Tag Archives: Ian Kinsler

Original Draft Series: Team #9 – Texas Rangers


For those that missed the guidelines I am using for this series of posts, you can find them here.

Team #9: Texas Rangers

General Managers(since 1994)

Tom Grieve (1994): 52-62
Doug Melvin (1995-2001): 568-548
John Hart (2002-2005): 311-337
Jon Daniels (2006-Current): 401-409

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Last
0 0 4 4 2 6 5 0

All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Ivan Rodriguez Int’l FA – 1988 14+1 10 Gold Gloves, 10 All Star Appearances, 6 Silver Sluggers, 1999 AL MVP
1507 gm, .304/.341/.488, 217 HR, 842 SB
Left via Free Agency – 10/28/02
1B Mark Teixeira 2001 – 1st Rd (5) 6 1 All-Star Appearances, 2 Gold Gloves, 2 Silver Sluggers
693 gm, .283/.368/.533, 153 HR, 499 RBI, 11 SB
Traded to ATL – 7/31/07
2B Ian Kinsler
2003 – 17th Rd 7 2 All Star Appearances
591 gm, .282/.355/.469, 89 HR, 311 RBI, 101 SB
Currently with Org.
3B Edwin Encarnacion 2000 – 9th Rd 1 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to CIN – 6/15/01
SS Fernando Tatis Int’l FA – 1992 6 155 gm, .264/.301/.378, 11 HR, 61 RBI, 9 SB Traded to STL – 7/31/98
LF Laynce Nix 2000 – 4th Rd 6 240 gm, .241/.278/.414, 28 HR, 112 RBI, 6 SB Traded to MIL – 7/28/06
CF Scott Podsednik 1994 – 3rd Rd 1 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to FLA – 10/8/95
RF Julio Borbon
2007 – 1st Rd (35) 3 145 gm, .281/.326/.368, 7 HR, 47 RBI, 29 SB Currently with Org.
DH Carlos Pena 1998 – 1st Rd (10) 3 22 gm, .258/.361/.500, 3 HR, 12 RBI Traded to OAK – 1/14/02
SP C.J. Wilson 2001 – 5th Rd 9 24-25, 3.84 ERA, 52 SV, 438.2 IP, 389 K, 199 BB Currently with Org.
SP Colby Lewis
1999 – 1st Rd (38) 5+1 21-23, 5.21 ERA, 331.2 IP, 281 K, 159 BB Currently with Org.
SP Edinson Volquez Int’l FA – 2001 6 3-11, 7.20 ERA, 80 IP, 55 K, 42 BB Traded to CIN – 12/21/07
SP Ryan Dempster
1995 – 3rd Rd 1 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to FLA – 8/8/96
SP John Danks 2003 – 1st Rd (9) 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to CHW – 12/23/06
RP Derek Holland 2006 – 25th Rd 4 10-15, 6.00 ERA, 162 IP, 131 K, 57 BB Currently with Org.
RP Ramon Ramirez Int’l FA – 1996 2 No Major League Appearances with Org. Released – 6/4/98
RP Nick Masset 2000 – 8th Rd 4 0-0, 4.15 ERA, 8.2 IP, 4 K, 2 BB Traded to CHW – 11/23/06
RP Tommy Hunter 2007 – 1st Rd (54) 3 18-10, 4.62 ERA, 200.2 IP, 115 K, 57 BB Currently with Org.
RP Danny Herrera 2006 – 45th Rd 1 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to CIN – 12/21/07
CL Darren Oliver 1988 – 3rd Rd 10+2+1 54-48, 5.12 ERA, 892.1 IP, 576 K, 389 BB Currently with Org.
BN Travis Hafner
1996 – 31st Rd 6 23 gm, .242/.329/.387, HR, 6 RBI Traded to CLE – 12/6/02
BN Aaron Harang 1999 – 6th Rd 1 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to OAK – 11/17/00
BN Justin Smoak 2008 – 1st Rd (11) 2 70 gm, .209/.316/.353 8 HR, 34 RBI Traded to SEA – 7/9/10
BN Chris Davis 2006 – 5th Rd 4 224 gm, .249/.299/.460, 38 HR, 117 RBI, 3 SB Currently with Org.
BN Hank Blalock
1999 – 3rd Rd 10 2 All Star Appearances
910 gm, .269/.329/.465, 152 HR, 535 RBI, 13 SB
Left via Free Agency – 11/5/09

June Amateur Draft

The Rangers have had some pretty good success in the draft, with Mark Teixeira being the clear top performer from that group of players. Ian Kinsler was a very nice late round pick who has turned out really well. Some of the players haven’t quite turned out when they were moved (Dempster, Danks, Harang, Pena), but some of the better players that they have traded have really returned a lot of value. The Teixeira trade alone netted them 5 great prospects, many of whom have turned into solid major league players as well. Trading Smoak appears to have already had dividends as they acquired Cliff Lee as a part of it, and Nix was traded to acquire Carlos Lee for a stretch run a few seasons ago.

