at: .245/.319/.434.

He has managed five home runs, and leads the A’s in RBI with 21. I’m curious to see how the Cuban slugger fares in the offensive friendly confines of the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Yu Darvish

Oakland Athletics vs. Texas Rangers—a Showdown for AL West Supremacy

Jeez, lucky guy scored both of his cards in the same pack!

Anytime Darvish’s name is penciled in to start, the game becomes must-see TV. Through the first 37 games, Darvish has been the Rangers’ most consistent starter.

I look forward to all of Darvish’s starts, but in this one it will be fun to watch him battle Cespedes as well as the entire A’s team. Hard to believe, but it could be Oakland and not the lowly Angels that are knocking on the Texas Rangers’ first place door in the upcoming months.

Josh Reddick

When I see his name two things pop into my mind. The first has little to with baseball, and is simply just an overwhelming temptation to place a hyphen between the two d’s in “Reddick.”

Secondly, I think of a young outfielder that is finally starting to fulfill his power potential. He’s the A’s team leader in home runs, with 9 and is just one click away from Cespedes in the RBI department with 20.

Reddick hasn’t fared well in Arlington over his career, as is indicated by his .118 BA with one double and nothing else of note offensively. Add in the fact that he’s never seen The Yu before, and those numbers might drop further.

Also, if inflicted with a Red-dick, don’t expect any sympathy from me; it’s your own damn fault—you’re supposed to test the hot tub’s temp with your finger dude! C’mon!

Tom Milone, Bartolo Colon, and a possible attack from the “B-Mac”

Tom Milone and Bartolo Colon rhyme, and journalistically that makes me happy. Tom Milone is off to a strong start this season. He’s 5-2 with a 3.92 ERA overall. At home he’s been near unhittable, going 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA while surrendering no home runs.

That would be irksome if not for the fact that Arlington is most certainly not his home.

On the road, Milone has pitched to the tune of a 2-2 record, with a 7.84 ERA while allowing five dingers…if he leaves his pitches up in the zone tonight, his home run total could double.

Bartolo Colon pitched in last night’s series ender against the Angels, so we probably won’t see the paunchy pitcher with the solid numbers.

We are in line to see Oakland’s “ace” Brand McCarthy for tomorrow afternoon’s series finale.

Remember him? Yeah, he cost us John Danks in a trade with the White Sox back in 2006. We lost our first “d” in the whole D-V-D acronym on that one-sided deal. Truth be told, I was pleased when the news came down. B-mac projected as a front-of-the-rotation starter that was more major league-ready than Danks at the time.

He did become our number one starter; too bad it was while on the disabled list. Hey the DL needs pitching too…Anyways, his fractured potential is becoming a reality as he has pitched well since Oakland acquired him via free agency in 2010.

So far this year, he’s 3-3 with a team-leading 2.56 ERA. At the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, he’s surrendered more home runs (17) than anywhere else over his career.

So kick back, relax, and tell Kuato to stop salivating on your sofa, it’s time to enjoy a potential Oakland Athletics beat-down!

Oakland Athletics vs. Texas Rangers—a Showdown for AL West Supremacy

Grab your hand? Hell no!!!

Go Rangers!

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Feb 142012
 

2012 American League West by Position (Part 3)Be sure to check out Round 1 (IF and C) and Round 2 (OF & DH) of the 2012 American League West Position Rankings if you missed them.

Score at the end of Round 2:

  1. Rangers: 35
  2. Angels: 31
  3. Athletics: 15
  4. Mariners: 14

We’ll be ranking the benches and the managers for each of the AL West squads in this round, which will be handled a little differently from how we have handled the individual positions so far.

Bench

For benches, we are looking at the quality, depth and flexibility and we’ll have one rankings for the entire team.  While the bench for a team, in it’s entirety, may not play the equivalent of a full 9 innings every game, I feel that it’s still more valuable than just one player.  Given the flexibility and strategic advantage that a strong bench can provide to a team, we are going to double the points awarded in this section.

