Sunday, February 24, 2008

Analysis of Spring Training Outfielders and Catchers

The Rangers opened Spring Training last week with 12 outfielders and 6 catchers in major league camp. I did an analysis of all the outfielders and catchers in big league camp, gave their chances of making the team at the end of Spring Training, and predicted the outfield and catching rosters.


Brandon Boggs:
Brandon hit .266 with the RoughRiders last year and .250 with the Blaze last year, with a .262 total average on the year. Overall last year he had 23 home runs, 73 RBI’s, and 84 walks. He strikes out a lot, though, striking out 131 times in just last year. Last year, he had a 75% stolen base percentage, stealing 15 out of 20 tries. He has almost no chance of making the team out of camp and probably for the whole year.
Percentage: 0.1% chance of making the 25-man active roster at the end of Spring Training

Julio Borbon:
Julio was drafted out of Tennessee just last year, and is a center fielder (where we already have Josh Hamilton), so there is no chance of him making the team, unless they plan to make him the center-field version of David Clyde.
Percentage: 0%

Jason Botts:
Jason has not played well in the majors; batting .242 with 3 home runs and 23 RBI’s in 244 at-bats. He’s played very well in the minors, though, batting a lifetime .293 with 112 home runs and 540 RBI’s in 3,053 at-bats. He has no options left so he will probably make the team, unless he has an incredibly bad camp.
Percentage: 86.7%

Milton Bradley:
Milton was just signed over the offseason after hitting .306 with 13 homers and 37 RBI’s in 209 major league at-bats split between Oakland and San Diego last year. He will be on the team, probably as the DH to start the season while he finishes recovering from injury. Once he’s recovered he’ll have a corner outfield spot.
Percentage: 100%

Marlon Byrd:
After hitting .223 with 18 RBI’s with the Nationals in 2006, he had a career year last year, batting .307 (career-high), with 10 homers (career-high), 70 RBI’s (career-high), 5 stolen bases (tied for second most), 60 runs (second most), and 414 at-bats (second most). He will make the team unless he’s traded before the end of camp.
Percentage: 100%

Frank Catalanotto:
After struggling early last year, Cat came on strong after injury and hit .260 on the year. He had 11 homers, which is tied for second most in his career, and 44 RBI’s. He only had 28 walks all year. Last year’s OBP for Frank was .337, only seven points higher than his highest batting average (.330 in 2001, in which he had 463 at-bats). Even after last year’s awful year for Cat, he’ll make the team as a backup outfielder, DH, and first baseman.
Percentage: 100%

Nelson Cruz:
Nelson was the key to the Francisco Cordero trade because he had a lot of potential, but even given multiple chances he hasn’t come through for the Rangers. He has a .282 career on base percentage and a .231 career batting average. He has no options left and I think he’ll be off the team at the end of spring.
Percentage: 26.3%

Jason Ellison:
Jason has a .251 career batting average in 541career at-bats. He’s played for the Giants and the Reds. Last year he hit .283 for the Giants in 46 at-bats, and .188 for the Reds in 48 at-bats totaling .234 in 94 at-bats. He had only one HR and 2 RBI’s. He struck out 27 times and walked only 8. He struck out in 29% of his at-bats. He might make it up to the majors sometime in the year, but not out of the spring, unless he does something incredible.
Percentage: 16.8%

Josh Hamilton:
Over the offseason the Rangers traded Edinson Volquez to the Reds for Josh, who batted .292 with 19 home runs and 49 RBI’s last year. He was the Reds leadoff man, even though he has a lot of power. It is unlikely that he will lead off here. He is injury prone, but pending injury he’ll make the team.
Percentage: 100%

John Mayberry Jr.:
Last year John didn’t do very well average wise, hitting only .241 in 245 at-bats in Frisco, and only .230 in 244 at-bats in Bakersfield. That totals up to a .235 batting average. But he had 30 home runs and 83 RBI’s over the course of the year. Last year’s average and the fact that John has only made it to AA (plus the fact that he’s not on the 40-man roster) will keep him from making the team.
Percentage: 0%