International Free Agency

The Rangers have done pretty well in international free agency as well, with Ivan Rodriguez being the clear cut top player acquired in that manner. Hard to argue when he’s going to be a sure fire Hall of Famer. There’s not a ton of other international free agents from the system, but Edinson Volquez was traded (along with Danny Herrera) to acquire AL MVP candidate Josh Hamilton, who has become critical to the success of the team at this point.

Overall Grade

B+. There are a lot of excellent players who have come through this system, and some very solid players who were used to acquire other important players. While they didn’t get a ton in return for players like Ryan Dempster, John Danks, and Scott Podsednik, the return for some of the better players (Teixeira, Volquez) has more than made up for it. The fact that they also have a lot of the same players in their system, and a very highly rated system of prospects coming tells me that the success they have been having this season should continue for years to come.

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All Star Roster Review


These were my predictions for the All-Star rosters that I posted back on Saturday, representing my final thoughts on who I thought would make the team. Looking at how my predictions went, I am actually reasonably pleased with how they turned out.

Correct selections:

AL: Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Robinson Cano, Evan Longoria, Derek Jeter, Carl Crawford, Ichiro Suzuki, Josh Hamilton, Vladimir Guerrero, Miguel Cabrera, Ty Wigginton, Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, Vernon Wells, Cliff Lee, David Price, Jon Lester, Trevor Cahill, Clay Buchholz, Mariano Rivera, Jose Valverde, Neftali Feliz

NL: Yadier Molina, Albert Pujols, Chase Utley, Hanley Ramirez, Andre Ethier, Jason Heyward, Ryan Braun, Adrian Gonzalez, Martin Prado, David Wright, Scott Rolen, Jose Reyes, Corey Hart, Ubaldo Jimenez, Josh Johnson, Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum, Tim Hudson, Adam Wainwright, Matt Capps, Brandon Phillips

Incorrect:

AL Backup Catcher: I chose Mike Napoli as who I thought would be there, not really looking at Victor Martinez since he was injured at the time I made the pick. I’m not sold I agree with John Buck as the replacement for Martinez over Napoli, but it’s not a brutal choice. I think overall Napoli is going to have a better season, but they are pretty similar so far.

AL Backup Infielders: Paul Konerko and Kevin Youkilis are in the final vote, and in their place on the roster are Ian Kinsler (the replacement for Dustin Pedroia) and Alex Rodriguez. Part of the issue I had here was that I was not aware that the teams were required to take a utility player, which is where Wigginton fits on the roster. As a result, I didn’t take a 2B. I also didn’t include Pedroia because of his injury status, but he’s definitely deserving. A-Rod is also having a pretty good year, and I think this was my own personal bias. Knowing that the Yankees’ manager is managing the All-Star team, I probably should have seen that one.

AL Backup Outfielders: I think Choo would have made the team had he not gotten hurt just prior to the announcement, but when I made the selection it wasn’t for sure yet what his status was. Torii Hunter was selected as the only initial Angels’ player, and I think he’s definitely deserving as well. I do have a hard time looking at Jose Bautista on that roster with Alexis Rios who did not make the team, and is hitting better. The fact that the Blue Jays had Vernon Wells as well seems really odd to me. I don’t know how the player vote went (as he may have been a selection that was made by them), but it seems like a bit of an omission. Brett Gardner is having a great year, and he’s probably the player I would have left off in lieu of another infielder had I known I needed one.

AL Backup Designated Hitter: David Ortiz is probably more deserving than Jose Guillen was, but I knew I needed a Royal and liked a lot of the other relievers available more than Joakim Soria.

