Texas Rangers: Best Team in the Majors?
Tuesday May 1, 2012
Ryan Ritchey: Are the Texas Rangers the best team in baseball? In my eyes they are. They are the most balanced team I have seen in this short period of the season. Going out and getting Yu Darvish was a huge part of the winter for the Rangers. Darvish a Japanese phenom, has come over the United States and gone 4-0 in 5 starts. He has changed his windup 4 times since the first pitch on opening day. Starting with his hands going over his head, to now just pitching from the stretch the whole game.
Darvish isn’t the only stud pitcher on this team. Derek Holland can also throw over 200 innings for this Rangers team. With a team focused around pitching, they sure do get the job done. Add Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan watching every pitch from the first row the pitchers have to succeed. Rangers starters have combined for a 13-4 record, with Darvish and Colby Lewis going 7-0. The Rangers starting pitching is in my opinion what is going to get them a World Series championship this season.
Along with the starting pitching, the Rangers have a stellar bullpen as well. With Mike Adams, Alexi Ogando, and Joe Nathan making up the better half of the pen, the Rangers have no problem taking out a starter and relying on their relievers. Manager like Ron Washington isn’t afraid to put trust in his players and he trusts his bullpen to get the job done in the late innings. Nathan coming off Tommy John is the only thing that scares me about this bullpen. He could come out one day and not feel great and give up the game. But even with the risk of Nathan’s health and performance, this bullpen overall is one of the best in the business.
When you talk about the Rangers you have to talk about their lineup. When you can have Nelson Cruz hitting 6th and Mike Napoli 7th you know you have a stacked lineup. With Josh Hamilton going down with a back strain, the Rangers acted like nothing happened and just filled his spot. Take a look at Ian Kinsler– a player that can hit 25 homers hitting lead off. The Rangers also have power guys at the back of the lineup to drive in runs. An offense like the Rangers is tough on opposing pitchers. Not getting a batter off the entire game can wear down a pitcher in the early innings.
A huge focus this season for the Rangers is defense. Starting that trend has been Elvis Andrus. He has not committed an error in his last 53 games dating back to last season. With him being a solid defender up the middle of the diamond, it could get Texas over the hump and to a championship. One of the most underrated right fielders in the game right now is Nelson Cruz. He might not be the quickest player but he takes good routes to the ball and has a cannon for an arm. Runners don’t even try to tag up on him knowing that they will likely be thrown out.
The last but not the least thing for the Rangers to win a championship (and this is a biggie)- is for the entire team to stay healthy. If the majority of the team stays healthy for the better part of the year, then this is a championship team. No doubt about it. However, if a number of major players go down for an extended period of time, then it could be another runner-up year for Nolan Ryan and the Rangers.
Ryan Ritchey is a Baseball Writer for MLB reports. I am a high school senior, play second base and plan on studying sports journalism in college. I am a huge fan of Barry Larkin and Brandon Phillips. Have been a baseball fan my whole life and have been writing about baseball since freshman year. You can reach me on Twitter (@Ryan13Ritchey)
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Posted on May 1, 2012, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis and tagged adrian beltre, AL West, baseball, elvis andrus, ian kinsler, joe nathan, josh hamilton, michael young, mike napoli, mlb, neftali feliz, nelson cruz, Ron Washington, texas rangers, yu darvish. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.