Kevin Mench:
Kevin had 288 at-bats last year, and hit .267 with 8 homers and 37 RBI’s for the Brewers. Kevin is a very streaky hitter. He has a very good chance of coming up due to an injury, but unless he plays terrific, there’s too much competition for him to make the team at the end of camp, since the Rangers have the option of sending him to AAA until June.
Percentage: 25.4%

David Murphy:
Last year with the Rangers, David hit .340 with 2 home runs, 14 RBI’s and 12 doubles in 103 at-bats after only having two AB’s with the Red Sox the first half of the year. After having a good year last year, he will probably plateau a left or right field position.
Percentage: 95.9%

Predicted outfield roster:
Center Field: Josh Hamilton
Right Field: Marlon Byrd/Milton Bradley
Left Field: David Murphy/Frank Catalanotto
DH: Milton Bradley/Jason Botts

Next in line:
Nelson Cruz
Jason Ellison
Kevin Mench


Gerald Laird:
Gerald really struggled last year, hitting only.224 with 9 homers and 47 RBI’s. It was a big disappointment after his 2006 batting average of .296. He also almost doubled his strikeout total from ’06. It went from 54 to 103. Last year might lead to him getting a backup role. He is very good at fielding, though, as he threw out 40% of baserunners trying to steal last year. The team’s ERA when Gerald was behing the plate last year was 4.78, which is okay. He’s going to spring training this year battling Saltalamacchia for the starting catcher position. I think he will be the backup catcher.
Percentage: 87.4%

Adam Melhuse:
Adam hit a total of .213 last year split between the A’s and the Rangers. He hit .231 in Oakland and .206 with the Rangers. He only had one home run and 9 RBI’s the whole year in his 94 total at-bats. He struck out 26 times in those at-bats, which is striking out 28 percent of the time. Melhuse threw out only 9% of baserunners trying to steal last year, while he was with the Rangers. But the pitchers had a good ERA in Adam’s 123 innings behind the plate. The Rangers’ ERA was 4.02 with Melhuse catching. Even though he didn’t play very well last year, his experience could make him the backup especially if the Rangers end up moving Laird.
Percentage: 28.9%

Max Ramirez:
We just got Max in the Kenny Lofton trade last year. He hit .303 with 12 home runs and 62 RBI’s in High-A Kinston before coming to the Rangers, and hit .307 with 4 home runs and 20 RBI’s in High-A Bakersfield after coming to the Rangers. Since Max is only in High-A, he doesn’t have any chance at making the team throughout the whole year.
Percentage: 0%

Jarrod Saltalamacchia:
After getting Salty in the Mark Teixeira trade last year he hit .251 with 7 home runs and 21 RBI’s after coming and hit .284 with 4 home runs and 12 RBI’s with the Braves before coming here. But Jarrod threw out only 16% of baserunners trying to steal (while with the Rangers) and the Rangers had a 4.75 ERA with Salty behind the plate. But unless he completely blows it in the spring, he’ll be on the team, most likely as the starting catcher.
Percentage: 98.7%

Chris Stewart:
Chris started the season on the team and hit .243 with 0 home runs and 3 RBI’s in 37 at-bats before being sent down to Oklahoma City. There he hit .242 with 2 home runs and 21 RBI’s. He has a chance at making the team on March 31st as a backup but he probably won’t. What gives him a chance is the fact that he can field very well and Gerald Laird might not accept a back-up role.
Percentage: 19.3%

Taylor Teagarden:
Last year in Bakersfield, Taylor hit .315 with 20 home runs and 67 RBI’s. In Frisco he hit .294 with 7 homers and 16 RBI’s in 102 at-bats. Also, Taylor is supposed to be able to field very well behind the plate and work well with pitchers. Even though he played very well last year, he’s not on the 40-man roster and he’s only made it to double-A, so he won’t make the team.
Percentage: 0%