AL Pitching Staff

  • Jered Weaver was added to the roster in place of C.C. Sabathia (who will start on the Sunday prior to the All-Star game), which was the most glaring omission to me.
  • Andy Pettitte was added to the roster to replace the injured Clay Buchholz, but they did not have him on the initial roster.
  • The exclusion of Shin-Soo Choo due to injury required the Indians to have an All-Star on the pitching staff, and they went with Fausto Carmona instead. Look, someone had to be selected from the Indians, but it just shows how badly the rest of that team played.
  • Rafael Soriano was added to the roster to replace Mariano Rivera, who will rest instead of playing in the game.
  • I initially had Trevor Cahill as the replacement on the roster for the injured Shaun Marcum, who did not make the team. As a result, I also had Andrew Bailey on the initial roster as the A’s lone representative. They went with Matt Thornton of the White Sox, who is having an excellent season and is well deserving of the honor.
  • Phil Hughes is in the roster spot that I had for Colby Lewis. I think both are having excellent seasons and this is more of Girardi picking his guy when there are two similar players. I can understand that.

NL Backup Catcher: They selected Brian McCann over Miguel Olivo, and I don’t think that was a bad choice. Olivo is having a very nice offensive season, but McCann is the catcher for an excellent pitching staff on the first place Braves. The Capitol Avenue Club had a great post last week about how many times McCann has been snubbed when he was having amazing offensive seasons, so it is good to see a little bit of balance here.

NL Backup Infielders:

  • Clearly, the most glaring omission is the selection of Ryan Howard over Joey Votto. Howard is having a fine year, and I can even understand wanting to reward your player when you’re the manager. But clearly someone should have been left off the roster in place of Joey Votto who is having an MVP caliber season for the Reds. He is in the final vote (along with 4 of my All-Star selections), and I hope he gets in somehow. The Reds are a first place team, and Votto has clearly been their best player to this point.
  • I am not really worried about the missed selection of Placido Polanco, as I had already replaced him on the roster with Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman is on the final ballot, but I don’t think he’ll end up making the team.
  • Omar Infante as the utility player makes sense based on his 2009 season, but I really wonder if there wasn’t some other player that could have been selected that could play more positions. I will say this much: His selection makes a whole heck of a lot more sense once Charlie Manuel came out and said they needed the utility player. I mean, even the player himself thought he was being notified he had been traded, not made the All-Star team.
  • I didn’t have Troy Tulowitzki due to his injuries, and the replacement ended up being Jose Reyes. I’m still not sold that Reyes is necessarily the right selection, but I don’t think he’s a poor one either.
  • Leaving Troy Glaus off the roster seems to me like it’s just a crunch at 1B. I understand it, but he’s been a boon for the first place Braves.

NL Backup Outfielders:

This is where I differed most from the actual team, as I missed 5 of them. 3 of them were the lone representatives for their team, so there’s three matching incorrect pitchers as well.

  • I picked Andrew McCutchen as the lone Pirates representative, and the team selected Evan Meek to represent them instead. Looking at the game as a winnable game, Meek is probably the more important player to have, and he is having an excellent season as well.
  • I picked Roy Oswalt as the lone deserving rep from the Astros, and they chose Michael Bourn instead. Bourn is having a reasonably good season, but I completely disagree on this one. I think his spot on the pitching staff was held by Yovani Gallardo, who could end up being replaced due to his injury anyway.
  • Chris Young instead of Justin Upton. As I looked at the numbers again, they got that one right. Young is having the better season pretty easily at the moment.
  • Matt Holliday was chosen over Colby Rasmus, and whoever made that selection got it wrong. I think that Holliday was selected a lot on his 2009 second half, as he’s only been hot of late in 2010. Rasmus will get his shot someday though.
  • Jayson Werth I think is the player who got crunched as a result of the lone Cubs’ representative, Marlon Byrd. Byrd is having an excellent season, and I think he’s a good pick.
  • Carlos Gonzalez is also in the final vote, and I think he’s the player who ended up getting crunched by the utility player needing to be on the roster. I don’t think they have made a selection to replace the injured Jason Heyward yet, and think Gonzalez would be the first choice. Hopefully anyway, as he’s having an amazing year.

