Brought to you by: Big Shucks
The Texas Rangers are 15 games below .500 at the All-Star Break and 22 games behind the division leading Houston Astros in the AL West. They will certainly be sellers at the deadline. There have been a few bright spots for the Rangers so far this year as well as some disappointments. This piece will review the first half of the season and try to predict who will be moved before the deadline.
Robinson Chirinos – Chirinos has been a solid catcher this year for the Rangers. Despite his .209 batting average, he brings some pop to the lineup with 11 homers. He is also solid defensively. His playtime and worth has been somewhat undermined by Isiah “IKF” Kiner-Falefa. The Rangers have a team option for Chirinos in the 2019 season.
Ronald Guzman – Ronald “The Condor” Guzman has been playing mostly first base since Joey Gallo was moved to the outfield. The Condor has provided decent average, .250, with solid power. He is also above average on defense, accelerating particularly well at stretch plays. Guzman could be a big piece in the future for the Rangers, especially if he develops his offense.
Rougned Odor – Rougned Odor, who pretty much everyone calls “Rougie,” began the season just as poorly as he finished last year. After missing a few games with injury, Odor has been knuckling down and practicing his defense and contact hitting hard. Odor’s improvements have shown. His defense has improved and his batting average has jumped to .238. He has six homers, after having only one for a very long time. Rougie might not be worth the monster contract he earned by punching Jose “Joey Bats” Bautista, but his improvement is a good sign. This could potentially be inspired by the fact that Jurickson Profar has stepped up and become more than a sub .200 hitter himself.
Elvis Andrus – The cornerstone of the Rangers infield missed a significant portion of the first half due to a broken arm. Andrus is one of the players left from the Rangers World Series teams infield of Moreland/Kinsler/Andrus/Beltre/Young. Andrus had a ton of hits last year with an exceptional average. He has not been the same since his first major injury of his career, batting just .247. Elvis will probably rebound to hit around .290 by the end of the year and is one of the Rangers best players.
Jurickson Profar – Profar has finally gotten it together and become a serviceable MLB middle infielder. Profar got a ton of playing time between the Andrus and Odor injuries. Profar has been average on defense. He has shown power at the plate, lacing 23 doubles and 9 homers. Some will recall how the Rangers were in trade talks with the New York Mets in Spring Training to deal Profar for Matt Harvey. The Mets wanted more, and would eventually trade a dilapidated Harvey to the Cincinnati Reds for an injury-prone catcher a few months later. Profar has also stolen 8 bases and has been a positive force on the Rangers this year when he was badly needed.
Adrian Beltre – Beltre continues to age and get injured. He has had two stints on the DL already this year, and has been DHing much more. The Rangers are starting to give him the Edgar Martinez treatment, and extending his career and legs by putting him at DH. This is a harder decision to make than Martinez however, as Beltre showcases gold glove defense. Beltre only has four homers, but is batting .287. Beltre has stated he is interested in signing a contract extension, although many playoff bound teams could use a veteran like Beltre.
Joey Gallo – Gallo has played both corner infield positions, but has ended up mostly in left field. Gallo’s defense and utility are the best parts of his game, other than his power, which is hard to tap into. Gallo is batting a laughable .186. Many people point to the fact that Gallo walks a lot, so his OBP should be looked at over his average. Gallo’s OBP is a very low .296. Gallo has not developed at all at the plate from last year, and is good for the occasional walk and sometimes a homer.
Delino DeShields – DeShields continues to steal bases and be a center fielder with exceptional range. He started off blistering hot, but his average has plummeted. He makes too many errors, despite his range. He strikes out too much. DeShields in an asset, but is quickly becoming the AL Billy Hamilton, a player known for range and speed that can’t get on base.
Nomar Mazara – Mazara is another young core piece for the Rangers. He leads the team with 58 RBIs. He has 15 homers. He is batting .272. Mazara needs to step up his defense a bit and be a touch more consistent at the plate to be a legitimate star. The correlation between Mazara going hitless and the Rangers losing is very high.