Predicted catching roster:
Catcher: Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Backup: Gerald Laird

Next in Line:
Adam Melhuse
Chris Stewart

Results of last week’s poll:
Who do you think will get the #5 starting spot?
Kason Gabbard – 82%
Luis Mendoza – 5%
Other – 5%
Jason Davis – 2%
Kameron Loe – 2%

Come back next week for infielders.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Analysis of Spring Training Pitchers

The Rangers opened Spring Training this week with 28 pitchers in major league camp. I did an analysis of all the pitchers in big league camp, gave their chances of making the team at the end of Spring Training, and predicted the pitching roster.

Joaquin Benoit – Joaquin was the Rangers Pitcher of the Year last year, after posting a 2.85 ERA in his best season ever. He’ll be on the team.
Percentage: 100% chance of making the 25-man active roster at the end of Spring Training

Jason Davis – Jason was signed to compete for a #5 starting pitcher role and long reliever role. He has pitched 427 career innings, with a 4.78 career ERA and only 256 strike-outs. He isn’t a very good fielder with a .895 career fielding percentage. Last year, with the Indians and Mariners, he combined for a 5.84 ERA, 4.76 with the Indians and 6.31 with the Mariners. He had 37 total innings. I don’t think he’ll make the team out of Spring Training, but he has a good shot at being called up during the year.
Percentage: 25.4%

Thomas Diamond – He probably won’t make the team, especially since he’s not fully recovered from Tommy John. He’ll probably be in Oklahoma City.
Percentage: 0.5 %

Scott Feldman – Last year, Scott really struggled, with a 5.77 ERA in 39 innings. In 2006, he had a 3.92 ERA in 41.1 innings. In ’07 Scott had 32 walks compared to 10 in ’06. If he pitches well in Spring Training, he could make the team. Otherwise, he’ll probably start in Oklahoma City.
Percentage: 33.9%

Frankie Francisco – Frankie had a 4.55 ERA with 49 strike-outs in 59.1 innings pitched. He will have the first shot at a bullpen spot. He should make the team.
Percentage: 94.7%

Kazuo Fukumori – Kazuo Fukumori, who we signed from Japan this offseason, will be the 7th or 8th inning guy unless he totally blows it in Spring Training. Last year with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, Kazuo had a 4.75 ERA with 33 strike-outs in 36 innings pitched. In 2006, he had a 2.17 ERA with 55 strike-outs in 58 innings pitched. He will make the team.
Percentage: 100%

Kason Gabbard – Kason, who was traded to the Rangers from the Red Sox last year, went 6-1on the year with a 4.65 ERA. He also had 55 strike-outs in 81.1 innings pitched. He’ll probably be the #4 or 5 starter. As long as he has a decent spring and based on his performance last year, the Rangers will want him in the rotation because he’ll be their only lefty.
Percentage: 98.6 %

Franklyn German - Franklyn has a chance of making the team, although not a very good one. He has a 4.60 ERA in 137 IP spread throughout five years. In 2006, he had a 3.00 ERA in 12.0 innings pitched. He is not home run prone nor is he great against home runs. He has 99 strikeouts in his career. He was in Spring Training with the Rangers last year, but never made the team. I don’t think that he’ll make the team this year, either.
Percentage: 12.9%

Eddie Guardado – Eddie had been very injury-prone lately. He has only pitched 27.2 innings over the past two years. He had a 7.24 ERA last year. He could do very well or he could be on the DL the whole year.
Percentage: 78.9% (due to injury chance)

Matt Harrison – Matt is only in big league camp to get experience. He has no chance to make the team. Matt hasn’t played above double-A. Last year, in the twenty games he played before getting injured, he went 5-7 with a 3.39 ERA and 78 strike-outs in 116.1 innings pitched.
Percentage: 0%