NL Pitching Staff:

  • Chris Carpenter and Yovani Gallardo both made the roster, leaving my choices of Roy Oswalt and Mike Pelfrey off the roster. Neither pitcher is having a bad year, and the choices are solid ones. Gallardo is likely to be replaced on the roster due to injury, so one of them may still end up making the team.
  • The bullpen is a complete mess to me. How the Padres only got one representative overall, and no pitchers is beyond me. Heath Bell is in the final vote, but should probably be there regardless. I chose Luke Gregerson as my middle reliever, and Charlie Manuel chose Arthur Rhodes of the Reds. His choice is a good one here I think, as Rhodes may be having the best season of his career.
  • Billy Wagner is on the final vote ballot, and Carlos Marmol was left off the roster since Marlon Byrd is representing the Cubs. In their places, Jonathan Broxton and Brian Wilson were selected. Neither of these two are necessarily bad choices, just not necessarily the ones I would have made based on the current season. It does appear, however, that Manuel is managing to win the game, and I probably would trust both Broxton and Wilson more than Marmol.

Overall, I got 43 out of 68 correct. It has been a really interesting experiment to see how close I can get to predicting the teams, and next season I think the thing to remember to look at will be who is managing the teams. Had I done that, I probably would have gotten another 3-4 players correct. I think next year’s goal will be to get over 80% of the roster correct, especially now that I know about the utility player rule as well.

In terms of the roster makeup itself, Joey Votto and Kevin Youkilis stand out to me as the players who are the most deserving to be on the team but are not on there as of yet. I will be shocked if Votto doesn’t get onto that roster somehow, and a bit disappointed too.

The Week in Review: April 26th – May 2nd


If the Playoffs Started Today

New York AL (16-8) (WC) vs. Minnesota (16-9) (C)
Texas (13-12) (W) vs. Tampa Bay (18-7) (E)

San Francisco (16-10) (WC) vs. St. Louis (17-8) (C)
Philadelphia (14-10) (E) vs. San Diego (16-9) (W)

This Week’s Top Performers

Albert Pujols (STL) – .571/.654/.857, HR, 3 RBI, 5 R, SB
Adrian Beltre (BOS) – .520/.556/.640. 3 RBI, 2 R
Austin Jackson (DET) – .483/.531/.655, HR, 2 RBI, 9 R, 2 SB
Kosuke Fukudome (CHC) – .476/.633/1.048, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 7 R
David Freese (STL) – .440/.481/.760, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 3 R, SB
Alfonso Soriano (CHC) – .400/.500/1.100, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 7 R
Robinson Cano (NYY) – .440/.481/1.000, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 6 R
Carlos Gonzalez (COL) – .391/.444/783, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 5 R, 3 SB

Zack Greinke (KC) – 15 IP, 0.60 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 11 K
Francisco Liriano (MIN) – 2 W, 15 IP, 1.80 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 19 K
Josh Johnson (FLA) – 2 W, 15 IP, 1.80 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, 20 K
Justin Verlander (DET) – W, 14 IP, 0.64 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 14 K
Yovani Gallardo (MIL) – 2 W, 13 IP, 0.69 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 15 K
Clay Hensley (FLA) – 5 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.40 WHIP, 13 K

Roster Movement and Job Changes:

Disabled List:

  • Returning this Week: Ian Kinsler, Aaron Rowand
  • Going On the DL: Brett Anderson, Nelson Cruz, Jorge de la Rosa, Jason Hammel, Pat Neshek, Curtis Granderson

Promotions and Demotions:

  • Coming: Wilson Ramos, Brad Bergesen, Mike Aviles, Alfredo Simon, Max Ramirez, Jhoulys Chacin
  • Going: Jim Johnson, Alex Gordon, Taylor Teagarden, Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Top Stories and Weekly Links

  • On Monday, it was announced that the Cubs and White Sox would play their interleague series for the Crosstown Cup trophy. The winner would be whichever team won the most games, or if they tied, who won the last game. To me, this is just posturing, as this rivalry was pretty intense. I’ve been in Chicago the weekend of one of these series, and you can feel the tension in the air.
  • Also on Monday, the Phillies announced that they had signed slugging 1B Ryan Howard to a 5 year, $125 million contract extension. The reaction across baseball seemed to be that this was a terrible signing. The bigger impact seems to be what this does for other free agent 1B after 2011 like Adrian Gonzalez and Albert Pujols. I think as a result of this we could very well see our first $30+M annual average contract, and even potentially our first $300 M total contract.
  • Dents are starting to show in the armor of one of the greatest closers ever, as Trevor Hoffman proceeded to blow 2 saves in as many days to the Pirates on Tuesday and Wednesday. Manager Ken Macha said he will be sticking with him, and I would think that if anyone has earned the right to an extremely long leash, it’s Hoffman.
  • MLB and the Players’ Union approved changes to the All-Star Game, but nothing of particular substance. Included: DH every season, an extra player (bringing the rosters to 34 with 13 pitchers). The most important change is that pitchers who pitch on the Sunday prior to the All-Star Break will be replaced on the roster with pitchers who have not pitched that day. Overall, some decent changes. Could this be a small enough break that we may see the NL push to adopt the DH full-time as well?
  • Jeff Passan over at Yahoo Sports wrote up a very interesting article about the impact that the new immigration law passed in Arizona could have on baseball at large. I am not sure exactly whether or not this SHOULD be impacting baseball, but it has already started to some extent, as there were protesters at the Cubs-Diamondbacks game in Chicago over the weekend. This is probably an issue that will not be clear of baseball anytime soon.

