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Stay Alive Until Re-Inforcements Arrive
The Texas Rangers bolstered their 2014 offensive lineup with 2 new .400+ OBP Players.
Shin-Soo Choo (.423 OBP in 2013, and a Career .389 OBP), and Prince Fielder (.362 OBP, but was .400 OBP+ in 4 out of the last 5 years and .389 OBP for his lifetime) – will be front and center into the Rangers new lineup.
This is not an indictment of the 3 right handed hitters either though, Beltre is a .312 hitter for Texas during his 3 campaigns, while Alex Rios and Andrus should hit anywhere from .280 to .290 this year.
You add Andrus’s speed with Leonys Martin – and these two guys could swipe 40+ bags each. Even Alex Rios thieved 16 Bags in 2013 – and Choo had 20 SB yet again.
If that weren’t enough, now you have Mitch Moreland (23 HRs and 60 RBI in 462 AB in 2013, and to a power extent (despite not having good averages) J.P Arencibia (21 HRs and 55 RBI in 474 AB), and you are talking about a nice blend of all in that lineup.
Lets go over lineup projections to start the year.
Lineup – 2014
1. Shin-Soo Choo – LF: .280/.415/.476 – with 20 HRs/20 SB and 115 Runs.
2. Elvis Andrus – SS: .286/.355/.350 – with 180 hits, 110 Runs and 45 SB.
3. Adrian Beltre – 3B: .295/.340/.505 – with 33 HRs, 106 RBI, 104 Runs and 190 Hits.
4. Prince Fielder – 1B: .292/.410/.558 – with 44 HRs and 124 RBI.
5. Alex Rios – RF: .283/.320/.465 – with 55 XBH, 18 SB.
6. Mitch Moreland – DH: .250/.325/.442 – with 26 HRs and 71 RBI.
7. J.P. Arencibia – C: 235/.270/.400 – with 28 HRs and 65 RBI.
8. Leonys Martin – CF: .266/.320/.4oo – with 47 SB and 80 Runs.
9. Josh Wilson and Jurickson Profar: .247/.313/.355.
The offense be the go from having the worst output since opening the BallPark In Arlington, to one of the top AL offenses.
Honestly, I think Fielder may be capable of crushing 50 HRs this year.
The best part about the offense is its ability to create runs. With Martin hitting 8th, coupled with Choo and Andrus batting 1st and 2nd, this could mean serious trouble on the basepaths for the opposition.
Adrian Beltre should have no problem having his custom 30+ HRs and 100+ RBI in the order with Fielder hitting behind him.
The big 1B has seen the guy hit before him reel in the MVP Award in the last 3 seasons between Cabrera in Detroit and Ryan Braun in Milwaukee.
Putting Arencibia in the lineup might hurt a lot of teams like Toronto or others, however he should find new life in that offense. Who cares if he doesn’t walk, let’er rip Tater Chip!
This club should have no problem crushing 200+ HRs this season.
The reasons bringing Fielder and Choo was so crucial, was that the team was so right handed laden in the last few years for their power bats.
Now you have a nice of LHB and RHB.
Choo has spent most of his time in the American League for his career, so this won’t be much of an adjustment.
The only thing to watch out for, is that the team should end Fielder’s consecutive games streak at some point this year.
The big man will need some rest days in the hot summer in Arlington.
On the bench to start the campaign will be Michael Choice. Look for him to net some AB vs LHP as the DH, and the team can sit out Moreland.
Choice earned the slot with a solid 11 Extra Base Hits and 17 RBI for in his 63 AB during Spring Training, and he is just aching for an opportunity to show he can play at the MLB Level.
This RHB carried an .858 OPS in the Minor Leagues, with solid power. It must have been hard for Billy Beane to part with this ‘Money Ball type” player.
Choice has a good eye at the plate.
It was a great move for the franchise flipping extra OF Craig Gentry for this team controllable player until the year 2019.
Infielder Donnie Murphy may see some time at 2B behind Wilson, Jim Adduci is another OF on riding pine, and the team decided to carry three Catchers with Robinson Chirinos and Chris Gimenez both on the active 25 Man Roster.
I am sure no one envisioned that Tanner Scheppers would be towing the hill for their home opener, but at least the opening series is against the Philadelphia Phillies!
