Fantasy News and Analysis for the Texas Rangers
Mid-May is typically the time of year when division races start to take shape. Some teams establish themselves as contenders that are clearly better than the rest (such as Detroit), while others appear to be in for a long season (I'm looking at you, Houston). But, as is usually the case, most teams in the league are sitting at about .500, give or take a game or three and are well within striking distance.
With all the preseason injuries, the Texas Rangers knew they were in for a rough start. The team has had a bad couple of weeks, being swept in Oakland late last month and then suffering three lopsided losses at Colorado earlier this month. The good news is that the Mariners, Angels and Athletics all appear to be basically mediocre as well, and as the weather gets warmer the Rangers may start to heat up.
A Scuffling Offense
It looks like one of the most debilitating spring injuries was also one of the most under-reported ones. The team sorely misses Geovany Soto. Robinson Cherinos is a decent player but nowhere near an everyday catcher, and J.P Arencibia has basically been a disaster, both in terms of his offense (.128 BA) and the way he handles the pitchers (6.18 CERA). Soto isn't due back until late June, and the team apparently thinks that it can limp along with a Cherinos/Arencibia platoon until then. We'll see.
Catcher is by no means the only problem. Corpulent slugger Prince Fielder had a career-low 25 homeruns last year, and at the rate he's going, he'll be lucky to have that many this year (3 dingers as of May 12). Manager Ron Washington put him back in the cleanup spot to try and get him going. All-world prospect Rougned Odor has joined the big club to replace the two-headed monster of Donnie Murphy (DL) and Josh Wilson (DFA). Although he had a nice hitting streak going at AA-Frisco, Odor was batting just .279 overall and it remains to be seen whether or not he can handle the lumber at this level. He may be with the club for a while: the rumor is that Jurickson Profar may not be ready quite as soon as was previously hoped. Maybe it's just the beard, but Elvis Andrus is off to a pretty bad start as well, with just a .663 OPS and nine RBI. Washington had dropped him down to eighth or ninth, but Andrus was back in the two-hole this past weekend. Overall, Texas is owning left-handed pitching but struggling mightily vs. right handed pitching. Considering most of their games are vs. RHP, that poses a problem. Until Fielder gets it going, Choo heats up and Andrus snaps out of his funk, the Texas offense will not be as potent as we expected it to be.
A One-Man Show
The rotation is starting to take shape, but, oy vey, the bullpen. Yu Darvish had a one-hitter against Boston, and the offense actually scored some runs for him in his last two starts. Despite a shellacking this past weekend, Martin Perez is one of the better number twos in the league, but now he's injured for a few weeks. Robbie Ross, Jr. has been a pleasant surprise, but has gotten blown up recently, and both Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis are healthy, for now. But when the bullpen is looking forward to a Tanner Scheppers callup, you know things are bad. Neal Cotts has a 5.27 ERA, Alexi Ogando has allowed nine runs in his last four appearances, Joakim Soria has just seven saves and the club signed veteran retread Neal Baker to shore up the 'pen. The Rangers are in third place in the AL as of May 12, four games behind Oakland. While there is still plenty of baseball left, the team needs a spark from the offense and the rotation.