Tomorrow I will have a month-in-review post up for the recently completed April. It will also include my All-Star teams after one month.

Statistical Analysis: What is BABIP?


A term we hear a lot about when it comes to statistical analysis is BABIP. But what is BABIP, and how can it be used to help determine things about a player?

I had planned on writing about what I know about BABIP, but after reading this article, it is apparent I know less than I thought I did. So instead, I’m just going to suggest that if you are interested in this, you read this article by Tristan Cockcroft from ESPN’s Fantasy Draft Kit. It’s an excellent primer on the topic, and I’m not sure I honestly could say it any better or really add that much to it.

My biggest thing with BABIP is that it, like nearly all other statistics, don’t tell the whole story, but can help to give you an idea of something to look at when making distinctions about players. Let’s look at the top 5 and bottom 5 players in BABIP, and see what (if anything specific) we can discern about them.

Leaders from Fangraphs.com for 2009 season:

David Wright (.394 BABIP) – Wright hit .307 last season, which is well within his range of performance in the past. His BABIP was a bit higher than it had been in the past, previously ranging from .321 to .356 in the previous 4 seasons. With him, I am not entirely sure I am concerned about this, as he also saw a substantial drop in his home run total, and as a result would have had more balls in play. 10 additional homeruns (to bring his total for the season to 20) would have dropped his BABIP to .376, which while still higher than any previous season, would have been closer to the range he had hit in previously.

Ichiro Suzuki (.384 BABIP) – Ichiro hit .352 in 2009, which was one of his highest averages in his career. For him though, his range of BABIPs since arriving in 2001 leads me to believe that while he may have been slightly lucky, it was not that far out of his range of expected numbers. His BABIP range since 2001: .316 to .399

Hanley Ramirez (.379 BABIP) – Hanley hit for his best batting average to date, posting a .342 batting average in 2009. He had hit over .300 in each of the previous 2 seasons, and posted BABIPs from .329 to .353. There may be a little luck in there, but I think it would require more investigation into Hanley specifically to see if there is something else in there that helped him in 2009.

Joe Mauer (.373 BABIP) – Mauer had his best season to date, posting a .365 batting average. Mauer has never posted a batting average for a full season under .293, and as a result his BABIP has also never dropped below .319 during that time. While .373 was his highest BABIP so far, he has consistently posted BABIPs over .320, and seems unlikely to see a particularly large regression in 2010.

Joey Votto (.372 BABIP) – Votto completed only his 2nd full season in 2009, and improved his batting average by 25 points from his 2008 season (.297 to .322). However, his BABIP spiked from .328 to .372. While I don’t necessarily think he’s going to drop off the face of the earth for batting average, I could see him potentially regressing back closer to .300 than to .320. Another player who may have other factors playing into his statistics that aren’t as easily seen.

Bottom 5 (Regulars only):

Ian Kinsler (.241 BABIP) – Kinsler hit .253 for the season overall, and had posted BABIPs of .304, .279, and .334 in his previous 3 seasons. For me, I would think that he was probably at least a bit unlucky last season, as he was 30 points below his career low of .279. When he returns to the field of play, I could see a rebound back toward the .270 range for his batting average as his BABIP gets closer to the .300 range he had been averaging.

Carlos Pena (.250 BABIP) – Pena hit .227, which was low even for him. In his previous two full seasons, his BABIP had been .297 and .298 respectively. The part that isn’t seen as easily is the fact that in those two seasons, his batting average was .282 and .247. So while he also appears to have been a bit unlucky, it is hard to discern which of the two batting averages is more likely to be the one you’ll get from him.

Jimmy Rollins (.251 BABIP) – Rollins hit .250 last season, which was down from his career average of .275. Over the 6 seasons prior to 2009, his BABIP had never been below .281, and his batting average below .261. This is a player who has shown for the most part a specific range of what can be expected out of him, and should rebound this season as well.

