A couple days ago, I went to Jamey Newberg’s brother, Barry Newberg’s new restaurant, Mooyah Burgers. They serve burgers, fries and shakes. Their burgers are some of the best I’ve ever had. Their fries are good if you put more salt on them. I haven’t had a shake, but my dad had one and said that it was good. I really recommend it because the burgers are awesome. It is on Park and the Tollway (see http://mooyah.com/).
This week I will analyze all the hitters on the Rangers active roster.
Hank was a huge prospect when he came up and did very well his 1st and 2nd full years. He has steadily declined every year and has always done well in the 1st half and declined in the 2nd half. He has been an All-Star 2 times in his career. I think he will get a little better this year but not too much, because he’s indicating that he’s going to listen to Rudy better.
Frank 1st became a starter in 2001 and played very well. 2001 was also his 1st year without some kind of injury. He has hit .300 or over four years during his career, 1 year with the Tigers, one year with the Rangers, and two with the Blue Jays. He has a weak arm which limits his outfield fielding ability. He doesn’t hit many home runs at all. His career high for one season is 13. In his 10-year career, he only has 72 total.
Nelson is a huge prospect, and all we have left from the Carlos Lee trade. Nelson has the potential to be a huge power hitter. From what I’ve seen of him, which is very little, he let’s mistakes stick with him a little too long. If he reaches his potential, he’ll be great, but if he doesn’t, he’ll probably come nowhere close to it.
Jerry went into Spring Training this year fighting for a job and won a job by batting almost .500. He was what we got in return for Phil Nevin in a trade with the Cubs. Since then, Hairston has been more important to the Rangers than Phil Nevin was to the Cubs. Hairston has been a primary starter two years in his career, both with the Orioles. He’ll be a big part of the Rangers this year, filling in almost everywhere when a starter needs rest. I think he’ll bat better than last year’s .205 with Texas and will be solid defensively.
Matt has played with the Diamondbacks, Phillies and now Rangers. His best year so far was his rookie year, when he batted .257 and hit 7 HR with 29 RBI’s. He also played the most games in a season in his career, playing in 78 games. I don’t think he’ll play much, considering that he’s the 25th man, but will play well for his amount of playing time.
Ian had a very good rookie year last year, batting .286 with 14 HR’s and 55 RBI’s in 120 games. This year he has gotten off to a great start, batting .357 with 5 HR’s and 9 RBI’s in 9 games. Right now he’s on pace to bat .357 with about 80 HR’s and 144 RBI’s. Like Alfonso Soriano, he can make great plays on hard balls, but on easy balls he loses focus and sometimes makes errors.
Of active catchers that have played at least 130 games, Gerald has the 4th highest percentage of throwing out baserunners trying to steal. Only Yadier Molina, Pudge, and Henry Blanco are higher. Last year was his 1st year of playing a large portion of the season, and he batted great, hitting .296. Now that he finally has the starting catcher job to himself, I expect him to continue to be strong on offense and defense and to keep improving at calling games.
Kenny has a weak arm that many teams will challenge. He has good speed and almost no power. He struggled in Spring Training and is struggling so far this year. But he has hit over .300 each of the last two years, so hopefully will bounce back and have another strong year.
Sammy took a year off last year after playing poorly for the Orioles the year before. He has been quickly declining every year since the 64 home-run year in 2001. He had a great Spring Training, which is why he’s on the team. If he hits 10 more home runs he’ll have 600. I expect him to come back and hit between .260 and .280 with about 25 homers.
This is the second year Chris has been in the majors. Last year he was 0-for-8. He got his first major league hit this year and it was an RBI single. We got him in a trade with the White Sox in the offseason (for minor league pitcher Johnny Lujan). Chris is a strong defensive catcher.
Mark has 2 Gold Gloves and 1 All-Star appearance. He is one of the Rangers’ best players. He hits over or around .300 and hits about 30-40 home runs. Last year, he got a lot of doubles. He’s made a habit of starting slow and ending the year great. I predict Mark will do about the same as last year, but hit about 5 more homers and get about 10 more RBI’s.
Brad never was a good hitter when it came to batting average, but last year he struck out about 1 time in 2.8 at-bats. This year he is striking out a lot again. I think he will do the same as last year and lose his platoon job.
Michael has gotten over 200 hits for the past 4 years. He led the league in batting average in ’05. He doesn’t hit for much power, but he’s not real low on it, either. He is a 3-time All-Star. I expect him to be an All-Star once again and get over 220 hits.
Results of last week’s poll:
Question: Who do you think is the best Rangers bullpen pitcher?
Benoit – 14%
Chen – 0%
Feldman – 5%
Gagne – 9%
Loe – 5%
Mahay – 0%
Otsuka – 60%
Wilson – 5%
Wood – 2%
Come back next week for my personal experiences with each of the Rangers pitchers.