  1. 2012 American League West by Position (Part 3)Kendry Morales/Mark Trumbo, Bobby Abreu, Cesar Izturis, Hank Conger, Mike Trout/Peter Bourjos – LAA
  2. Craig Gentry/Julio Borbon/Leonys Martin, David Murphy, Yorvit Torrealba, Brad Hawpe – TEX
  3. Mike Carp, Alex Liddi, Adam Moore, Casper Wells, Michael Saunders – SEA
  4. Daric Barton, Eric Sogard, Chris Carter, Kila Ka’aihue, Collin Cowgill – OAK

This is a close one as both the Angels and Rangers have some flexibility with their bench and some starts, but the Angels take the pole here as they have the best two quality players overall in whoever isn’t starting at DH between and Morales and Trumbo and whoever isn’t starting in CF between Trout and Bourjos.

2012 American League West by Position (Part 3)The Rangers have flexibilty with their starters at every infield position (Young & Napoli in mix with starters), CF and DH (Napoli and others with Younger considered starter) which amplifies the role that the bench players can play on a day-to-day basis.  They clearly outpace the Mariners and Athletics, but fall short of the Angels primarily based on the quality of the players that would make the most impact off of the bench more often.

Manager

Similar to the bench, I feel like the manager rankings have to account for more than just the equivalent of one starter.  Considering the impact that the manager can have on every game, we will be doubling the scoring in this section as well.

  1. 2012 American League West by Position (Part 3)Ron Washington, TEX
  2. Mike Scioscia, LAA
  3. Eric Wedge, SEA
  4. Bob Melvin, OAK
It’s hard to go against managing a World Series winner (Scioscia in 2002) and twice being named the American League Manager of the Year (Scioscia in 2002 & 2009), but when looking forward to 2012, Ron Washington is the best Manager in the American League West.  Washington has managed his team to the World Series in both the last two seasons and finished in the top three of AL Manager of the Year voting over the last three seasons.

In 2012, both managers go into the season with an increased level of expectations and some new stars/phenoms to work with – Pujols & C.J. in LA and Darvish in TEX.  The ranking comes down to who’s hotter as of late and Washington get’s the nod.  That said, Scioscia is an excellent manager that knows how to use his players to maximize productivity and performance.  There isn’t another division in baseball that has two better managers than Wash and Scioscia.

Score at the end of Round 3:

  1. Rangers: 35 from first two rounds + 8 + 10 = 53
  2. Angels: 31 from first two rounds + 10 + 8 = 49
  3. Mariners: 14 from first two rounds + 6 + 6 = 26
  4. Athletics: 14 from first two rounds + 4 + 4 = 22

Round 4 will cover all facets of pitching (starting rotation, relief and closer) and will be posted by this weekend.  At that time, we’ll crown the winner of the American League West in 2012 and notify commissioner Selig that playing the games won’t be necessary this year.  You picking up what I’m laying down here…my point exactly.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Feb 072012
 

2012 American League West by Position (Part 1)I recently got into an argument with a fellow Rangers fan regarding how much the Angels improved though their off-season acquisitions.  As we talked through Pujols and C.J., it lead to a position-by-position comparison of the Rangers and Angels for the 2012 season.  I’ve taken the next step here to bring the Mariners and Athletics into the argument.  While they look to have no reasonable chance to contend in the division, there are two reason to include them here:

  1. You never know.
  2. Allows us to rank 1-4 for each position.  So, even if you are primarily interested in Rangers vs. Angels, you can get an understanding of where the players actually stack up against other peers to give you a frame of reference.
We’ll break this up into four pieces to be posted over the next couple of weeks.  Feel free to chime in with your comments!
  • Catcher & Infield
  • Outfield & DH
  • Bench & Manager
  • Starting Rotation, Relievers & Closer
We’ll track inverse points (ex. Napoli is #1 catcher, so he get’s 4 points), and award a bonus point in situations where the top player has an extreme advantage over the rest of the players at that position.  We’ll define extreme advantage as a WAR (wins above replacement) variance of 2 or more in 2011.  WAR can be a bit inconsistent depending on the source, so we’ll be using fangraphs.com.

Catcher

  1. 2012 American League West by Position (Part 1)Mike Napoli, TEX
  2. Chris Ianetta, LAA
  3. Kurt Suzuki, OAK
  4. Miguel Olivo, SEA

Nap takes the top spot here easily and get’s the +1 with a 2011 WAR of 5.6, compared to Ianetta who was at 3.3.  Even with Napoli’s season being a bit of an outlier when you look at his career, I don’t see Ianetta or Suzuki closing the gap enought in 2012 to argue against it.