Yuniesky Betancourt (.256 BABIP) – Betancourt hit ,245 last season, but had previously shown himself to be able to hit .280-.290. During those same seasons, his BABIP had been between .289 and .308. Another player who may have been a bit unlucky last season at the plate.

Aubrey Huff (.260 BABIP) – Huff hit .241 last season, well off of his career average of .282. His BABIP range doesn’t necessarily tell us everything about him though, as he has varied widely over the previous 8 seasons, ranging from .267 to .315.

Overall, I think that BABIP can help you to look at whether a player may be due for a regression or an improvement, but it needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Over time, players will generally stay within a specific range of performance, and if that performance is high, BABIP may not tell you anything of use.

Team Preview – Texas Rangers


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia SP 1 Scott Feldman
1B Chris Davis SP 2 Rich Harden
2B Ian Kinsler SP 3 Colby Lewis
3B Michael Young SP 4 Tommy Hunter
SS Elvis Andrus SP 5 Derek Holland
LF Josh Hamilton Bullpen
CF Julio Borbon CL Frank Francisco
RF Nelson Cruz RP C.J. Wilson
DH Vladimir Guerrero RP Neftali Feliz
Bench RP Darren Oliver
C Taylor Teagarden RP Chris Ray
OF David Murphy RP Brandon McCarthy

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
SP Rich Harden Free Agency C Ivan Rodriguez Free Agency
DH Vladimir Guerrero Free Agency SP Kevin Millwood Trade (BAL)
RP Chris Ray Trade (BAL) 3B Hank Blalock Free Agency

Top Prospects: Justin Smoak (1B), Marin Perez (P), Tanner Scheppers (P)

2009 Review

The Rangers came into the 2009 season with the same problem that they have had in many of the past seasons: not enough pitching. They had been coming off of a rebuilding effort, and were unlikely to be particularly competitive in the weaker AL West division. So much for that theory. The Rangers finished 87-75, good for 2nd in the AL West. They were led by excellent performances by 2B Ian Kinsler (31 HR, 31 SB), RF Nelson Cruz (33 HR, 20 SB), and 3B Michael Young (.322, 22 HR). Offense was not really considered likely to be the problem for the Rangers, but first year pitching coach Mike Maddux was able to help improve bring out the best in starter Scott Feldman. Feldman finished with a 17-8 record, leading the staff. The rebuilding efforts also started to show some returns, with SS Elvis Andrus and RP Neftali Feliz both having a large impact on their season. Both players were acquired in the Mark Teixeira trade from two seasons prior.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Rangers looked to help address what was perceived to be a weakness in the rotation, signing free agents Rich Harden and Colby Lewis to help anchor the rotation with Feldman. They will also see young OF Julio Borbon start the season as the starter, and should provide quite a bit of speed at the top of the Rangers batting order. I really liked the signing of Vladimir Guerrero, as he should provide a lot of power out of the DH spot.

The AL West has become surprisingly competitive, as the Rangers finished in 2nd place last year. They actually look like they will be competitive, but I think that they will need ace-level performance out of Rich Harden, and a solid 3rd starter in Colby Lewis. Neither of these things are a given unfortunately. The offense will carry this team most likely, but they’re going to need some excellent pitching. They do have more help coming potentially, although it seems more likely to be on the offense side with Justin Smoak.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

2B Ian Kinsler, 3B Michael Young, and LF Josh Hamilton are the top fantasy players in terms of ranking. Hamilton is coming back from what was essentially a lost season, and will be moving from CF to LF. Julio Borbon is the reason for this move, and should also provide quite a bit of fantasy value.  On the pitching side, Scott Feldman is a pitcher I would actually be concerned about, as a lot of his fantasy value last season came from his high win total. Another to watch: Colby Lewis is coming off of two very good seasons (albeit in Japan), where he posted excellent strikeout rates. He should be someone to watch for in your drafts as well.

Prediction for 2010

The Rangers have definitely improved since the start of last season, and should still be considered to be working on their rebuilding efforts. They should compete in the division, but I think that unless they have a lot of luck go their way, they are not going to win the division. But look out for them in 2011 as well.

