2013 American League Preview: Texas Rangers

Jason Miller

Let's Go Tribe's look at the Indians' competition around the American League continues with the Texas Rangers, who lost a lot of talented players this offseason... and also Michael Young.

Texas Rangers

2012 Record: 93-69 (2nd in A.L. West), 5-4 vs. Cleveland

808 runs scored (1st of 14 in A.L.), 707 runs allowed (9th of 14 in A.L.)

Texas entered 2012 as the two-time defending American League champions, looking to get back to the Fall Classic and finally win it. By April 21 they had already built up a 5.5 game lead in the West, backed by a great start to the season by Josh Hamilton. They maintained that lead throughout most of the year. They could never pull away from their competition (mainly Oakland), the lead never grew larger than 6.5, but they never saw it get very close either, as it was never smaller than 3 games... until mid-September, when the Athletics charged hard. They were still up by two games with three games left, but Oakland swept them in the final series of the season, pushing the Rangers into 2nd place for the first time since April 8.

Texas still captured one of the two wildcard spots, putting them into a one-game playoff against Baltimore. That game would be played in Arlington, and between the homefield advantage, their superior lineup and the perceived advantage they would have in the pitching match-up (Yu Darvish against Joe Saunders), the Rangers were favored to win that game. I think we're all smart enough to know that just about anything can happen in a single baseball game, and wouldn't you know it, the Rangers lost 5-1, ending their run at a third straight American League pennant.

Hamilton had cooled off after his tremendous April and May, slumping near the end of the season and going 0 for 4 in the one-game playoff. He'd been the team's best hitter over the course of the year, but seemed to have fallen after favor with the organization as he entered free agency. Factoring in all parts of the game, Adrian Beltre is the Rangers' true star, an underrated talent who can hit and field with the best of them. 2012 was among his finest seasons. Yu Darvish, whom Texas paid a pretty penny to acquire from Japan, started slowly, but turned in a strong season from the mound, as did Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis, before having his season ended by elbow tendon surgery in July.

Key off-season additions:

Lance Berkman (1B/DH), Jason Frasor (RP), Josh Lindblom (RP), A.J. Pierzynski (C), Joakim Soria (RP)

Key off-season departures:

Mike Adams (RP), Ryan Dempster (SP), Scott Feldman (SP), Josh Hamilton (OF), Mark Lowe (RP), Mike Napoli (C/1B), Koji Uehara (RP), Michael Young (IF)

2013 Payroll: ~$125 million

Projected 2013 Starting Lineup (with ZiPS fWAR projection):

Pos

Player

Projected WAR

C

A.J. Pierzynski/Geovany Soto

3

1B

Mitch Moreland

1

2B

Ian Kinsler

4

3B

Adrian Beltre

3

SS

Elvis Andrus

5

LF

David Murphy

2

CF

Leonys Martin/Craig Gentry

3

RF

Nelson Cruz

2

DH

Lance Berkman

2

TOTAL

25

Indian Killers:

David Murphy - 130 PA, .373/.419/.644, 1.063 OPS, 7 HR, 23 R, 21 RBI

Murphy's numbers are better against the Indians than they are against any of the twelve other teams he's batted against at least 100 times. When someone like Miguel Cabrera crushes you, it's no surprise, but Murphy's career OPS is .801. Leave the Indians alone, dude!

Adrian Beltre - 251 PA, .294/.347/.583, .930 OPS, 16 HR, 35 R, 40 RBI

Those numbers represent Beltre's second-best production against any American League opponent (he's killed the Royals to the tune of a .964 OPS).

Projected 2013 Starting Rotation/Bullpen (with ZiPS fWAR projection):

Pos

Player

Projected WAR

1

Yu Darvish

6

2

Derek Holland

3

3

Matt Harrison

4

4

Alexi Ogando

3

5

???/Colby Lewis

3

RP

Bullpen

3

TOTAL

22

The Rangers lost some pretty strong hitters during the offseason and personally, I don't think Pierzynski can repeat the career year he had at the age of 35 last season, nor do I believe Lance Berkman will keep himself off the disabled list. The Texas offense seems headed for a drop, but on the other hand, Kinsler and Andrus both had down years, and might see a rebound in 2013, making up for losses from other spots. On the other side of the ball, some of those player projections seem a bit bullish to me, but it certainly looks like a strong rotation.

The Rangers also have the consensus top prospect in baseball, shortstop Jurickson Profar, and Mike Olt, another highly rated prospect (who may end up at any number of positions). Both seem ready to face Major league pitching, and it will be interesting to see what Texas does with them this summer. In any event, the Rangers seem better prepared to cover an injury than most teams. The competition will be tough, but (as with the Angels) I think all those extra games against the Astros can only help the Rangers' chances of going to the postseason again in 2013.

PECOTA Projection: 91-71 (1st in West), 827 runs scored, 725 runs allowed

Cairo Projection: 89-73 (2nd in West), 795 runs scored, 722 runs allowed

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Let's Go Tribe

You must be a member of Let's Go Tribe to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Let's Go Tribe. You should read them.

Join Let's Go Tribe

You must be a member of Let's Go Tribe to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Let's Go Tribe. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker