The 2013 Texas Rangers Roster: State of The Union

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Monday January 14th, 2013

The Rangers had back to back World Series Appearances in 2010 and 2011 - does this club have another run in them without Josh Hamilton?

The Rangers had back to back World Series Appearances in 2010 and 2011 – does this club have another run in them without Josh Hamilton and Michael Young?  They regressed in the 2012 Season – losing a 13 Game Division Lead in the AL West before barely capturing a Wild Card Spot.  They eventually lost the Play In Wild Card-Game to the Baltimore Orioles.

By Brooke Robinson (Rangers Correspondent): 

Looking back on the end of the 2012 season, and how the AL West lead was given up in a matter of days to Oakland, it’s clear the Texas front office wanted change in the clubhouse for 2013. It seems as though GM Jon Daniels’ motto for the offseason is “out with the old, in with the new….er”. Daniels is eager to bring a World Series victory to Arlington and has pieced together a team of new players with old postseason successes. There is also a chance that the Rangers will also bring up some of their promising prospects that they protected throughout the offseason trade frenzy. This makes for some very interesting lineup possibilities for the upcoming season, especially with the major roles needing to be filled by former Ranger departures such as 1B/C Mike Napoli, U Michael Young, OF Josh Hamilton, and P Ryan Dempster.

Ian Kinsler Highlights for 2012:

The Rangers are situated in an extremely tough AL West Division with revamped LA Angels stealing their best player Josh Hamilton.  It is a good things there are 2 Wild Card Positions available now

The Rangers are situated in an extremely tough AL West Division, with the revamped LA Angels stealing the Rangers best player (Josh Hamilton.) It is a good thing there are 2 Wild Card Positions available now.

Infield-

Catcher: With the recent acquisition of A.J. Pierzynski to Arlington, this role is seemingly locked down by the veteran for the 2013 season. The Catcher had a career year in 2012, and shows no signs of slowing down now. The Catcher is one of the components of the postseason success players mentioned above. Pierzynski was a huge part of the White Sox 2005 World Series, and Daniels hopes he will bring that leadership with him to Texas. Also looking to take some time behind the plate is Geovany Soto, whom the Rangers acquired in a trade with the Chicago Cubs late in the 2012 season. Texas signed a One Year deal with Soto as well, to avoid arbitration. Soto has already worked with the Rangers rotation, so don’t expect him to ride the bench the entire season. Washington has made recent statements that Soto will catch most of young RHP Yu Darvish‘s starts. To read more about the Pierzynski acquisition and Rangers catching situation here.

Lance Berkman hit 31 HRs and added 94 RBI for the 2011 Cardinals - An injury plagued 2012 where he could only muster 81 AB - which version will Texas receive in 2013?

Lance Berkman hit 31 HRs and added 94 RBI for the 2011 Cardinals – In an injury plagued 2012 – he could only muster 81 AB – which version will Texas receive in 2013?

First Base: When the Lance Berkman signing was made official, Daniels released a statement saying he was fully confident in 1B Mitch Moreland, and that he would begin the season at First Base. Moreland is without a doubt the best defensive candidate on the roster at 1B, even though he only played in 114 games in the 2012 season. The First Baseman also fits into the theme of postseason success. In the two consecutive World Series that Moreland has appeared in, he has posted 2 HRs and a .609 SLG Avg. Pretty impressive for a First Baseman – who split time with three other players in the last three seasons in Arlington. There is also a possibility of top prospect Michael Olt moving up from AAA Round Rock somewhere in the season, as well as veteran Lance Berkman.

Middle Infield: The last few seasons in Arlington have been consistent at the Second Base and Shortstop positions. SS Elvis Andrus has delivered seamless defense and offense for the ballclub, and 2B Ian Kinsler rarely split time with U Michael Young over the years. However, the Rangers have showed some interest in bringing up prospect Jurickson Profar who has the potential to dazzle fans in Texas. Although Profar will begin the season in Round Rock, the threat of bringing him up could shake some focus into the Middle Infielders who have had little to no competition over the years. Kinsler matched his career high 18 Errors in the 2012 season, so Ranger fans might not disagree with changing up the lineup in this area.

Third Base: There hasn’t been much discussion about changing the lineup when it comes to the hot corner in Arlington. And why would there be when veteran Adrian Beltre keeps bringing success to Texas? The Slugger won another Gold Glove for his performance in the 2012 season, as well as his second consecutive Platinum Glove award. The 33-Year-Old has been a backbone to the powerful Ranger offense since his arrival, producing 36 HRs and a .321 BA in the 2012 season. The ballclub is simply not the same without him in the lineup, and he will be the prominent leader for this team in the 2013 season.

Nelson Cruz will have to remain healthy now that the departed Josh Hamilton is no longer there.  Cruz has his hit 108 HRs in 1971 AB over the last 4 Years (1 per 18.25 AB)

Nelson Cruz will have to remain healthy now that the departed Josh Hamilton is no longer there. Cruz has his hit 108 HRs in 1971 AB over the last 4 Years (1 per 18.25 AB.)

Outfield:

Left Field: LF David Murphy has also provided consistency for the Rangers throughout the last few seasons. The Outfielder posted a .995 Fielding Percentage in the 2012 season, and proved himself to be an everyday athlete playing in his career high number of 147 games for the season. In addition to his defense, Murphy had a .304/.380/.479 3 Slashline in the previous season, earning much respect from the Ranger faithful. With the loss of OF Josh Hamilton, a healthy Murphy will most likely have no competition at LF.