86-76, T-2nd in the AL West

Fantasy Preview – Second Basemen


A note about my rankings: I am assuming a standard scoring league (5×5) with the following categories:

R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, W, SV, ERA, K, WHIP

Also, I have done a lot of statistical analysis in the past, but I’m not ready to start calculating my own projections statistically. So for me, a lot of this is based entirely on gut feel (which of these 2 players would I want), and looking at previous performance. All statistics are from the 2009 season.

My top 15 Second Basemen for 2010

1. Chase Utley – PHI
R HR RBI SB AVG
112 31 93 23 .282
Utley is coming off another excellent season, contributing in all 5 categories. I can see his batting average improving slightly this season, probably to the .290 range he has been near for his career. In addition, he will most likely approach 100 RBI again. The stolen base total was a career high last year, so I could see some slight regression there, but you’re still looking at a hitter who is going to provide 30 homers, 100 rbi, 100 runs scored, 15-20 stolen bases, and a batting average approaching .300. All at a position that doesn’t have very many players who contribute in all those categories.

2. Ian Kinsler – TEX
R HR RBI SB AVG
101 31 86 31 .253
Kinsler is actually not very far behind Utley in my book. A 30-30 season last year, he set career highs in both categories. His batting average was unusually low, dragged down in part due to a low batting average on balls in play (.245). He should see some improvement to that number, as he regresses back toward the mean. Look for Kinsler to hit 25-30 HR, drive in 90+ runs, and steal 25+ bases again. The potential for Utley lite.

3. Ben Zobrist – TAM
Also qualifies at SS and OF
R HR RBI SB AVG
91 27 91 17 .297
Zobrist was a player last year who won a lot of leagues for his owners. He was a huge surprise, posting career highs in nearly every category, all while splitting time between 2B, SS, and RF. I have to imagine that he’s going to see at least some regression, simply due to the league adjusting to him slightly. However, his BABIP last season (.330) is not out of the range of repeatable, and the fact that he remains eligible at all 3 positions make him a huge asset to any team. I wouldn’t draft him earlier than Utley or Kinsler, but that flexibility really moves him in front of other 2B in my opinion.

4. Brandon Phillips – CIN
R HR RBI SB AVG
78 20 98 25 .276
Phillips is another player who, year in and year out, performs well. While he seems less and less likely to post another 30-30 season, he has gone 20-20 in each of the last two seasons. Having Orlando Cabrera to potentially hit in front of him in the lineup should also help some of his other totals, specifically RBI. Very quietly, I think he’ll post another 20-20 season, and potentially break through with 100+ RBI as well. He doesn’t have the name recognition of Utley or Kinsler, but he’s still a very good 2B, especially for fantasy purposes.

5. Brian Roberts – BAL
R HR RBI SB AVG
110 16 79 30 .283
Roberts has always been known for providing stolen bases and runs to fantasy owners, along with a few homeruns and some rbi. Interestingly, Roberts posted his 3rd season with 50+ doubles last year. I think that this could potentially help his homerun total as well, but he’s probably not going to get to 20 or more in a season. But a 15 homer, 30 stolen base, 100+ run hitter who will probably drive in at least 55-60 runs and post a .280 batting average? That’s definitely in the realm of possibility again for Roberts. And at 2B, you’re not likely to find a whole lot of players that will do that either.

6. Dan Uggla – FLA
R HR RBI SB AVG
84 31 90 2 .243
Uggla is an excellent power hitter. He’s going to drive in a lot of runs as a result of this. However, he doesn’t provide any value in terms of speed, and is almost always going to be a drag on your batting average. If you can get him paired with a high-speed, high-average type player at a different position, you’ll end up with some excellent value. It seems to me like you’re going to have to draft him sooner than his actual value would be. But if you need power, he’s your guy. Watch, as there remains a possibility that he gets traded still this season.

7. Aaron Hill – TOR
R HR RBI SB AVG
103 36 108 6 .286
I’m not really sure what to make of Aaron Hill. 36 homeruns is nothing to ignore, but I am not sure he is able to repeat that. Of his 36 homers last season, he pulled 31 to left field, and 4 to center. He’s a dead-pull hitter at this point, and I’m not sure that the league doesn’t catch up and adjust how they pitch him as a result. I ranked him here because I think he’s going to be closer to 20 homers than 30 this upcoming season. He’s still likely to provide a .280 batting average, score near 100 runs and drive in near 100 as well, which still makes him a valueable 2B. I just wouldn’t draft him expecting him to provide 35+ again.

