Loving your team makes you a baseball fan but the truly die hard fans don’t stop there, no, they need to hate every other team as well. All through January we’re going to look at all the reasons you should hate every other team in baseball, excluding the obvious ones that none of them play in your area, wear white shoes, have an elephant mascot or sport green and gold uniforms. Today, we look at the Texas Rangers.
The Texas Rangers were all set to take the division by storm in 2014 with the acquisition and retention of some mighty fine baseball players. All of those guys, though, got hurt on opening day and their replacements got hurt the following day leaving the Texas Rangers with a slew of miscellaneous players that they probably had no intention of offering serious playing time to. In less than a season, the Texas Rangers went from division powerhouse and annual contenders to dead last in the division with the worst record in the American League. Couple that with the departure of manager Ron Washington and the 2014 season was a recipe for disaster for the Texas team.
Why should we hate them in 2015? Because those injuries have healed and unless they have truly been cursed by the devil himself, it’s unlikely that they will have such an injury prone season this year.
First, there’s Prince Fielder who, until last season, had eight consecutive seasons of 157 games or better with half of them being complete seasons. In each of those seasons, Fielder never had fewer than 25 home runs and only had fewer than 100 RBI’s once. The dude gets on base a lot and he has tremendous power with a career line of .285/.388/.522. If he can stay healthy in 2015 and have another 157+ game season, he’ll take the team to the playoffs by himself.
More from White Cleat Beat
- San Francisco Giants showing Oakland A’s offseason could be worse
- Lucas Luetge what Oakland A’s need in bullpen
- Oakland A’s bring Deolis Guerra back on minor league deal
- How much will Oakland A’s improvements matter in 2023?
- Oakland A’s giving Drew Rucinski a chance to prove himself
Of course, he doesn’t need to take the Texas Rangers all by himself because he’s got Adrian Beltre to help him out. 2014 was the first season that Beltre hit fewer than 30 home runs since signing with the Texas Rangers in 2011 and if the all star, silver slugger, MVP candidate, Gold Glover can return to his 2013 form, which is a reasonable expectation considering the team as a whole will be supporting him more, he’s a solid threat for 25+ home runs, 90+ RBI’s, and 70+ runs not to mention his defense.
The Texas Rangers don’t just stop at having two power bats in the lineup, though. Nope, they have to throw in guys like Shin-Soo Choo, Rougned Odor, and Leonys Martin who all can hit for average, knock out the occasional homer and get on base a fair amount. When you throw in Michael Choice who will probably hit .150 for the team except when he’s hitting .455 against the A’s, there’s a lot of reasons to hate the Texas Rangers offensively.
And, of course, there’s the pitching. They have this dude named Yu Darvish, I don’t know if you’ve heard of him, that is really quite talented. In three years with the team, he has never posted a losing record and although 2014 wasn’t an amazing year for him, it did see him pitch the fewest innings of his major league career and grab his first complete game (twice) and shutout. Darvish has been an All Star three years in a row for a reason and 2015 will likely see him well rested and back to his old form.
For whatever reason, the A’s have always had Darvish’s number and have only lost twice with him on the mound over the past three seasons and while nobody can say with certainty that those numbers are going to last forever, we can look at the fact that Stephen Vogt has a .500 average against him, John Jaso is .409, and Coco Crisp and Billy Butler have .333. When four players, which include a leadoff hitter, are posting a .393 average against a pitcher, you’re usually in good shape but who knows if those numbers will carry over next year or how guys like Brett Lawrie and Marcus Semien will react to seeing a Darvish pitch for the first time in 2015.
The Texas Rangers are not going to be a 95 loss team in 2015. In fact, I don’t believe any team in the AL West is going to be a 95 loss team next year. There is too much power and good pitching on this team for the A’s to ignore and with six September games scheduled for 2015, it is very possible that one team will knock the other out of playoff contention. Here’s hoping that the A’s are the team that knocks.