Eric Hurley – Eric had a great year last year with the Roughriders, going 7-2 with a 3.25 ERA before getting promoted to Oklahoma, where he struggled with a 4-7 record and a 4.91 ERA. Eric probably will not make the team out of Spring Training due to his lack of experience and Oklahoma City troubles. He will probably be called up during the year, though, if he does well in Oklahoma City and the Rangers are out of the playoff race.
Percentage: 9.8%

Jason Jennings – Jason was signed to be part of the starting rotation. He had a rough year last year (6.45 ERA in 19 games) due to injury. Unless he gets injured he’ll make the team.
Percentage: 98.7%

Kea Kometani – Kea was converted into a middle reliever/set-up man/closer last year. He had a 4.27 ERA and 8 saves with the double-A Riders last year and will probably not make the team. He might make the team if there was less competition, but there’s too much competition for him to have much of a chance, especially since he’s not currently on the 40-man roster.
Percentage: 2.3%

Wes Littleton – In ’06 Wes had a 1.73 ERA and last year he had a 4.31 ERA. Wes has a career record of 5-3. He’s had major league success but I think he’ll barely miss making the team. He’ll probably be called up sometime during the year as an injury replacement.
Percentage: 48.9%

Kameron Loe – Kameron will probably make the team as a long reliever, but it’s not a sure thing. He should be competing for the last relief spot with Wes Littleton, Jamey Wright, Scott Feldman, and Jason Davis. Last year, he pitched 23 games as a starter with a 5.36 ERA and 5 games as a reliever with a 5.40 ERA. There are probably too many locks for the starting rotation for him to have much of a shot at being a starter, but hopefully he’ll make it tough on the Rangers like he did last spring.
Percentage: 66.6%

Warner Madrigal – Warner has only made it to single-A ball, so he has no chance to make the team. Last year in single-A he had a 2.07 ERA with 75 strike-outs in 61 innings pitched.
Percentage: 0%

Brandon McCarthy – Brandon will get the #4 or 5 spot. The Rangers hope he’ll bounce back from a rough year last year (5-10, 4.87 ERA in only 23 games).
Percentage: 100%

Luis Mendoza – Last year with the Rangers, Mendoza had a 2.25 ERA in 16 innings, and even though he pitched well, he probably won’t make the team. He’ll probably start in Oklahoma City but may be used as a spot starter during the season.
Percentage: 33.3%

Kevin Millwood – Kevin will be the #1 starter.
Percentage: 100%

A.J. Murray – Murray had a 4.50 ERA in 28 major league innings last year. In Oklahoma City last year, he had a 3.08 ERA. He probably won’t make the team out of camp unless John Rheinecker really struggles, but he has an outside chance. He’ll be on the short list to be called up during the season.
Percentage: 19.6%

Vicente Padilla – Vicente will be the #2 or 3 pitcher this year. The Rangers need a much better year from him in 2008.
Percentage: 100%

Elizardo Ramirez – Elizardo has been up and down ever since 2004. He has played for the Phillies and Reds. He has done very well in the minors, going 39-27 with a 3.45 career minor league ERA, and a 4-14 record with a 5.99 ERA in the majors. I think he might make it up sometime this year, but that he doesn’t stand much of a chance out of Spring Training.
Percentage: 7.1%

John Rheinecker – John had a 5.36 ERA in the majors last year, mostly as a reliever. He probably has first shot at the left-handed reliever role since he’s out of options.
Percentage: 74.1%

Josh Rupe – Josh is recovering from an injury. That will probably keep him from having a chance at making the team out of camp.
Percentage: 1%

Robinson Tejeda – After last year’s 5-9 record and 6.61 ERA in 95.1 innings, he almost has no chance at making the team. The fact that he wasn’t brought up in September probably means that he’s out of the Rangers’ plans. He has no options remaining so is probably out of the organization by the end of Spring Training.
Percentage: 6.7%

Bill White – Bill made it up to the team last year and went 2-0 with a 4.82 ERA in 9.1 innings in his major league debut. With the RoughRiders last year, he went 2-0 with a 4.44 ERA in 48.2 innings. I don’t think he’ll make the team for Opening Day, but that he might later make the team.
Percentage: 9.9%

