Sunday, March 06, 2005

 

2005 Season Preview: Texas Rangers

I expect the Rangers to basically do the same thing as last year. The only free agent they really added who will have any impact is Richard Hidalgo; Sandy Alomar Jr. and Robert Machado don't count as impact signings, even if they take the pressure of Barajas (who probably shouldn't be a starting catcher anyways). Third place again unless Seattle really improves, instead of just misses being a .500 team.

Sandy Alomar Jr, C: Alomar is not really performing much at all anymore, with a .240/.298/.308 line in 2004. Not really the guy you look forward to seeing as a Rangers fan everytime Barajas needs a day off.

Richard Hidalgo, RF: Hidalgo found his power stroke with the Mets, but if he continues to hit in the .240 range it will be just another Texas player with power, a low average and a low OBP. Which is exactly what this team needs less of. If Hidalgo rebounds than Texas made out good in this deal, as Hidalgo has equal powers of amazement and disapointment over his career so far.

1) Michael Young
2) Alfonso Soriano
3) Hank Blalock
4) Mark Teixeira
5) Richard Hidalgo
6) David Delluci
7) Kevin Mench
8) Laynce Nix
9) Rod Barajas

The lineup starts out on one of the best notes either league can boast. Soriano is probably the worst hitter of the four here, mostly because of his inability to do anything but swing. If Hidalgo doesn't rebound that 5th spot is going to look a lot worse than it could be, and Delluci has a boatload of annoying, recurring injuries. Mench is good but he, like almost everyone else on Texas, doesn't walk enough. No one is as guilty as Laynce Nix on this point though (.248/.293/.437). Rod Barajas in the first half (.270/.289/.530) and second half (.225/.261/.370) were both equally bad, but worse in some respects than the other. In the first half he did not walk, but he hit for atleast some power. In the second half he walked a little, but couldn't hit or hit homeruns anymore. When I say he walked in the second half, I mean he raised his walk total from 4 to 13. You can see why the Rangers lost their momentum last year. When the pitching staff was actually pitching well, the lineup had run out of steam, and since they couldn't take a walk never caught any breaks.

1) Kenny Rogers
2) Ryan Drese
3) Chan Ho Park
4) Joaquin Benoit
5) R.A. Dickey

I like the Rogers/Drese combo for this team, since it gives them two pretty good starters at the top of their rotation. There is no clear ace on this team though, and with the lack of pitching talent at the back end of the rotation that presents a serious problem. Even if Chan Ho Park was at his best he would not be an ace, and I'm pretty sure he won't be at his best anyways. Chris Young is a capable prospect who could come into the rotation, after 7 successful starts last season. When Dickey or Benoit really get hit hard, or Park gets injured, look for Chris Young to take over a spot and hopefully keep it.

The bullpen is anchored by Fransisco Cordero, who has pitched real well the last few seasons. Frank Fransisco, Doug Brocail, Brian Shouse, and Ron Mahay all pitched well last season, and the Rangers will need them to repeat that performance in order to think about contending. This pitching staff is better than many give it credit for, but with the OBP troubles of the lineup hidden by the pr0-hitting tendencies of Arlington, it just is not enough to keep pace with the hit crazed Angels or the recharging Athletics.

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