The biggest debate here is between 2nd and 3rd place, primarily because Ianetta is changing leagues and may be in adjustment mode during the first part of 2012.  That said, Ianetta had a better WAR and OPS in 2011, and will be managed by a former catcher that can certainly help in improve even further behind the plate.

1st Base

  1. 2012 American League West by Position (Part 1)Albert Pujols, LAA
  2. Mitch Moreland, TEX
  3. Justin Smoak, SEA
  4. Brandon Allen/Daric Barton/Chris Carter, OAK

Similar to catcher, you can’t argue with number one, as Pujols not only takes the prize, but also takes the bonus point with relative ease.  Pujols put up a 5.4 WAR last year in the National League with the Cardinals and a .906 OPS, which was a down year for him, compared to a .733 OPS for Moreland and .717 for Smoak.

The battle for 2nd and 3rd is a lot closer than most Rangers fans would like to think, as you can tell by the OPS stats above.  Statistically, Moreland and Smoak had  very similar years in 2011, with Moreland producing at a slightly higher level than Smoak in almost all categories.  Both are still young players that should improve even further in 2012.

I give the edge to Mitch here in a close one.  Smoak was the more highly touted prospect, so you might expect him to progress at a more accelerated rate than Moreland, but I don’t think you’ll see that in this case, primarily because of the teams that surround them.  Mitch faces far less pressure and will face many more bullpen caliber pitchers because of the extremely productive lineup that he is playing in.  Switch their situations, I would lean the other way.

2nd Base

  1. 2012 American League West by Position (Part 1)Ian Kinsler, TEX
  2. Howie Kendrick, LAA
  3. Dustin Ackley, SEA
  4. Jemile Weeks, OAK

This is by far the best position across the board.  Kinsler had the strongest campaign in 2011 and should be the most productive in 2012, but the divide between he and Kendrick is not big enough for the bonus here.

I think the rankings are clear cut, but we could see both Ackley and Weeks close the gap even further during 2012.

All three players had an OPS in 2011 above .761, with Ian leading the pack at .832.  There is no weak player in this bunch.

3rd Base

  1. 2012 American League West by Position (Part 1)Adrian Beltre, TEX
  2. Alberto Callaspo, LAA
  3. Scott Sizemore, OAK
  4. Kyle Seager, SEA

Clear cut number one at the hot corner, as Beltre dominated the group statistically.  Beltre’s dominance is enough to get him the bonus point here as well, outpacing Callaspo’s 2011 WAR ranking by 2.1 (5.7 for Beltre to 3.6 for Callaspo).

Callaspo get the nod for 2nd place here, but again, it could be closer than you think, and rumors of Mark Trumbo making the switch to 3rd base cloud the ranking a bit.  That said, if Callaspo is the starting 3rd basemen for the Angels in 2012, he’ll be hitting in the much more productive line-up and is better defensively.

Shortstop

  1. 2012 American League West by Position (Part 1)Elvis Andrus, TEX
  2. Erik Aybar, LAA
  3. Cliff Pennington, OAK
  4. Brendan Ryan, SEA
Close race for the top spot between Andrus and Aybar here, but Elvis takes 1st place by a small margin.  Statistically, the two are very close, with Aybar posting a higher OPS in 2011 at .743 compared to Elvis at .708.  Elvis is superior defensively and is the younger player.  Both stand to improve in 2012 as Elvis continues to mature and Aybar welcomes a much needed bat to the Angel’s line-up (Mr. Pujols).

This is my biggest decision in the rankings so far, and I have to lean towards Elvis here.  Even factoring out my bias, if that’s possible, I see Elvis improving at the plate in 2012 to an equal level of Aybar, and far outplaying Aybar defensively.

Score at the end of Round 1:

  1. Rangers: 5 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 4 = 21
  2. Angels: 3 + 5 + 3 + 3 + 3 = 17
  3. Athletics: 2 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 2 = 8
  4. Mariners: 1 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 1 = 7
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Login