Shin Soo-Choo – Choo takes a 51-game on base streak into the All-Star break. Choo has been solid on defense. He has a monstrous .400 OBP. No one else on the Rangers is even close. Choo is doing everything the Rangers want. He has 100 hits. He made his first All-Star team this year. If Deshields had not slumped for 45 days, and Beltre and Andrus were healthy, the Rangers could be .500.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa – IKF has been exceptional for the Rangers. His biggest strength is his ability to play most positions, especially catcher. IKF is batting a solid .251 and is a nice young piece.
Ryan Rua – Rua is a AAA level talent that can only hit lefties.
Carlos Tocci – Tocci can exclusively run and play defense. He is hopeless at the plate.
Bartolo Colon- Bartolo “Big Sexy” Colon has been the bright spot of the rotation this year. His ERA is 4.64 due to a couple of poor starts. He almost threw a perfect game. He draws fans, has won a Cy Young, and uses veteran moxie and control to mow down hitters. Colon could be dealt to a team looking for another arm, like the Brewers or Yankees.
Cole Hamels – Hamels has been average this year. He has decreased his walks and upped his strikeouts after two disappointing years. Hamels, like Yu Darvish last year, has been pummeled in his starts before the trade deadline and has inflated his ERA. Hamels is an aging former ace. Similar to Colon, Hamels could be a huge #3 starter for a playoff team.
Mike Minor – Minor has been a serviceable leftie, and posts a modest 4.56 ERA. He has essentially done what Martin Perez always does, eat innings and get shelled in the occasional start. He just does it with less walks.
Matt Moore – Matt Moore has been an absolute laughing stock. Moore has been so insanely inept he has been relegated to the bullpen for mop-up appearances. Moore is scheduled to make the 5th most on the Rangers this year, at $9 million. Moore averages 12.7 hits per 9, and 4.2 walks. The only redeemable thing that could be said about Moore is that he finally got his ERA below 10.00.
Doug Fister – Was decent, on the 60-day DL.
Austin Bibens-Dirkx – Austin “ABD” Bibens-Dirkx has turned in multiple impressive performances and has been just as good as Colon or Hamels, but in smaller doses. ABD will probably be sent up and down from AAA a few times, but he deserves a roster spot far more than Matt Moore, who clings on to a roster spot due to his salary and veteran status. ABD is a talented pitcher and an exciting story, and will probably end up with over 100 innings, especially if the Rangers deal Big Sexy or Hamels.
Keone Kela – Kela has been insanely good this year. He is a perfect 23/23 this year in save opportunities. He will probably be the target of playoff teams. He has been better than Brad Hand, as well as a plethora of other relievers on bad teams whose names get trotted out ad nauseam in trade discussions. The Rangers went into this season not knowing who their closer would be, and Kela has been incredible. This is somewhat humorous when one considers that last year Sam Dyson was considered great going into the season but was awful.
Jesse Chavez – Chavez has been solid and has stepped up to take the load off other bullpen members who were hurt. 3.58 ERA. 55.1 IP. Solid stuff.
Alex Claudio – Claudio has been worse than he was last year. He is also currently hurt. Claudio has given up 12.7 hits per 9 innings. He has not done a good job of stranding runners. Last year he was the best reliever.
Jose Leclerc – The flame-throwing rightie still has trouble with walks, but his stuff is electric. Leclerc is a scary late-inning option, and is another player that could be targeted for trades.
Jake Diekman – The leftie option out of the Rangers pen has been solid. 3.31 ERA. He walks too many people. 5.2 per 9 innings. This gets him into trouble.
Tony Barnette – Barnette has been very good, but is on the 60-day DL. 2.39 ERA.
Matt Bush – Bush has been below average and is on the 60 day-DL. 4.70 ERA.
Martin Perez – The bull-ranching extraordinaire rushed back from injury to be awful. After several abysmal starts Perez returned to the DL. He was solid against the Orioles in his first start back. Perez will probably return to his career level of walking too many people, being unable to pitch on the road, and having fans rattling on about how he will someday find his talent they were told he would have since 2010.
Yovani Gallardo – What’s left of Gallardo usually turns into below average performances for the Rangers. Since he was decent for the Rangers in 2015, he has struggled.
The Rangers will look to deal aging players and contracts to rebuild for the new stadium that will be ready in a couple of years. Look for Kela, Hamels, and Colon to be the major targets for trades.