The club is carrying 4 starters and 7 relievers. The team will likely add Yu Darvish back to the mix quickly as he is eligible to come of the DL On April 5th.
Texas has days off on both April 3rd and April 10th, however they play 6 straight games on the road at Tampa and Boston, so expect Darvish to receive one of these starts should he not suffer anymore setbacks with his neck.
I expect the 27 Year Old from Osaka Japan will start 30 games this season, and post a 17 – 8 record with around a 2.90 ERA.
It is important that Darvish comes back after the 1st week. With Holland and Harrison still nursing injuries, the team needs their ace to take over the #1 position.
Both Scheppers and Robbie Ross performed out of the Bullpen last year, and you just don’t know what to expect out of Joe Saunders.
The 32 Year Old Saunders, struggled mightily in Seattle last year, going 11 – 16, with a 5.26 ERA – and that was where half of his starts were in a pitcher friendly park.
The LHP can provide some innings though, and that is what is needed. Saunders managed to govern through 182 IP in his 32 starts in 2013.
Scheppers was highly effective in his relief role during 2013, fashioning a 1.88 ERA in his 76.1 IP worth of work, but now you are asking him to eclipse his IP within the 1st 2 months of the year as a starter.
Today will mark the 1st time since 1981, (Fernando Valenzuela) that a pitcher will make his 1st start on an Opening Day for a team.
The key for Scheppers and Ross in particularly, is to try to navigate through 5 or 6 Innings each outing.
Since the club has 7 relievers right now, it is an extra arm to use. Again having consecutive Thursdays off will also help.
Ross also comes from the Relief Core in 2013. Like Scheppers, he was strong in 2013, holding down a 3.03 ERA in 65.1 frames is nice production.
If the Rangers can bring back everyone healthy by mid-year, you could see a rotation of Darvish, Holland, Harrison, Perez and the best out of the rest.
In essence, it will be liking adding their own Free Agents. Some of their depth can go back to the Relief Core.
The late innings will surprisingly not see Neftali Feliz to start the year, as he works out his issues in the Minors at least to start with.
Soria is a 2 time ALL – Star and has 160 Saves to his name already, with an impressive 2.50 ERA for his lifetime.
At Age 29, he is 10 years younger than departing Joe Nathan was. I don’t think Texas misses a beat here.
It was great the man from Mexico was able to work out his kinks late last year for the Rangers.
Soria has a Team Option for 2015 worth $7.5 MIL – so he will be highly motivated for a good showing this campaign.
I fully expect him to net 40+ Saves.
Alexi Ogando and Jason Frasor will help set him up.
Ogando has fared well as a Reliever in his time – yielding a 2.46 ERA in 113.1 IP. This is almost a full run better for ERA than as a Starter (3.40).
The 30 Year Old could still be stretched out to the rotation if an emergency were to persist.
Jason Frasor had his best year ever in 2013, with a 2.57 ERA in 61 Appearances for the club last season.
He only worked 49 IP, so he is more of a situational arm than anything, but he gets the job done.
LHP Neal Cotts was one of the biggest relief surprised in the game last year, putting forth an 8 – 3 record, while doling out a 1.11 ERA in 57 IP.
This is quite astounding when you consider he hadn’t played in the Majors since 2009 for the Cubs.
I don’t think he can duplicate those outstanding numbers, however if he is effective as the primary LHP, I am sure the club will take it.
Pedro Figueroa, Shawn Tolleson and Seth Rosin are the 5 – 7 guys listed in the Bullpen right now, but I believe Feliz will make his way back to the Relief Core, and one or 2 of the starters shall return once the Rangers become healthy.
These 3 men will have to assert themselves with great success early to stick around.
The Rangers have to stay afloat until they become healthy on their Starting Situation.
The biggest thing is to stay afloat for the 1st portion of the season. Once the Starting Pitching Depth starts to increase, this team is as solid as any club in the American League overall.
I also think the management has some more tricks up its sleeve. I believe this team will be wheeling and dealing by mid-season.
Hopefully Kendrys Morales will still be available after the MLB Draft, as I see this guy as a long term solution to their DH situation.
Whatever Daniels ends up doing, I am sure it will be in the thought of helping this club and Ron Washington play into October.
For those who did not see my predictions, I have the Rangers going to the World Series and losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
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