Trying to bring a little common sense to the game of baseball. But considering many of the people who read baseball blogs, I'm probably just pissing into the wind.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Texas Rangers preview

The defending champs, they got better offensively, but lost something in the pitching department. Still the class of the division, they don’t have much competition, and should run away with the title. If they can say healthy, they’re going to be scary. The only real question is if the pitching staff is as good as it seemed to be last year, minus Lee. My short answer: yes.


Yorvit Torrealba. Not the greatest in the game, but he should stabilize the position for the first time in a long time. The move to the American League could make a big difference, but he’s not known for his bat. He’ll be okay defensively, and should start over 100 games. He did have this best year at the plate last year, but still has no power. Gets on base okay for a catcher. Napoli will get some time here also.

Upside:  can be the starter for more than 1 year until someone else is ready

Downside:  can’t hit away from Coors

Score:  0

First base:

Mitch Moreland. A good rookie year, he hit for power and got on base. Not a big glove guy, but that’s not what he’s there for. Showed well in the playoffs. Napoli will get some time here also, against left handers, as will Michael Young. No matter who plays, there will be some hitting going on. The main problem will be finding enough playing time for everyone.

Upside:  Moreland shows he can do it full time

Downside:  none that I see. Plenty of replacements

Score:  0

Second base:

Ian Kinsler. Professional hitter. He gets on base and hits for power. Last year seemed to be a down year for him, but it was actually one of his best. If he can get past the injuries, he’ll be fine. Washington is looking to use him as the lead off hitter, and he should be able to do it with no problem. Good with the glove, he’s the second best in the league at the positions.

Upside:  can handle hitting leadoff

Downside:  keeps getting injured

Score:  + 1

Third base:

Adrian Beltre. A good, but not great player, he turns up during walk years. He’s got the big one now, so can he still get it done. Still one of the better third basemen in the league when he’s average, he’s in a good park to keep putting up numbers. He can get it done defensively, and has a lot of help in the line up. When he’s the not the big gun, he can get it done. Just don’t rely on him alone.

Upside:  proves the walk year thing isn’t true

Downside:  does more check cashing that ball bashing

Score:  + 1

Short stop:

Elvis Andrus. Slugging percentage be damned, he’s a good player, and I’d take him on my team any day. He doesn’t hit for any power, but he gets on base and moves around them well. He’s only 21 and will hit the ball farther as he gets older. The glove is there, the range is there, and he’s a good defensive player. He’s also a shortstop and doesn’t have to hit home runs, so leave him alone.

Upside:  hits enough doubles and triples to keep everyone happy

Downside:  everyone starts to believe the other things he does aren’t important

Score:  + 1

Left field:

Josh Hamilton. For all his reputation, the more he plays, the worse he is with the glove. But the better he will be with the bat. They’ll live with less of one for more of the other. They just have to hope he stays healthy. The stud of the team, he’ll be the straw. He hits for average, hits for power, gets on base, and is everyone’s favorite story. The move to left field should help.

Upside:  stays healthy all year and shows what he can do

Downside:  injuries

Score:   + 2


Julio Borbon. A down year after a good rookie year, he’ll be somewhere in the middle. Decent defense, a little more power than Andrus, he gets on base less. Can steal bases when he’s on, and should be the ninth place hitter. As long as he can stay in the line up, he’ll keep Hamilton in left. Injuries to the corners make him equally important, as they need a full year from him.

Upside:  has a solid enough year that he starts 140 games

Downside:  can’t hit and outfield alignment is jerked around

Score:  0

Right field:

Nelson Cruz. Going to be a star if he can stay healthy, but that’s been a problem so far. Hits for power, hits for average, and gets on base when he plays regularly. Good on defense, he can also run and steal bases. Problem is, he’ll be the one to get traded for a pitcher if they need one. Could be the MVP if he gets 600 plate appearances. Best suited to left field, but that’s taken already.

Upside:  doesn’t spend any time on the disable list

Downside:  gets hurt while the outfielders do also

Score:  + 1

Designated hitter:

Michael Young. He’ll also play second base, third base, first base, and maybe shortstop. He’ll only get about 100 starts here, as he’ll fill in lots of other places so the regulars get a day off. Napoli will also get at lot of at bats here. That’s assuming Young doesn’t get traded, which probably won’t happen now. Keeping Young happy with enough at bats is going to make someone else unhappy.

Upside:  gets enough at bats and just hits

Downside:  his situation causes problems in the clubhouse

Score:  + 1

Backup catcher:

Matt Treanor. Won’t quite be a back up, and won’t quite be a platoon player. He’ll get a lot of at bats, and should start close to 60 games. Okay with the defense, he doesn’t hit, but he showed well in the playoffs and can handle some pressure. Napoli will also get some time here, but Treanor is better defensively, while Napoli can hit better. It’s a good problem to have.

