Texas Rangers Season Preview
Texas Rangers Season Preview
The Texas Rangers signed Yu Darvish this offseason committing more money to the 25 year old right hander than any Japanese player ever. The move was made to combat the loss of starter CJ Wilson and provide the team with a true ace to their rotation: something I’m not sure they’ve gotten. Regardless, this is one of the best lineups in baseball and it alone will propel this team into the playoffs.
- Ian Kinsler (2B)
- Elvis Andrus (SS)
- Josh Hamilton (CF)
- Michael Young (DH)
- Nelson Cruz (RF)
- Adrian Beltre (3B)
- Mike Napoli (C)
- Daniel Murphy (LF)
- Mitch Moreland (1B)
- Yu Darvish
- Derek Holland
- Colby Lewis
- Matt Harrison
- Neftali Feliz
Lineup: I know it’s an obvious strength of this team but that doesn’t mean it’s not a strength. Mike Napoli is their 7-hitter and he clubbed 30 homers last year. This team knows how to hit and has an unbelievable mix of young guys, old guys, speed guys, and pure power guys. There’s no time off when facing this lineup.
Rotation Depth: The Rangers have 6 guys who I think can be very good MLB starters including Alexi Ogando (who was an All-Star in that role last year). None of the starters really excite you too much unless you’re a sucker for Yu Darvish’s “7-pitch repertoire.” However, all of these guys belong and should give the Rangers a chance to win everyday.
Comradery: Baseball is unlike many other sports in that the 25 players on the team spend entirely too much time together. It’s something that can really drive a team apart as different personalities create rifts. The Rangers have the exact opposite of this problem in that they get along extremely well. I’m not sure who they all rally around, but all the Rangers like each other and that comes up big during those hot Arlington summers.
Ace: There’s no ace on this team.
Hamilton’s Sobriety: I’m sorry, but if i’m on this team, I’m getting sick and tried of having sober Sally around talking about Jesus all the time. His demeanor is honestly very annoying especially when considering his winter relapse and potential for future relapses.
Yu Doctor Yet? Yu Darvish, the import from Japan, represents a major commitment from this organization and his 7 pitch arsenal is drawing comparisons to what Roy Halladay does with both his fastball (changing break, commanding, etc) and breaking stuff. I’m really not buying the hype surrounding the import and I don’t expect him to be a true number 1, All-Star type pitcher this year. The jump from Japanese baseball to the Bigs is bigger than we like to let on and when considering Darvish will pitch in a tough pitchers park in a tough pitchers league, there’s major potential for mediocrity. Very simply: Don’t adorn a prospect before he’s proven himself.
Free Agents: Josh Hamilton is a free agent at the end of the year. As is Ian Kinsler, Yorvit Torrealba, Mike Napoli, Mike Adams, and Scott Feldman. The Rangers could have a very different look next year and I greatly suspect that their payroll will rise significantly in the coming years.
Health: Hamilton, Kinsler and Nelson Cruz are all extremely talented but fragile players. The Rangers have been able to overcome some of their health ailments in the past in part because of Michael Young’s flexibility with the ability to play second base. Julio Bourbon, Craig Gentry and Daniel Murphy are all extremely talented backup outfielders capable of filling in should Hamilton and/or Cruz go down.
Feliz Navidad? Is Neftali Feliz going to be the present the Rangers hope he can be in the rotation? Or is it a move that will ultimately prove to hurt his career and damage the Rangers rotation for the next few years? The same can be said of Yu Darvish and the $11 Million owed to him in 2017.
94-68, 2nd Place AL West. I love the Rangers’ prospects over the next few years much more than the Angels mostly because of age and minor league system (the Rangers are stacked), but the Angels’ rotation over the course of the 162 game season will prevail over the firepower of the Rangers. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Rangers win 100 games this year. They’re going to be a good team.
- Alexi Ogando makes the All-Star game as a relief pitcher with a 1.02 ERA and a whole bunch of holds
- Joe Nathan reminds all of us how good he is at closing games (he had 6 consecutive years of at least 36 saves) and closes 43 games for the Rangers this year
- Josh Hamilton hits 41 home runs.
- Yu Darvish goes 3-19 in interleague play (batting).
- Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler get in a heinous watergun battle wherein Kinsler is sidelined for 6 weeks with what is described as a deep bone bruise.