A Look At The “Other” Rookies – Pitchers

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve known that Los Angeles Angels outfield phenom Mike Trout has been tearing up baseball. Bryce Harper of the Nationals had a hot stretch but has since cooled off. Those aren’t the only rookies who are playing this year though. There are a ton of rookie pitchers this year that deserve to be talked about. In this piece I will be talking about three pitchers who are working on their first full year in the big leagues. Continue reading

Oswalt Finally Picks the Rangers

After spending the offseason looking for upwards of $10M for one year, Roy Oswalt signed for $5M with $1M of incentives.  It sounds like he won’t be ready to begin throwing in minor league games for 2-4 weeks, so the All-Star break looks to be a reasonable target for his debut.  Neftali Feliz is hurt, and struggling, now, so Scott Feldman will fill in until Oswalt is ready, with both Feliz and Feldman likely heading back to the bullpen at that time.  How well does Oswalt need to perform to be worth it? Continue reading

Prospect Watch: Jurickson Profar

One of the more underrated and special prospects in the game resides in the Texas Rangers organization.  19-year-old switch-hitting shortstop Jurickson Profar has risen from Little League World Series fame to become a top 10 prospect in the game.  The Curacao native is well ahead of schedule, playing every day for the AA affiliate Frisco.  He has been compared to Jose Reyes, but so far, Profar has outperformed Reyes’ minor league numbers. Continue reading

HOF Watch: Adrian Beltre

In my first Hall of Fame post I will be showing you all why Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers is on track to becoming a Hall of Famer. To some this may come as a surprise, but it shouldn’t. All stats used don’t count the 2012 season. Continue reading

Prospect Watch: Leonys Martin

Coming into the 2012 season OF Leonys Martin ranked as the third overall prospect for the Texas Rangers according to Marc Hulet of Fangraphs. With Josh Hamilton also headed for free agency the arrival of Leonys Martin seemed imminent. Unfortunately Martin hurt his thumb and is now out for 6-8 weeks. Martin only has a little over a year of experience is pro ball, but if the Rangers opted to not sign Hamilton, he would undoubtedly be the starting center fielder in 2013. Continue reading

From Bullpen to Rotation

Heading into the 2012 season there were three pitchers that were headed to the starting rotation after spending the 2011 season in the bullpen. Those pitchers are Neftali Feliz, Chris Sale and Daniel Bard. The results have come with mixed success. One of the pitchers has been dominant, striking out 25% of the batters that he’s faced, one has had control problems, and the other has gotten extremely lucky. Continue reading

Josh Hamilton: On the Way to a Big Payday?

Following the 2012 season Texas Rangers outfielder, Josh Hamilton, will hit the free agent market. The Rangers had a chance to sign him during the off-season, but if he finishes this season as the best season of his career, he may be playing elsewhere next season. Would it be in Texas’ best interest to let him walk, or try to sign him? Continue reading

Rangers Steal Kinsler For Five More Years

Credit: Jim Mone/AP

In a move to keep an upcoming free agent after this season, the Texas Rangers signed Ian Kinsler to a 5-year, $75M extension with an option in 2018.  While giving such a large amount of money to a 30-34 year-old player with injury history is a bit risky, Kinsler’s talent should more than exceed the cost. Continue reading

2012 Outlook: Texas Rangers

With another great 2011 season, the Texas Rangers have cemented themselves as contenders for the coming years.  Despite defending their AL crown, the Rangers were one strike away from winning the World Series before David Freese ended those dreams.  There is also a great minor league system supporting the club with cheap production year after year.  The offense has been the strength of the franchise the past 20 years, but the defense and pitching has improved enough to sustain success. Continue reading

Texas Rangers Take a Gamble on Joe Nathan.

Yesterday it was announced that the Texas Rangers came to terms with former Twins closer Joe Nathan. The deal was for 2 years with $7 million annually. There also was a team option for 2014.

$7 million dollars is a lot of money to pay a closer, it’s especially a lot for a closer who’s 37 years old and who had a down year after coming off of Tommy John Surgery. In 44 games last year Joe Nathan was worthe a wopping 0 WAR. That’s right, 0 WAR. His ERA, FIP and xFIP were 4.84, 4.28 and 3.96. Not exactly good numbers. His 22.5 K% was 4.1% below career average but his BB% wasn’t affected as a result. One thing that is concerning though was the spike in HR/9 that he gave up. For his career he gave up .86 HR/9 but this past year he gave up 1.41, not a number you want to see. Next season Bill James sees Nathan having a bounce back year, posting a 2.35 ERA and 2.97 FIP. While Nathan could do that I think it’s more more reasonable to see an ERA north of 3.

Relievers are never a sure thing though. In 2011 the top 5 relievers were as follows:

Craig Kimbrel: 2.10 ERA, 1.52 FIP, 1.94 xFIP

Jonathan Papelbon: 2.94 ERA, 1.53 FIP, 2.16 xFIP

Sean Marshall: 2.26 ERA, 1.86 FIP, 2.50 xFIP

David Robertson: 1.08 ERA, 1.84 FIP, 2.46 xFIP

Mariano Rivera: 1.91 ERA, 2.19 FIP, 2.64 xFIP

2010:

Carlos Marmol: 2.55 ERA, 2.01 FIP, 2.83 xFIP

Brian Wilson: 1.81 ERA, 2.19 FIP, 2.85 xFIP

Heath Bell: 1.93 ERA, 2.05 FIP, 2.98 xFIP

Matt Belisle: 2.93 ERA, 2.68 FIP, 2.78 xFIP

Sean Marshall: 2.68 ERA, 2.28 FIP, 2.50 xFIP

2009:

Jonathan Broxton: 2.61 ERA, 1.97 FIP, 2.02 xFIP

Matt Thornton: 2.74 ERA, 2.46 FIP, 2.74 xFIP

Michael Wuertz: 2.63 ERA, 2.37 FIP, 2.57 xFIP

Andrew Bailey: 1.84 ERA, 2.56 FIP, 3.20 xFIP

Brian Wilson: 2.74 ERA, 2.50 FIP, 3.18 xFIP

I could keep going but as you can see the top 5 relief pitchers vary year by year for the most part. There are some pitchers that did repeat, in this 3 year span it was Brian Wilson and Sean Marshall. Nathan didn’t even crack the top 5 in 2009 in 2011. I’ll give him see leeway for 2011 but in 2009 he was totally healthy and didn’t crack the top 10.

If the Rangers were that desperate for a closer they should have looked at other options. Some think Jonathan Broxton may be burnt out but on an incentive laden deal he probably would have been a much better option.

$14 million dollars is a ridiculous amount of money for a relief pitcher, especially a pitcher who performed as poorly as Nathan did last year. The Rangers pretty much expect Nathan to return to his early days as a Twin and I just don’t think that’s possible at this point. The one good thing that comes out of this situation is that Neftali Feliz will finally join the rotation.