Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Rangers Ace

It's June now, but apparently the Rangers didn't get the memo.  It may seem like eons ago, but there was a time not too far in the past when Texas used to succeed for 1-2 months out of the season.  

We've become pretty used to the idea of Texas flailing and losing 11-5 on a daily basis all season long, and maybe that's for the best.  The Rangers have had terrible pitching, despite spending millions on Kevin Millwood and Vicente Padilla, and Chan Ho Park if you turn the clocks back a few extra years.  They've always had relatively successful offensively-inclined position players with stone fists in the field, but by mid-June other teams began to put together scouting reports, slow down the Texas offense, and those teams would crumble in the Summer.  That was around the turn of the century.  Then, the pitching got even worse, the position players stayed decent, but injuries mounted, and Texas didn't even both to stay in the hunt through April.

This season feels different, though.  The Rangers still have their usual crop of overachievers with the bat.  Ian Kinsler is easily one of the top 2nd baseman in the League.  Chris Davis is pure power, and if he can learn to reduce his strikeouts to, say, 35% of his at-bats, he'd really be a force.  Michael Young and his gap-to-gap power slid over to 3B where he could hide his subpar defensive range and instead concentrate on blasting throws across the diamond and driving in runs at the plate.  Josh Hamilton has been injured, but he put up MVP numbers last year.  The list goes on and on.  But there's one position that deserves credit this year that hasn't in decades -- pitcher!

Texas has a good bullpen, to start.  That sentence by itself exploded the minds of at least 1/4 of all FantasySports One-a-Day readers.  The three-fourths of you who persevered are likely already aware of this fact.  Frank Francisco catapulted his way up the closer ranks, storming past teammate C.J. Wilson and into the upper echelon.  Having Wilson around gives Texas a nice 8th/9th combo, and shortening games at the Ballpark at Arlington is a top priority when runs can seem to score even if nobody's playing.

The starting rotation could still use a little boost, but the mere fact that I didn't write, "The starting rotation could be replaced by 5 well-trained orangutans," is a testament to their progress.  Converted reliever Scott Feldman, who we featured as a top pickup option, continued his dominance as a starter by picking up his 5th win tonight, holding the shorthanded Yanks to 2 runs over 6.1 innings.  Millwood is finally pitching like an exorbitantly paid Major Leaguer; Padilla was throwing the ball with minor purpose before getting hurt; youngster Matt Harrison was briefly the hottest pitcher in baseball for the Tigers cooled him off, and a couple rookies have done a bang-up job in mop-up time and middle relief.

Add it all up, and you're 10 games over .500, in first place by 4.5 games, and in possession of the best record in the American League.

Now, Texas, play well through June and make me a true believer.

ADRIAN BELTRE - Dropped by many, scorned by the masses, Adrian Beltre is taking a hefty metaphorical dump on the season's first half...again.  Beltre has never been a strong starter, and for some reason, everyone forgets this every damn year.  He has been a pillar of consistency during his time with Seattle, albeit not a terribly ornate pillar.  Beltre will end the year batting near .270.  He will hit close to 20 homers and drive in close to 85 or 90 runs.  He will not walk much.  He will play good defense, and make fine barehanded scoops at third.  Right now, Beltre is batting .244 with 4 homers and only 25 RBIs.  Now, Seattle is winning with pitching this year, so maybe Beltre's RBI numbers will suffer a bit, and maybe he won't catch fire for quite as long, but he will improve.  With the temperature comes his average, and there's an awful long list of third basemen out there laying eggs.  All I really want to convey is that there will be a time when Beltre will start hitting, and you should be ready to dump your underperforming hot corner'er for a surging Mariner.

No comments:

Your Ad Here

The information contained on this page is for entertainment purposes only; any use of this information in violation of any federal, state, or local laws is prohibited. The owner of this website assumes no responsibility for the actions by and makes no representation or endorsement of any of these games and/or activities offered by the advertiser.