Yesterday, my dad, granddad and I went to Opening Day, and then my dad and I went to the RoughRiders game. Rangers Opening Day is always great and is a lot of fun, especially when it’s a pitching duel and the Rangers win, like yesterday. It was very, very cold at the RoughRiders game and I got all the RoughRiders players’ autographs that I didn’t have.
Last night, we saw Eric Gagne pitch for the RoughRiders on his rehab assignment. Before the game I asked him to sign a ball that I’m getting the Rangers to sign as a prize for the Newberg charity toy drive this summer. He told me that he was going to sign for me after the game. I knew he would be gone as soon as he was done pitching and he knew he would be gone as soon as he was done pitching. Just like I figured, Eric pitched to three batters and then left the park as soon as he was done. This happens all the time, when a player says that they will sign after the game when they know that they’ll be gone before it’s over. We see it happen in Spring Training a lot. Why didn’t he just say that he had to pitch and couldn’t sign instead of saying something he knew wasn’t true? Players don’t have to sign for anyone but they should either be a man of their word or don't give a word.
This week I will analyze all the pitchers on the Rangers active roster.
Joaquin takes a lot of time between pitches, which sometimes hurts the concentration of players fielding behind him. He needs to be more consistent, instead of having one game where he pitches 5 innings and they get 1 hit total and then another game where he gets no outs, allows 3 runs and leaves the game with the bases loaded. His inconsistency is the reason he isn’t normally put into close games (at least with Buck, we don’t know yet with Ron).
Bruce is very home-run prone, which really hurts his chances, especially since he’s in a hitters’ park. He’s probably going to be replaced be Gagne or Wright. He allowed the most home runs by anyone in the AL last year. He, like Benoit, is inconsistent which also holds him back. He might improve if he goes back to AA ball where he isn’t thinking about the win as much as trying to improve on his weaknesses.
Scott did great in ’05, but had an up and down year in ’06. His wind-up is strange, which helps him against more easily distracted batters. His fastball is about as fast as Kevin Millwood’s, so he doesn’t usually overpower hitters. He will be used as a middle reliever. I think he will have a good year and will be used more and more as the year goes on.
Kameron became a starter for the Rangers in late 2005 and did a great job. He did good enough to go into last year as the #3 starter. He really struggled and got sent down to the minors after an injury, where he was the rest of the year. He had a great Spring Training this year and made it into the bullpen, when he was expected by many to not make the team at all going into Spring Training. He will probably join the starting rotation some time this year.
Ron’s 1st two years with Texas were great, but he then struggled in ’05 and did well again in ’06. Like Feldman, he’s not an overpowering guy, but gets people out with control and getting them to ground out. He’ll mostly be used as a situational lefty.
Brandon was a huge prospect with Chicago (White Sox) when he got traded. He had been in the majors, but never for a full season. He has not done particularly well in the majors, but seems to be getting better and less home run prone.
Kevin had an off year (for him) last year with a 4.52 ERA after being the AL ERA leader in ’05. He has good movement and control with a fastball at around 92. He is not a strike-out pitcher, but is good at getting ground balls.
Akinori was the Rangers Pitcher of the Year last year, getting many saves and almost never blowing one. He also does well with precision and control and doesn’t get many strike-outs.
Padilla is an overpowering pitcher that can’t be hit on a good day and serves meatballs on a bad day. He is very inconsistent, especially at the end of the year. He can hit the high 90’s with a fastball. Last year was arguably his best year yet.
Tejeda, like Padilla, was a pitcher from the Phillies that we acquired last year. He started the season poorly, walking an average of 8 per 9 innings. He finished off the year great after being in the minors for a while, except for a few spot starts, and has the only good starting pitcher performance for the Rangers so far this year.
CJ is a very good prospect who can be any type of bullpen pitcher: long reliever, middle reliever, set-up man, situational lefty and closer. He can shut down hitters with any of his pitches, except for maybe his Spring Training experiment, the gyroball.
Mike is a former Royals pitcher who has an ERA in the mid-5’s. He will probably be replaced by Gagne or Wright.
Overall, I predict the Rangers to go 84-78 and go 25-20 in the division.
Come back next week for an analysis on the hitters.