Mar 282013
 

It’s the podcast you have all been waiting for…ok, maybe not, but give it a listen and hold Jasen and I accountable for our picks when they are all dead wrong at season’s end.

I don’t want to spoil it, but you’ll never believe who we pick to win the 2013 World Series.

Baseball Do Episode 27: 2013 Predictions and Dear Baseball Do...
“Hello JD, it’s Jasen with BaseballDo.com, will you marry me?”

Special thanks to all on Twitter who submitted questions.  Listen for the “marry one, kill one, naked spoon one” question regarding Wash, Nolan and JD and then let us know below how you would answer that question.

If you want to play along with your prediction, post them in the comments section below:

We picked:

  • Divisional Champs
  • Wildcard winners
  • League Champs
  • World Series Champ
  • MVPs
  • Cy Young Award winners
  • Rookies of the Year
  • Managers of the Year

Good luck, and don’t be intimidated by the fact that we are professionals.

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Mar 012013
 
Baseball Do Episode 26   A fireside chat with Evan Grant & Dear Baseball Do...

Evan Grant, Dallas Morning News – Special Guest on the Baseball Do Podcast

Evan Grant from the Dallas Morning News and SportsDayDFW.com joins us to talk about all of the important things in life, including but not limited to:

  • Yu Darvish
  • Sabermetrics vs. Traditional Stats
  • Twitter
  • Ron Washington’s job security
  • Black Bean Chicken Chili

We throw in a brief segment of “Dear Baseball Do…” to finalize what may be the greatest podcast episode ever…like of all times.

Special thanks to Evan Grant (@evan_p_grant) for joining us on the podcast and to @baseballotts, @MoNkeyJeNN71, @theKenAngel, @jjakin, @Tx_Baseball_Fan, @BCasey55 and @c_golden07 for the “Dear Baseball Do…” questions/statements/inquiries.

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Feb 262013
 

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

Wash do what Wash do…

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

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

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

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

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

Two Types of Managerial Situations

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

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

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

“Hot Seat”

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

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

Argument for the “Hot Seat”

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

Evan Grant (SportsDayDFW.com):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chris Bahr (SportingNews.com)

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

Argument against the “Hot Seat”

Back to the opening statement of this post…

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

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

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

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

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

No.

Where do you stand?

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

In your opinion, is Wash on the hot seat?

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

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

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Feb 172013
 

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

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

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

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

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Feb 142013
 

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

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

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

Let’s get to the details:

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

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

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

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Oct 102012
 
JoshRon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Managerial Change?

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

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

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

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

Let Josh walk…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shake-up via trade

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

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

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

What do you think?

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

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Oct 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?

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Oct 052012
 
Yu Darvish

Baseball Do Post season Prep Podcast   Episode 19

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

Ok, was that a little too “rah-rah”?

How about this:

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

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

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

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

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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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