Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Texas Rangers Preview

2007 Record: 75-87
The Rangers will attempt to make the playoffs for the first time since 2004, but it won't be easy.  This team is pretty thin everywhere this year and will probably be sellers come July again.  Even though the AL West is one of the weakest divisions in baseball, it could still be a long summer in Arlington.

Key Additions
Josh Hamilton OF
Ben Broussard 1B
Milton Bradley OF
Jason Jennings SP
Eddie Guardado RP
Kazuo Fukumori RP
Key Losses
Sammy Sosa DH
Brad Wilkerson OF
Akinori Otsuka RP

Projected Line-up
1) Frank Catalanotto/Nelson Cruz LF
2) Ian Kinsler 2B
3) Michael Young SS
4) Milton Bradley DH
5) Josh Hamilton CF
6) Hank Blalock 3B
7) Ben Broussard/Jarrod Saltalamacchia 1B
8) Marlon Byrd RF
9) Gerald Laird

Offensive Grade: C...This lineup does have bright spots, but no superstars currently.  With the loss of Mark Texeira, the power factor is way down on this squad.  Josh Hamilton will try to make up for some of it, but can he stay healthy?  He could be an intriguing option if he can.  Kinsler is an up and comer who showed some real pop early on, but couldn't keep it going the whole year.  Young Salty also has promise, but it's not certain he'll get enough at-bats to make enough of an impact.  It seems like it would be smart for the Rangers to see what they have right away with the Catcher and another baby named Nelson Cruz, considering Milton Bradley is recovering from ACL surgery and this team is probably going to hover in the basement again this season, but who knows with Texas.  They are sneaky.  Meanwhile, counteracting the young guns are two declining infielders that remain from the Rangers Hay-day in earlier in the decade.  Michael Young and Hank Blalock have both showed their age recently and who knows how much worse it will get this season.  In the AL, this line-up is definitely in the bottom quadrant.

Projected Rotation
1) Kevin Millwood
2) Jason Jennings
3) Vincente Padilla
4) Bradon McCarthy
5) Kason Gabbard
CL) CJ Wilson

Pitching Grade: D+...Man I've had to cover some crappy pitching staffs lately.  This rotation is very weak.  Considering the rotations at the top of the division, Millwood probably wouldn't even have a roster spot on the M's or Angels.  The "Ace" of this staff has been banged around in recent years and it's a wonder the Rangers don't go out and find a real pitcher to headline their rotation.  Jennings had mixed results in Colorado and Houston.  I think this is a lateral move for him as the Ballpark at Arlington is just as much of a launching pad as Coors.  He definitely has potential though.  The last 3 all have yet to live up to their potential and need to show me a lot more before I trust them.  CJ Wilson has the Closer job by default, but there are a number of guys that could step up if he falters including formerly dominant closer Everyday Eddie Guardado.  

Projected Outlook
It appears that it would be a good year for Texas to step up and have a chance to compete for a playoff spot this year, but I just don't see it based on what they've got in the dugout.  There just aren't enough playmakers to keep up with the Angels and M's.  I think 3rd place is a possibility, but with the boo-urns rotation in one of the best hitter's parks in baseball, there's going to be a lot of high scoring games in Texas...with the Rangers coming out on the short end of the stick more often than not.  Projected 2008 Record: 80-82 3rd or 4th in the AL West


Young Cicero said...

On one hand, the Rangers will suck. On the other hand, they will bring great joy to some crazy member of the Ate Twelve Essays Fantasy Baseball League.

Young Knuckleballer said...

The commish thinks that Josh Hamilton is better than Adam Dunn...what a fool.