Three weeks ago when the Rangers fired Skipper Chris Woodward and GM Jon Daniels the move was framed as a way to help the team finish strong. Tony Beasley was appointed skipper. Beasley has done nothing to help the team.
The Rangers have looked completely checked out for the last three weeks. Jonah Heim has run out of gas. He has never caught this many games before in a season. The backup catcher and top prospect Sam Huff has been “developing” for six years. He still cannot hit or catch. He will probably be moved to first base before flaming out of the league entirely.
Charlie Culberson has been awful. His best asset is his ability to throw mop up innings and is largely used for comedic relief on and off the mound. Brad Miller and Nick Solak are both positionless dopes who lack hitting ability. Neither of them are fast either, making them ZERO tool players. Kole Calhoun tormented the Rangers on the Angels for years. He has continued to torment the Rangers, this time from within. He has been unplayably bad in the outfield and is a big reason why the Rangers need to sign a big outfielder next season.
Andy Ibanez, Steele Walker, and Steven Duggar were all atrocious. Top outfield prospect Bubba Thompson has been average. The other top outfielding prospect Leody Taveras has been good. He was hitting over .300 for a couple weeks. He is hitting .251 now. His average will most likely bottom out like Jackie Aprile Jr by the end of the season.
Josh Smith is a nice little utility infielder. He will never be anything more than that. Nate Lowe has taken his all fields hitting approach to the next level and has been great this year. He leads the team in OPS+ with 146 (higher is better, 100 is always average.)
Adolis “El Bombi” Garcia has built on last year’s success and has more longevity this season. El Bombi and Marcus Semien are the only duo in baseball to have 20 homers and 20 steals. Garcia is dynamic and fun to watch. He is a true five tool player. Corey Seager has been decent. His slash line is .50 points lower than it should be across the board: .252/.329/.468.
Semien and Garcia both have on base percentages around .300. This is far too low for premier carry players.
Martin Perez is having a career year. He has been a solid ace. Jon Gray has been effective when healthy. He managed 103.1 innings before breaking down. The target number for a starting pitcher is 200. Dane Dunning has been below average. He lacks an out pitch. At least he eats innings. Young gun Glenn Otto has been very hit or miss. He will throw 5 sharp innings then get blown up next start. He is young and has time to develop. Spencer Howard is in the same boat except he is less effective. Thus concludes the Rangers starting staff. This is the crux of why they are so bad. They begin over half their games without an MLB starter. Pitching is the most important thing in baseball and the Rangers have not had an abundance of it ever in their entire history.
Remember those early 2000’s Rangers teams with incredible lineups? A-Rod, Michael Young, Mark Teixeira, Hank Blalock, Juan Gonzalez, Rusty Greer, Pudge… and they still lost 90 games. How is that possible? They had no pitching. When you lack pitching in baseball it is spectacularly hard to win. Truly bad teams like the 2003 and 2021 Rangers have one reliable starter. This means that four out of five games there is no real build order or path to victory. The skipper starts a scrub like Taylor Hearn, who is not good enough to be in MLB. Hearn walks guys, gives up homers, and fails to make it through six innings. By the time he leaves in the 3rd the Rangers are in a huge hole and have to ask a thin bullpen to give them 6+ innings. This is a daily occurrence for this brutal team. Why are the Rangers so bad in one run games? They overtax their bullpen because the awful starters never make it deep into games. The Rangers begin the vast majority of their games knowing the starting pitcher is either too green or a bum. Starting pitching is the bread and butter of a winning team and the Rangers cannot even field a proper rotation of average players.
If you look at the stats for a solid team at the end of the year, they will have four starting pitchers with over 180 innings pitched. This accounts for a large portion of outs during the 162 game season. This makes your bullpen better due to rest and the ability to use the top arms late in games. The Rangers do the opposite of this, frequently starting guys in way over their head and pretending it is a plan. The Rangers have failed to show up to a staggering amount of games this season. The offense will often show up to the park dead on arrival, looking listless through countless performances.
Jon Daniels was going to retire at the end of the year. He missed on every single first round pick from 2006-2020 except for Joey Gallo, who is currently the laughingstock of MLB. I guess if you want the gold watch you have to at least get one pick right during the second longest GM tenure in MLB. Jon Daniels mailed it in for the last 9 years of his tenure and should have been canned a long time ago. He did not deserve a graceful exit. He was a joke of a GM. This team obviously was not going to the playoffs this season. It was a good time to clean house and go all in on next season. With a top tier outfielder and some solid arms the Rangers could make a real run next year. Appointing Tony Beasley to captain the sinking ship is a nice nod to him and his service as 3rd base coach. That said, he is in way over his head and the team is basically in tank mode and unwatchable. This is the exact opposite of the stated purpose of the skipper swap. But it does not matter, the Rangers knew Beasley would fail and fired Woodward because he was dim and they wanted to pretend to give a guy in the organization a shot.
The bullpen has been surprisingly good, but they lack the starters to get them the ball when it matters. Matt Moore, Brock Burke, Jose Leclerc, and Jonathan Hernandez have all been great. The problem is getting them the ball in the last 3 innings with a lead. Woody found every way to put the wrong guy in big spots. His inability to manage a bullpen is the main thing that got him canned.
After getting slaughtered in Boston last week the Rangers will go through the motions for the rest of the season. They were mediocre for much of the year, but in their current state they are awful.