Texas Rangers Predictions
The window of opportunity appears to be closing on the Texas Rangers. They made it to back-to-back World Series in 2010 and ’11, falling short each time. They would blow a five-game lead in the AL West with just nine games to play in 2012, losing to the Oakland A’s on the final day of the season to fall to second in the division. They would go on to lose to the Baltimore Orioles 5-1 in the inaugural AL Wild Card Game. Their 93 wins during the regular season last year was actually a disappointment, which just goes to show how far this franchise has come.
The offseason provided more reason for Rangers’ fans to grumble. Five-time All-Star Josh Hamilton left for the division-rival Angels, and free agent Zach Greinke turned down Texas’ offer for a bigger payday with the Dodgers. The lineup remains one of the most potent in baseball even without Hamilton, and the rotation could be a strength if the club can avoid the injuries that decimated the staff last year. But the AL West has only gotten stronger in 2013.
Ian Kinsler (2B) – After a monster 2011 season, Kinsler came back down a bit in ’12. He hit .256 with 19 homers, 72 RBIs, 105 runs and 21 steals. Almost every other team would take that “down” year for their second baseman.
Elvis Andrus (SS) – Set career-highs in average (.286), on-base percentage (.349) and RBIs (62) in 2012 while stealing 21 bases and scoring 85 runs. With baseball’s top prospect Jurickson Profar ready to be called up, Andrus could be traded despite his career year.
David Murphy (LF) – The longtime fourth outfielder played everyday over the final two months last season. Murphy hit .304 with 15 homers, 61 RBIs and 10 steals in 457 at-bats.
Adrian Beltre (3B) – Was easily the Rangers’ best player last season as he put up monster numbers for a second straight year. Beltre hit .321 with 36 homers and 102 RBIs in 2012.
Lance Berkman (DH) – Only played in 32 games last year due to injury after a huge 2011 in which he hit .301 with 31 homers and 94 RBIs. Nolan Ryan hopes he gets that Berkman, and not the one that barely played last year.
A.J. Pierzynski (C) – Had a career year with the Chicago White Sox last year at age 35. Hit .278 with a career-high 27 homers and 77 RBIs. The Rangers would take anything close to that line.
Nelson Cruz (RF) – Had career-highs in doubles (45) and RBIs (90) in 2012 while hitting 24 bombs. Cruz will be a free agent at the end of the season, so he could put up even bigger numbers in his walk year.
Mitch Moreland (1B) – Hit .275 with 15 homers and 50 RBIs in just 327 at-bats last year. Has trouble hitting left-handers, which is why he usually only plays against righties.
Leonys Martin (CF) – Hit .323 over 533 minor league at-bats which has the Rangers believing that Martin is ready to contribute in the majors in 2013.
Derek Holland (LHP) – After winning 16 games in 2011, Holland slumped to a 12-7 record with a 4.67 ERA last year. The Rangers still believe he is the Ace of their staff heading into 2013.
Yu Darvish (RHP) – The Japanese import was one of the top pitchers in the game over the final two months last season. Darvish finished 16-9 with a 3.90 ERA with 221 strikeouts over 191 1/3 innings.
Matt Harrison (LHP) – Has won 32 games over the past two seasons, including a career-high 18 in 2012. Those 32 wins tie him for eighth-best in the majors since the start of 2011.
Alexi Ogando (RHP) – The 2011 All-Star was back in the bullpen last year, where he went 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA. Ogando deserves to be in the rotation and that’s where he will be this season.
Martin Perez (LHP) – The club’s top pitching prospect gets his big break with Colby Lewis (flexor tendon) out until summer. Perez went 1-4 with a 5.45 ERA over six starts and six relief appearances with Texas last year.
Joe Nathan (RHP) – The veteran was a workhorse and an All-Star in 2012. Nathan went 3-5 with a 2.80 ERA while saving 37 games last year for the Rangers. Setting him up will be former Kansas City closer Joakim Soria once he returns in late May from Tommy John surgery.
3rd Place AL West & UNDER 87 Wins – I believe the Rangers have missed their chance at winning a World Series. They still have talent throughout this lineup, but they’ll clearly miss Hamilton. Not to mention Michael Young, who is one of the greatest Rangers of all-time. I’m also not sold on the pitching staff as there are question marks throughout the rotation, and in the bullpen. I look for the Rangers to suffer a hangover from their late-season collapse of 2012 that cost them the AL West title. Both the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland A’s have stronger teams in 2013.
|2013 Texas Rangers Odds|
|Total Regular Season Wins||O87 (-115)|