C.J. Wilson – Last year he had a 3.03 ERA. He’ll be fighting for the closer spot this year and even if he loses that he’ll make the team.
Percentage: 100%

Jamey Wright – Jamey had a career year with the Rangers last year, with his best ever ERA (3.62). He did much better as a reliever than a starter with a 2.05 ERA in relief and a 4.66 ERA when he started. Jamey really struggles in the 3rd inning with a 9.35 ERA in that inning. With his good year last year, he definitely has a shot, but not being on the 40-man roster could hold him back. I don’t think he’ll make the team for their first game, but that he’ll be on the team sometime during the year.
Percentage: 35.7%

Predicted pitching roster:
Starting pitcher #1: Kevin Millwood
Starting pitcher #2: Vicente Padilla
Starting pitcher #3: Jason Jennings
Starting pitcher #4: Brandon McCarthy
Starting pitcher #5: Kason Gabbard
Closer: CJ Wilson
Set-up man: Eddie Guardado
7th inning man: Kazuo Fukumori
Middle Reliever: Frankie Francisco
Middle/Long Reliever: Joaquin Benoit
Long Reliever: Kameron Loe
Left-handed Reliever: John Rheinecker

Next in line:
Jason Davis
Scott Feldman
Wes Littleton
Luis Mendoza
Jamey Wright

Results of last week’s poll:
Who do you think will be the closer in 2008?
CJ Wilson – 93%
Joaquin Benoit – 5%
Kazuo Fukumori – 2%
Others – 0%

Come back next week for an analysis of the Spring Training outfielders.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Travis Metcalf Interview

This week, I interviewed Rangers infielder Travis Metcalf.

1. What were you more proud of, getting the career Kansas home run record, or being ranked the top defensive third baseman in the Big 12 by Baseball America and why?
Top defensive 3rd baseman. I have always prided myself on my defense so when I got the award I really felt satisfied that my hard work paid off.

2. How difficult was the recovery from your knee injury in 2002? Can you describe the recovery process?
Very tough! I was told that it would be a 6 month recovery, and I actually got done in 5 months. However all the rehab and hours strengthening my knee were horrible.

3. Why didn’t you sign with the Twins when they drafted you in 2003?
It was more of a "Didn't feel right" type of thing. My scout with the Twins did a great job; however they never really got back to me in time before school started about how I was going to fit in or the money situation, so I just didn't feel right leaving school at the time.

4. In 2005, when you struggled in April, were you still glad to be in Bakersfield or did you wish you hadn’t skipped Clinton?
No, never. I knew I was ready to be at that level. I was just getting situated with a different swing. I have always been trying to tweak my swing to adjust to the levels of pitching.

5. What went through your mind when you won the Rangers Minor League Player of the Year Award?
It was a CRAZY feeling. I knew I had a good year. However so did Jason Botts that year. So when I got the phone call I was so happy and appreciative that the Rangers selected me.

6. Can you describe the day that you were called up to the majors for the first time last season? That was another Crazy day. That feeling is indescribable. It was something that I waited my whole life for, and when it actually happened I didn't know how to react. I was overwhelmed!

7. What is the biggest adjustment you had to make when you started facing major-league pitchers?
Being more selective. I know I can hit. The biggest adjustment was being selective and trying not to get myself out, instead make the pitcher get me out.

8. Is there anything specific you’ve been working on in the off-season and, if so, what is it?
- Just getting my strength back so i can stay healthy. Also just working with Rudy on my timing in my swing.

9. What do you think has been your best professional game and why?
It was a game against Seattle at home, when I went 4-for-4. I was having a tough time pulling the ball. During that game I got 3 pull hits, and still went opposite field for 1. I felt like I could hit anything.

10. Who are the three toughest pitchers you’ve faced and why?
Eric Bedard, Brad Lidge, K Rod. Same answer. Because they made me look stupid!!