Center Field: Throughout the offseason, there have been many talks of the Texas front office making a trade for Arizona Diamondback Justin Upton. Recent rumors have discussed that this door is all but nailed shut now, and that the ballclub has decided to move onward. The in-house options for Center Field are both very young and all but inexperienced compared to their predecessor Josh Hamilton who left for division rival LAA. The first option is Craig Gentry, who has seen more and more playing time in the previous season and has begun to prove himself. Gentry is incredibly fast, with the most reliable base-stealing in the current lineup (13 SB in the 2012 season) in addition to a nice .367 OBP in the previous season. If Skipper Ron Washington was ever able to consider change to the current Leadoff batter, Gentry would serve the lineup much more productively. The second option at CF is prospect Leonys Martin – who will also begin the season in Round Rock. Although Martin has seen little playing time in the 2011 and 2012 season, he has not posted a single error and his offense seems to continue to improve. He is a great developing option at CF for the ballclub.

Right Field: Right Fielder Nelson Cruz is another important part of the Texas offense that they are so well-known for. Although Cruz is infamously known for his errors in the 2011 World Series, Ranger fans seem to forgive him every time he steps to the plate. The Right Fielder posted a .260/.319/.460 batting line in the 2012 season, and apart from his fielding errors, his performance is crucial to the lineup every game. During the Berkman signing press conference, the veteran stated he would be open to playing the OF if needed. So the option for Berkman at RF is available if Cruz does slump, but he will most likely spend the whole season starting at RF.

Yu Darvish finished 3rd in ROY Voting and 9th in AL CY Young Voting - with a 16-9 Record.  He had an ERA of 3.90 - but fanned 221 (2nd in AL) in just 191.1 IP

Yu Darvish finished 2012 3rd in ROY Voting – and 9th in AL CY Young Voting – with a 16-9 Record. He had an ERA of 3.90 – but fanned 221 (2nd in AL) in 191.1 IP.

Starting Pitchers:

The mound in Arlington is the area filled with the most discussion for the 2013 season. Colby Lewis underwent surgery during the previous season, and won’t be available until mid-season. The front office is hopeful that he will return before the June 1 target date, but the option for adding another starter is definitely in the mind of GM Jon Daniels. The top Free Agent target is RHP Kyle Lohse, a former teammate of the newly acquired Berkman. The Rangers have remained in constant contact with Lohse’s agent Scott Boras, but a deal still remains unknown. The current rotation is projected to include LHP Matt Harrison, RHP Yu Darvish, LHP Derek Holland, and RHP Alexi Ogando. There are three in-house options for Texas at this point: RHP Justin Grimm, LHP Martin Perez, and LHP Robbie Ross. The addition of Grimm to the rotation is very unlikely, going 1-1 in two starts and three relief appearances with a 9.00 ERA. It would be a stretch to say fans were very pleased by his outings. Ross would be the youngest but best current candidate, and would certainly add depth as a left-hander. In the 65 innings Ross pitched in 2012, he posted a 2.22 ERA and a 6-0 win/loss record. The clubhouse is desperate for relief, and Ross would be missed in that time, but his transition is all but necessary to the rotation.

Bullpen:

The injury-ridden bullpen of 2012 was certainly on the list of issues for Daniels looking to the 2013 season. RHP Neftali Feliz underwent surgery, and will be much-needed in the bullpen upon his return. The Rangers signed RHP Joakim Soria and although he won’t be available until mid-season, they have also signed RHP Jason Frasor to add to the depth of the bullpen. Frasor and Soria join the powerful closer RHP Joe Nathan, which will be looked upon for help with the losses of relievers Mike Adams and Koji Uehara during the offseason. The Ranger bullpen also contains: RHP Tanner Scheppers, who earned much respect from the fans in his relief in the latter part of the 2012 season. Scheppers recorded 30 Ks in the 32.1 Innings he pitched in 2012, and has potential to take on much more responsibility in long relief. LHP Michael Kirkman and RHP Josh Lindblom are also options for relief, as well as Robbie Ross should the team acquire another starting pitcher. Feliz saw some time in the rotation in the previous season, but he best benefits the team in the 8th/9th Inning with his 97-100 MPH fastball, should he return from surgery strong.

With the increased rivalries added in the AL West and the new additions to the Ranger lineup, it’s hard not to be excited for what is in store for the 2013 season. Jon Daniels has voiced several times that he is not finished making offseason moves, especially when it comes to adding more pitching. There are plenty of young players on the roster that could provide a lot of depth for the team, as well as sharp veterans who will be great leaders in divisional games. The Texas team is eager to put the disappointment of the 2012 team behind them, and so far it doesn’t look like that will be an issue. Many fans are skeptical about how the team could turn out for the coming season (especially with the added depth to divisional rivals) but most cannot wait for March.31st to arrive. The 2013 Texas Rangers will be a team to watch throughout the season.

The Rangers were one strike from finishing off the 2011 World Series and beating the St. Louis Cardinals.  The fanbase has still supported the club since.  The team will need to win a World Series to take the sting off of that Series

The Rangers were one strike from finishing off the 2011 World Series – and beating the St. Louis Cardinals.  The team surrendered the World Series away.  The fanbase has still supported the club. The team will need to win a World Series to take the sting off of that – and the 2010 World Series loss to a San Francisco Giants team.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners.***

A big thank-you goes out to our ‘Rangers Correspondent’ Brooke Robinson for preparing today’s featured article.  Brooke is a junior Sport Management major at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. She is a native of Fort Worth, Texas. Spending time at the Texas Rangers spring training facility in Arizona and seeing all of the prospects are what she loves most about baseball.   Feel free to follow Brooke on twitter and talk the game of baseball with her.

a  a brooke robinson

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Posted on January 14, 2013, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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