The Rangers will be opening Spring Training with 9 outfielders in major league camp as long as no more moves are made. I did an analysis of all the outfielders in big league camp, gave their chances of making the team at the end of Spring Training, and predicted the outfield roster.
Brandon Boggs: Brandon made his major league debut last year and played pretty well. He was called up to the majors after hitting .309 through 18 games in Oklahoma City. When he first got called up he was hot. He ended up hitting .226 with 8 home runs and 41 RBI’s in the majors. Even though his batting average was low he had plenty of walks as his OBP was .333 even with that low batting average. He was also great defensively and made a few great throws from the outfield to cut someone off at the plate. Unfortunately, the Rangers have a lot of candidates for the outfield and Boggs is one of the ones with options, so even though I think that he is better than both Byrd and Catalanotto he is probably the odd man out just because of his options.
Percentage of making the team out of Spring Training: 43.2%
Julio Borbon: This is probably a year for Julio to get prepared to be in the majors next year. It will only be his third year in the minors in 2009. Last year Borbon hit .306 with two home runs and 36 RBI’s in 291 AB’s at High-A Bakersfield and he hit .337 with five home runs and 22 RBI’s in 255 AB’s at Double-A Frisco. Julio didn’t strikeout or walk very much last year as he only had 29 total walks throughout the whole season and only 62 strikeouts throughout the whole season.
Marlon Byrd: Marlon has played with the Rangers for two years now and has played pretty well in both of them. Last year Marlon hit .298 with 10 HR’s and 53 RBI’s. In 2007, he hit .307 with 10 HR’s and 70 RBI’s. His OBP has been above .350 both years. But Marlon struggled with runners in scoring position last year as he only hit .241 after hitting .315 with runners in scoring position in ’07. After getting a one-year deal for $3 million he is pretty much on the team this year, probably as a 4th outfielder.
Frank Catalanotto: Frank has not played well since coming back to the Rangers in ’07. He hit .300 in 2006 with Toronto, but then only .260 with the Rangers in ’07. He only hit .274 with 2 HR’s and 21 RBI’s in 248 AB’s last year. Frank hit .254 at home and .295 on the road last year even though the Rangers have a hitter’s ballpark. Also, he hit .280 before the All-Star break and .258 after the All-Star break, so he had a very up-and-down season. Even though Boggs deserves a spot on the roster more than Frank, Frank makes $4 million a year so he probably gets the spot.
Nelson Cruz: Nelson had a great year last year after struggling in both ’06 and ’07. He hit .342 with 37 HR’s and 99 RBI’s in just 383 triple-A AB’s. He got called up in August after tearing up the minors and dominated the majors, too. In just 115 AB’s he hit .330 with 7 HR’s and 26 RBI’s. Since he has no options left and he played so well in August and September for the Rangers last year, he will pretty much be on the Opening Day roster as long as he plays well in Spring Training.
Greg Golson: Last year Golson spent almost all of his time in double-A ball for the Phillies. He hit .282 with 13 HR’s and 60 RBI’s. His 23 stolen bases tied for sixth in the Eastern League but he also struck out the 3rd most times in the league with 130 K’s in 460 plate appearances. That means that he struck out in 28% of his plate appearances while he only walked in 7% of his plate appearances which isn’t very good. Greg will probably not make the team this year.
Josh Hamilton: Josh was the AL RBI leader last year, his first year with the Rangers and only the second year of his career. He had 130 RBI’s on the year. He hit .304 with 32 HR’s (67 if you count the Home Run Derby) as well. He played in 156 of the 162 games and had 331 total bases in those games. He has hit .311 with runners in scoring position. He is the face of the 2009 team and there is no way he doesn’t make the team.
Andruw Jones: The Rangers will reportedly be announcing a non-roster deal with Jones later this week, so I’m including him in this analysis. Andruw was great until 2007. He hit 25 or more home runs each year from 1998 all the way through 2007 and 80 or more RBI’s in all of those years. He led the NL with 51 HR’s and 128 RBI’s in 2005 and then hit 41 HR’s with 129 RBI’s in 2006. He had Gold Gloves in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007. In 2007, Andruw hit 26 HR’s with 94 RBI’s but only had a .222 AVG and a .311 OBP. Then he just plummeted last year as he only had 209 AB’s for the Dodgers and in those at-bats he hit only .158 with 3 HR’s and 14 RBI’s. He was still a good fielder, though, as he had a .993 fielding percentage. He has a chance to make the team but would have to have a very good Spring Training to do so. This move (signing Jones to a non-roster deal) could also help if Hank Blalock is traded, because now Jones could take over the DH spot if necessary.
David Murphy: David had a great year last year as he hit .275 with 14 HR’s and 74 RBI’s before getting injured in August. He hits much better against right-handed pitchers than left-handed pitchers, as he hit .282 against righties and only .258 against southpaws. He definitely deserves the starting role and is almost sure to get a spot on the team. The only thing that might cause that to not happen is if his injury affects his play somehow.
Predicted outfield roster:
Center Field: Josh Hamilton
Right Field: Nelson Cruz
Left Field vs. Righties: David Murphy
Left Field vs. Lefties: Marlon Byrd
Back-up Outfielder: Frank Catalanotto
Next in line:
Results of last week’s poll (which means nothing now):
If the Rangers sign Ben Sheets, where do you think they’ll finish in the division in 2009?
1st – 26%
2nd – 58%
3rd – 5%
4th – 8%
Come back next week for the analysis of the pitchers on the major league Spring Training roster, with my predictions for who will make the team.