11. Who are your three favorite teammates since you joined the Rangers organization and why?
That’s tough because, since I haven’t spent much time in the major leagues, I'm split between the two. Kevin Mahar, Brandon Boggs, and many guys that I spent time with coming up and in Frisco are really good friends of mine. Marlon Byrd, Frank Cattalanotto, Brandon McCarthy, Kam Loe, and Kinsler have all been huge helps when I got called up.

12. What is the toughest thing about major league life and why?
Just keeping up with it. Getting to the big leagues has been a challenge. However staying there is the toughest part. That's what I'm trying to do now!

13. What was your favorite team growing up and why?
Kansas City Royals. I lived close and they were my favorite team.

14. What sports did you play growing up and which were you best at?
I played football, basketball, and baseball. I would like to think I was best at baseball.

15. What are your hobbies?
I'm a huge movie critic so I love watching movies. Anything outdoors, I love the lake. Also playing with my new puppy, an English bulldog named "Diesel".

I would like to thank Travis for giving so much of his time to do this interview. He agreed to do the interview when I saw him at the Rangers Fan Fest and it was very nice of him to contact me afterwards and follow up.

Also, this week the Rangers acquired OF Michael Hernandez from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for RHP Armando Galarraga.

Michael Hernandez:
Michael got drafted three times without signing, and then in 2005, when he needed to be drafted, he didn’t get drafted. Michael got signed by the Tigers before the 2006 baseball season started. That year Michael hit for the cycle twice. Last year in high-A he hit .260 and in double-A e hit .250. Michael could do well, but he doesn’t have that much potential.

Armando Galarraga:
Since 2006, Galarraga has gone from the rookie league to the majors in the Rangers organization, only skipping regular-A. Last year in Frisco, he went 9-6 with a 4.02 ERA in 127.2 innings pitched. In Oklahoma City, he went 2-2 with a 4.74 ERA in 24.2 innings and went 0-0 with a 6.23 ERA in 8.2 major league innings pitched. Galarraga still has an option, so I don’t know why we DFA’d him instead of Robinson Tejeda.

Michael has a chance at becoming a good major leaguer, but probably won’t. Galarraga may not do much either, but has a better chance of having a major league impact than Michael. Even though Armando was DFA’d I think they could have gotten more for him and possibly should have DFA’d someone who had no options remaining and was unlikely to make the team out of spring training.
Grade: B-

This weekend my dad and I went to Ticketstock at the Plano Centre. It was a lot of fun like always. The highlight was getting an autograph from Nolan Ryan. We got there at 5:15am and waited outside for almost 6 hours for them to hand out autograph tickets. We were numbers 376 and 377 out of 500. I got to meet Nolan for the first time and tell him that I was named after him (my middle name). I also got autographs from CJ Wilson, Tank Johnson, Leon Lett, Philippe Boucher, Marty Turco, and Brenden Morrow. I also got to talk to some of the people who work at the Ticket like Mike Rhyner (who said he reads my blog), Craig Miller, and Gordon Keith.

Results of last week’s poll:
Who do you think will be the Rangers starting catcher in 2010?
Taylor Teagarden – 54%
Jarrod Saltalamacchia – 34%
Gerald Laird – 6%
Other – 4%
Max Ramirez – 2%
Kevin Richardson – 0%

Come back next week for a Spring Training Pitchers Analysis.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Taylor Teagarden Interview

At the Rangers Fan Fest last week, I got to interview Taylor Teagarden. It was very nice of him and I would like to thank him for doing this. It was my first face-to-face interview.

1. What was it like to win championships with UT and Spokane in the same year? Was one more exciting than the other?

Taylor said that the college championship was definitely more memorable. It was his third season and he was pretty sure it would be his last one. They had battled all year and had lost games in the regional and super regional. He was playing with long-time teammates and lifelong friends and winning a championship with them in their final year together was amazing. Taylor said he didn’t mean to take anything away from the Spokane championship. That was also exciting especially because the team wasn’t expected to do much.