Upside:  enough at bats to keep everyone happy

Downside:  shouldn’t really be one

Score:  0

Backup first baseman:

Mike Napoli. Got a lot of time here last year, and will do okay in a semi-platoon. He’ll hit home runs, and should get on base enough. The defense isn’t there, but it isn’t as important with the infielders on the team. Young will also get some at bats here, and won’t hurt the team with his defense. I think a platoon will end up happening to try and get the veterans enough playing time.

Upside:  who ever plays will hit

Downside:  not much defense and not enough at bats

Score:  + 1

Back-up infielder:

Michael Young. He’ll mostly DH, but get time at all the positions to give guys a day off. Which could be an issue if they all stay healthy and hit the ball. He’s not great with the glove, but he does have the experience and can play all the positions. The offense obviously is there, and if he to step in and start, it won’t be a disaster. His versatility will let the team carry an extra pitcher, if needed.

Upside:  provides a whole bunch of versatility

Downside:  none form here that I can see

Score:  0

Back-up outfielder:

David Murphy. The odd man out, he doesn’t look to get enough playing time if everyone is healthy. But considering the history of the players, he should get a lot of at bats. Better defensively in right field, there is enough versatility if he needs to play regularly. Can hit some homeruns, get on base, and even steal a base if needed. He can start and not hurt the team.

Upside:  can get the job done if he has to go extended time

Downside:  has to play center field

Score:  0

Rotation (front 3):

C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis and Tommy Hunter. Solid, but unspectacular. They won’t overly impress anyone, but they will get the job done. Let’s not forget, they got this team to the World Series last year. They all pitched better than Lee did, and are younger. There is a lot of confidence in them, and there is no reason to believe that they won’t continue to get better. With the offense and the defense behind them, they’ll go fine.

Upside:  continue to get better

Downside:  believe the hype that Lee was better than they were last year

Score:  + 1

Rotation (back end):

Derek Holland and Brandon Webb. Holland is solid, and will be fine. If Webb is healthy and can go 160 innings, this is one of the top five rotations around. Neither one has to be spectacular, just get the job done. Webb will get some time and miss some starts on off day, and the defense will really help him. Holland keeps hearing trade talks, but I don’t think he goes anywhere.

Upside: Webb and Holland both are healthy

Downside:  Webb becomes too important to the rotation

Score:  + 1


Darren Oliver, Arthur Rhodes, Darren O’Day, Alexi Ogando, and Mark Lowe. A solid, veteran bullpen that pitched great last year. They’ll strike out a lot and make a good bridge to the closer. They won’t pitch a lot of lot of innings, but will be effective in the ones that they do. Rhodes gives them experience as a closer if Feliz has an off year. The bullpen will really help the rotation.

Upside:  even not as good as they were last year, they’re still really good

Downside:  too many years and not enough innings

Score:  + 1


Neftali Feliz. Got the job done as a rookie and pushed a veteran close out. Was coddled a little at the end of the year and throughout the playoffs, which shouldn’t happen again. Lots of strikeouts and he’ll get a lot of save opportunities. Shouldn’t have to do too much work, but at his age, you wonder if he’s destined for the rotation at some time. Until then, he’ll get the job done.

Upside:  proves last year wasn’t a fluke

Downside:  isn’t really suited to be a closer

Score:  + 1

Team speed (which includes base running):

Good. Should get a few stolen bases, and lots of doubles and triples. Good on the bases, and good range out in the field. With the power and the hitters they have, this won’t need to be the biggest aspect of the game, but it will help a lot. Everyone but the catcher can run. This just makes the offense and defense better.

Upside:  just makes the offense even better

Downside:  none

Score:  0

Team defense:

Good. Good up the middle, and good on the corners. Should be a lot of help, especially with the pitching staff. Its young and no free outs will make them even better. The one downside might be Young, as you usually want your bench players to bring a good glove, with them, but that isn’t the focus of this team. It’s a bonus, and Young’s versatility is a help.

Upside:  makes the pitching staff better

Downside:  Young spends too much time in the field, and the outfield alignment is moved around

Score:  0

Team batting:

The best in the league last year, but the Red Sox might have something to say about that. They are going to hit. The only question is if they all stay healthy long enough to hit as well as they are capable of. The pitching staff will get lots of runs to work with, and won’t have to worry about leads. Not as many doubles as you would expect, but that’s because they become home runs.

Upside:  lead the league in everything

Downside:  too many injuries

Score:  + 2

Team pitching:

Good. Good rotation, if somewhat unheralded. The bullpen is good, and will do a good job bridging the gap. The closer is good, and will have lots of opportunities to get it down. They won’t have to be as good as other staffs because of the offense, so all they have to do is be effective, and get some good innings in. They made it to the Series, and can go back again.

Upside:  lots of innings from the starters to help the bullpen

Downside:  the bullpen gets old and the rotation falters

Score:  + 1

Total score:    + 14

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