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Rangers Roundtable

June 1, 2013

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While the NFL Draft is my baby and I could talk about it for months I know it’s time to move on. Unfortunately there is little to move on to as the Mavs and Stars both missed the playoffs, there is nothing Cowboys related that is worth mentioning, and I’m left with the Ranges plus a few “secondary” sports. I actually almost posted earlier this week my thoughts on the US-Belgium friendly in soccer but then realized no one would care and saved my time. With the Rangers being the sole object of scrutiny for the DFW sports fan these next few months, it’s lucky for them that they are an AL leading 34-20 and playing so well. Below I discuss a few issues with the Rangers roundtable style including Jurickson Profar pictured above in a Flava Flav outfit as he endures some rookie hazing.

Jurickson Profar

With Ian Kinsler injured for a number of weeks due to a rib cage injury Profar has finally been given a chance to be an everyday contributor for this ballclub and he hasn’t disappointed. In 8 games this season he’s put up elite numbers (.333 AVG, .830 OPS) and shown a disciplined approach at the plate that exceeds his years. At barely 20 years old Profar has been everything you could ask for and if he can continue producing at this level for another few weeks it should dramatically improved his stock around the league. He’s already considered the best prospect in all of baseball yet if you compare his first legit foray in the big leagues with Mike Trout (in 123 at bats in 2011 Trout had a .220 AVG and a .672 OPS) it’s not hard to make the case that Profar could see his stock rise beyond “best prospect in baseball” and closer to the uber prospect level that Trout and Bryce Harper ascended to. That would be a dream scenario for the Rangers as in my eyes Profar still doesn’t have a place on this ballclub and a hot June could get the Rangers offers like a one for one swap of Profar for David Price or Giancarlo Stanton that wouldn’t have been available a few months ago. Rangers fans should cheer for every hit by Profar these next few weeks as they are incredibly important.

Ian Kinsler

I’m a Kinsler fanatic and have been for years now so to say I’m biased is an understatement but once again Kinsler is proving the naysayers wrong and this time is doing it by not being in the lineup. With Kinsler in the lineup the Rangers have been 27-15 this year yet only 7-5 without him as the offense has struggled without his rare combination of speed, power, and hitting for average. While he drives some fans mad by his love of the uppercut swing it’s easy to see that he and Beltre are the two best position players on this ballclub and when either are out of the lineup the Rangers are just mediocre. When Kinsler went out a few weeks ago he was leading the team in WAR (wins above replacement) with 1.6 and 2nd among every day players in OPS at .869. His average had improved over last year going from .256 to .302 yet his power had stayed constant (7 HRs in 162 AB putting him on pace for +25 HRs) and the Rangers were enjoying the best of both worlds. It’s too bad he was injured as he had stayed injury free the past two seasons and appeared to have turned the page on the injury theme that had been a constant nuisance the first 5 years of his career (only 1 season +130 games in that span). Hopefully this was just a freak occurrence and Kinsler doesn’t revert back to his brittle ways of past years as the team clearly needs him and Beltre in the lineup to be a top level offense.

Elvis Andrus

With Tom Grieve gushing daily about how great Elvis is I’m sure the average fan doesn’t realize how bad he’s been this season. The Rangers are only 7th in the AL in runs scored so they’re hardly an offensive juggernaut to this point yet when looking at Elvis’ statistical rankings on the ballclub it’s easy to see the struggles he’s been having this season. He’s currently 9th in AVG, 10th in OBP, 14th in SLG, 14th in OPS, and 7th in WAR which are all near or at the bottom of the ballclub rankings among the regularly contributors. These are hardly the type of numbers the team expected when they extended him for 8 yr $120 million and reinforces my opinion that he never deserved that money. He’s 21st among shortstops in the major leagues in OPS with an atrocious .636 and it’s due to his embarrassing lack of power. He’s one of only 2 shortstops in the majors with at least 150 at bats this season without a homerun and I continue to wonder why so many people miss that Andrus is nothing but an average offensive player with good defensive skills. He’s a good 2 years away from his 8 year extension even kicking in and I’m already wishing they hadn’t offered it. If Elvis doesn’t improve his power dramatically in the next few years I expect his contract to become an albatross that hurts the ballclub down the road.

The Angels

While everyone is focusing on the Oakland A’s the Angels have shown signs that 2013 won’t be like 2012. They are 10-3 in their past 13 games and that’s despite Josh Hamilton still having an OPS below .700 and Albert Pujols only at .733 both of which are well below their career averages. Mike Trout is having another great season with 10 HR, 12 SB (appears to be on pace for another 30-30 season) and an OPS of .919. It’s only a matter of time before Hamilton has one of his patented hot streaks and in 12 seasons Pujols has never had an OPS lower than .859 so both players should revert back to form soon enough and when they do the Angels could easily go on another 7 game winning streak to put them into the thick of the AL West race. Right now it’s a two team race but I suspect that in 30 days or so the Mariners will be farther back, currently 10.5 games back, and the Angels will have made a move to close the gap. The Angels have bullpen and back of the rotation issues to deal with but any team with Trout, Trumbo, Hamilton, and Pujols is too talented to stay below .500 for very long. 

 

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