The polling for the Texas Rangers Trades Broadcaster of the Year finished. Eric Nadel won with 43% of the vote, with Tom Grieve coming in second with 26%, and Josh Lewin in third with 23%.
This week I will compare the Rangers roster, position-by-position, with the Angels roster, and say who has the edge on the other team.
Starting Pitcher #1: Rich Harden, TEX <--- Jered Weaver, LAA
Rich is very injury-prone, but if he can stay healthy, which I’m hoping he will, he is an ace. Jered had a 16-8 record and a 3.75 ERA last year. But since 2005, Rich has had an ERA over 3.00 in only two years, consistently having an ERA in the 2.00’s, which is amazing. I’ll take Rich Harden out of those two.
Starting Pitcher #2: Scott Feldman, TEX <--- Ervin Santana, LAA
This one is obvious. Feldman was 17-8 with a 4.08 ERA last year, and he got those 17 wins without even starting the first month of the season, while Ervin Santana was 8-8 with a 5.03 ERA, which is horrible for a number two starter. I think the Angels rotation is going to be why they finish the season in third place in the AL West.
Starting Pitcher #3: Colby Lewis, TEX <--- Joe Saunders, LAA
I cannot find Colby Lewis’ 2009 Japanese stats, but in 2008, for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, Colby went 15-8 with a 2.68 ERA in 178 innings pitched. Joe Saunders really struggled last year after a great year in 2008 (17-7, 3.41), as he went 16-7, but with a 4.60 ERA, which is much higher than he wanted. Colby dominated in Japan, and apparently got some new pitches, and with the Rangers seemingly so high on him, I went with Colby.
Starting Pitcher #4: Brandon McCarthy, TEX ---> Scott Kazmir, LAA
Scott Kazmir really struggled in Tampa Bay last year, with a 4.89 ERA, and just a 10-9 record, but after being traded to the Angels, he was dominant, with a 1.73 ERA, and, even though he only pitched 36.1 innings with the Angels, it is still very good. Brandon did better last year than in past years, with a 7-4 record and a 4.62 ERA, but I’d still much rather have Kazmir than McCarthy.
Starting Pitcher #5: Derek Holland, TEX <--- Matt Palmer, LAA
Even though Palmer’s stats were much better last year, I think Holland will have a much better year than Palmer this year. Holland showed his potential last year, but also struggled, as he went 8-13 with a 6.12 ERA, while Palmer went 11-2 with a 3.92 ERA. Even though the stats don’t back it up, I think Holland will have the better year.
Catcher: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, TEX ---> Mike Napoli, LAA
Even if you take away Salty’s injury-proneness, Napoli still has the edge, as Mike had a .272 average with 20 home runs and 56 RBI’s last year, while Salty hit just .233 with 9 home runs and 34 RBI’s. So Napoli hits for a better average, has more power, and doesn’t get injured so much, definitely giving him the edge.
First Base: Chris Davis, TEX ---> Kendry Morales, LAA
Even though I think that Chris will have an incredible year this year, based on last year’s stats, Kendry Morales probably will, too. Kendry hit .306 with 34 home runs and 108 RBI’s, while Chris Davis hit just .238 with 21 home runs and 59 RBI’s, although after being called back up, he did much better and really improved.
Second Base: Ian Kinsler, TEX <--- Howie Kendrick, LAA
Although Ian hit just .253 last year, compared to Kendrick’s .291, Ian still hit 31 home runs and had 86 RBI’s, while Kendrick just had 10 home runs and 61 RBI’s. I also expect Kinsler’s batting average to rebound this year, and go back up to his normal range.
Third Base: Michael Young, TEX <--- Brandon Wood, LAA
Michael is a perennial all-star and deserves to be. Last year he hit .322 with 22 home runs and 68 RBI’s. If it weren’t for a hamstring injury late in the season, he would have had 200 hits for the sixth time in his career. Brandon Wood had just 41 at-bats this year, and hit .195 in those minimal at-bats.
Shortstops: Elvis Andrus, TEX <--- Erick Aybar, LAA
Although Erick Aybar hit .312 compared to Andrus’ .267, and their power numbers are about the same, you can’t underestimate the importance of Elvis’ defense, which helps the pitchers out so much, and is why he’s better than Erick Aybar.
Left Field: Josh Hamilton, TEX ---> Juan Rivera, LAA
I would not be surprised at all if Josh had a great year and Juan had a terrible year, but after last year there’s no question that you have to go with Rivera. Juan hit .287 with 25 home runs and 88 RBI’s, and Josh hit .268 with 10 home runs and 54 RBI’s.
Center Field: Julio Borbon, TEX ---> Torii Hunter, LAA
I think that Borbon has a great chance to be better than Torii Hunter next year, but last year Hunter hit .299 with 22 home runs and 90 RBI’s, and it’s hard to go with a guy that had just 157 at-bats next year when he’s facing Torii Hunter.
Right Field: Nelson Cruz, TEX <--- Bobby Abreu, LAA
Bobby had a .293 AVG with 15 home runs and 103 RBI’s last year, which are great stats, but he is also old and getting older, while Nelson Cruz is still getting better. Last year Nelson hit .260, but also hit 33 home runs and had 76 RBI’s in 101 fewer at-bats than Abreu.
Designated Hitter: Vladimir Guerrero, TEX <--- Hideki Matsui, LAA
These are two old players, but last year they played very differently. Vlad hit .295, while Matsui hit .274, but Matsui hit 28 home runs and 90 RBI’s, while Vlad hit 15 home runs and 50 RBI’s. But Vlad is going from a pitcher’s ballpark to a hitter’s ballpark and Matsui is going from a hitter’s ballpark to a pitcher’s ballpark, and that’s why I took Vlad.
Team: Texas <--- Los Angeles
Texas has the better rotation (4 to 1), and the better offense (5 to 4), in my opinion, not to mention the better defense. That combination is a good sign that the Rangers are better than the Angels.
Come back next week for a comparison of the Rangers roster to the Mariners roster.