8. Dustin Pedroia – BOS
R HR RBI SB AVG
115 15 72 20 .296
Pedroia is another second baseman who’s going to provide you with excellent numbers in a couple of categories (runs, stolen bases), and passable numbers in the rest. He seems likely to have another season with around 15 homers and 15-20 stolen bases, with a huge amount of runs scored, and a solid batting average as well. He’s another player who I think could be drafted higher than his value predicates, partially because of the fact that he is on the Red Sox. That said, he’s a solid fantasy second baseman, and won’t really kill you in any of the 5 categories.

9. Gordon Beckham – CHW
Also qualifies at 3B, Will qualify at 2B after 5 starts
R HR RBI SB AVG
58 14 63 7 .270
Beckham won’t qualify at 2B to start the season, but the White Sox have made it clear that they want him to be their 2B going forward. As a result, I ranked him here, as he will definitely provide more value as a 2B once he does qualify. Beckham only played in 103 games last season, not being called up until June. In a full season, I can see him posting a 20 homer season with double digit stolen bases as well. If you can find someone to play there for that first week of the season, you should be pretty happy with the production Beckham will give you the rest of the time.

10. Robinson Cano – NYY
R HR RBI SB AVG
103 25 85 5 .320
Cano posted career highs in homers and runs last season, and I think that was due in part to the new Yankee stadium. I think Cano can probably repeat the run total, but will probably drop back to around 20 homers. He has provided a great batting average in most seasons, and is probably a reasonable expectation to hit around .300 again this season. A good solid value 2B.

11. Jose Lopez – SEA
R HR RBI SB AVG
69 25 96 3 .272
The first thing that came to my mind when I looked at Jose Lopez was that I generally am not a fan of him as a fantasy player. And after looking back on the stats, I’m not entirely sure why that is. He posted a career high in homers last season (25), partially due to an increase in his fly-ball % (44% vs. career avg of 37%). However, he drives in a lot of runs, scores a solid amount of runs, and will usually hit for a decent average. There’s not a lot of upside to be had with Lopez, but he’s still a viable 2B option in nearly all leagues.

12. Asdrubal Cabrera – CLE
Also qualifies at SS
R HR RBI SB AVG
81 6 68 17 .308
Cabrera seems primed to improve on last season, and looks like a really good sleeper. He’s not likely to hit more than about 7 or 8 homeruns in a season, but he’s likely to give an excellent batting average and approach 20 stolen bases also. Throw in the additional positional eligibility, and it moves him just slightly ahead of the next player on the list.

13. Ian Stewart – COL
Also qualifies at 3B
R HR RBI SB AVG
74 25 70 7 .228
Stewart is the beneficiary of the non-tendering of Garrett Atkins, as he should come into camp as the everyday 3B. However, the Rockies appear to have hedged their bet a little, bringing Melvin Mora in on a 1-year contract as well. Stewart is a good source of power, and his batting average should improve back towards the .260-.270 range. He’s not likely to provide more than the 7 steals he did last season, but any are a bonus really. Watch during spring training to see how his role plays out, as he may end up playing 2B instead, or even potentially on the bench at times as well.

14. Howie Kendrick – LAA
R HR RBI SB AVG
61 10 61 11 .291
Kendrick was sent down for part of the 2009 season, and came back and performed much better. With a full season of playing time, he could conceivably go for 15 homers and 15 stolen bases, while posting a high batting average as well. I ranked him this low due to the fact that I still have some concern about the fact that he needed time down in the minors to correct errors in his swing last year, and that it could conceivably happen again. He’s a definite upside pick though, as he could end up in the top 10 at 2B if he performs well.

15. Mark Ellis – OAK
R HR RBI SB AVG
52 10 61 10 .263
Ellis is another solid 2B that isn’t going to hurt you too much in any of the 5 categories. He’ll provide you with double-digit homers, steals, and usually between 50-60 runs and rbi along with a .260 average. Nothing particularly special, but nothing that’s going to kill you at the position either. Unfortunately, his lineup is not known for being particularly good at scoring runs, so those numbers are unlikely to improve as a result of that.


After my top 15, there’s not a whole lot out there. Probably the most interesting players left are Casey McGehee (MIL) and Rickie Weeks (MIL). However, McGehee is no lock for playing time at either 2B or 3B, and Weeks I simply do not trust to stay healthy. While some of the injuries have been very unusual, they seem to occur with unusual regularity to him.

Tomorrow I will be starting my series of team previews, with the Baltimore Orioles on Monday. The next fantasy preview will be on Saturday with my preview of the 3B position.