2. What led you to choosing Scott Boras as your agent?

Taylor said that Boras had contacted him in high school and was a good advisor to him in high school and college. He was contacted by a lot of other agents but Boras’ firm was the best and did the best job working with stats.

3. Why didn’t you sign with the Cubs when they drafted you in 2002?

Taylor wanted to go to UT. He had been a Longhorn fan his whole life and had been advised to go to college in case baseball didn’t work out. He said that he felt it was a good move.

4. What did you change in your batting approach between 2003 and 2004, when your batting average went from .315 to .273, but your walks went from 23 to 44 and your homers went from 5 to 10?

He said that it was just on off year. He got off to a good start but got really tired and worn down. ‘I put a lot of pressure on myself and was trying to do too much’.

5. How did the struggles of your first week in the minors affect your confidence level and how did you turn it around?

Taylor said that it didn’t affect his confidence. He knew he could play every day and that he only had a month before the end of the season, so he didn’t get too worried about it. Once he got his first hit, it triggered something for him and he found his swing again. He thought that part of it might have been getting used to a wooden bat.

6. What was the recovery process from Tommy John surgery like?

‘It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do’. He had always been able to play baseball and it was a bad feeling to not be able to. He had to be patient and keep a positive outlook. He called it a year of basically not doing anything.

7. Why do you think you hit so much better as a catcher than as a DH last year?

Taylor doesn’t seem to enjoy DHing very much. He says that you’re more in the game as a catcher. As a DH, you don’t have the same blood flow. DHing is harder in his opinion. ‘There’s too much sitting on the bench’.

8. What went through your mind when the Rangers traded for Saltalamacchia?

Taylor thought it was something they had to do. Teixeira obviously wasn’t going to sign here and everyone needs lots of catching. He’s not worried about the competition.

9. Is there anything specific you’ve been working on in the off-season and, if so, what is it?

Taylor’s working on flexibility and is focusing on his hips to keep them in shape year-round.

10. What’s the biggest difference between college and minor league pitching?

Minor leaguers are better. ‘It’s very hard to make it to the double-A level.’

11. What do you think has been your best professional game and why?

Taylor first mentioned that there were a couple of big offensive games, such as a game in the Cal League where he went 4-for-5 with a couple of home runs. But the game he said was his most fun game as a catcher was a complete game shutout against Midland last year where he caught Doug Mathis. He said that Doug ‘dominated’ and that that kind of game is fun.

12. Who are the three toughest pitchers you’ve faced and why?

Josh Geer from San Antonio – he’s ‘tough’.
Juan Morillo, a Tulsa reliever who throws 99 mph.
Brandon Hynick from the California League.

13. Who are your three favorite teammates since you joined the Rangers organization and why?

Chris Davis – they spent the whole year together and are good friends.
Ben Harrison
Elvis Andrus

14. What is the toughest thing about minor league life and why?

Traveling. The trips are sometimes all day affairs. You have to eat and sleep a lot to keep fresh.

15. What was your favorite team growing up and why?

The Dallas Cowboys. Taylor’s still a big fan.

16. What sports did you play growing up and which were you best at?

Basketball, which he says he was pretty good at, baseball, which was his best sport without a doubt, golf, and football in high school.

17. How is your arm doing?
‘My arm is strong’.

18. What are your hobbies?
Dove hunting, golf, and watching football.

I would like to thank Taylor again for doing this. It was very nice of him to take up his time for it. I would also like to thank Jamey Newberg and Eleanor Czajka for arranging for me to interview Taylor after he finished signing autographs at the Fan Fest Newberg table last week.

Results of last week’s poll:
Which new player do you think will make the biggest difference this year?
Josh Hamilton – 88%
Jason Jennings – 9%
Milton Bradley – 3%
Others – 0%

Come back next week for a Rangers Spring Training Roster Analysis or an interview with Travis Metcalf.