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Preview: The Ranger Rundown

The Ranger Rundown



Texas Rangers baseball and more, by Scott Lucas



Last Build Date: Fri, 29 Jan 2016 00:02:50 -0600

Copyright: Copyright 2016
 



High-A Affiliation Shuffle, 2016

Fri, 29 Jan 2016 00:02:50 -0600

Hi. Remember me? I used to run a blog.

Anyway, if you follow me on twitter, you've seen my takes on Adelanto's unilateral termination of the Use Agreement allowing High Desert to play in the city'owned stadium (storfied here and here). Though the dispute doesn't directly involve the Rangers, they're obviously affected, and this mess only provides further impetus (as if any were needed) for them to escape to somewhere, anywhere, during the next affiliation shuffle this September.

Easier said than done, however. As I've written before, the high-A classification is especially troublesome for Texas for reasons of geography and loyalty. The Florida State League is virtually off-limits, the most desirable Cal League locations are gobbled up by West Coast clubs, and the Carolina League has few openings and many suitors.

As of now, only 16 of 30 affiliations are set to expire in September, and I expect that number to decline before Texas can seek a new home. Much as it pains me, I wouldn't be shocked if Texas were forced to renew with High Desert. Barring news of an impending move, the Mavericks will be at a new nadir of undesirability, and other clubs will make every effort to avoid Texas's current fate. Failing to secure a long-term relationship with the Pelicans in 2014 could haunt the franchise for some time.

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Wash

Fri, 05 Sep 2014 23:54:34 -0600

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Songs: Ohia, "Farewell Transmission," from The Magnolia Electric Co., 2003




Progression of Rangers 1st-round HS-drafted Pitchers

Thu, 07 Aug 2014 13:19:58 -0600

Here's every pitcher the Rangers have drafted out of high school in the first round (including supplementals). Two observations: 1) The Daniels regime (2006-present) has drafted more high-school pitchers in the first round than all other GMs combined in the previous 34 years. 2) Luis Ortiz is the first of this class to pitch outside of rookie/short-season leagues since David Clyde. Year Pick Name Draft Year +1 +2 +3 +4 +5 +6 +7 MLB rWAR 2014 30 Luis Ortiz low-A ? ? ? ? ? ? ? - 2012 53 Collin Wiles rookie short low-A ? ? ? ? ? - 2011 33 Kevin Matthews short low-A injured short ? ? ? ? - 2010 45 Luke Jackson --- low-A high-A AA AAA ? ? ? - 2009 14 Matt Purke --- college college low-A high-A AA ? ? - 2007 17 Blake Beavan --- low-A high-A AAA MLB MLB MLB MLB 1.5 2007 24 Michael Main short low-A high-A AA high-A high-A AA --- - 2007 44 Neil Ramirez --- short low-A low-A AAA AAA AA MLB 1.4 2006 12 Kasey Kiker short low-A high-A AA AA high-A --- --- - 2004 30 Eric Hurley short low-A high-A AAA MLB --- --- AAA 0.1 2003 9 John Danks short high-A AA AAA MLB MLB MLB MLB 21.0 1999 47 David Mead rookie rookie low-A low-A high-A low-A --- --- - 1996 24 Sam Marsonek --- high-A low-A high-A low-A high-A AA AAA 0.1 1987 19 Brian Bohanon rookie high-A AA MLB MLB MLB MLB MLB 8.9 1980 14 Tim Maki rookie low-A low-A high-A high-A --- --- --- - 1974 2 Tommy Boggs rookie AA MLB MLB MLB MLB MLB MLB 2.4 1973 1 David Clyde MLB MLB MLB AAA AAA MLB MLB --- 0.7 On twitter, I'd mistakenly said Chad Hawkins was the only pitcher other than Clyde to reach full-season ball. Others quickly pointed out that Hawkins was a Baylor alum. I then nearly tweeted that Sam Marsonek met the criterion, but I wisely double-checked and saw he didn't pitch at all during his draft year. I was exhausted yesterday and knew -- knew -- that I shouldn't have been researching that project at that time, but I wanted something to publish before Ortiz's start in Hickory. And I made myself the fool. On an unrelated note, raising a three-month-old is challenging. width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/302oEzSPCqE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>Black Flag, "Nervous Breakdown," 1978[...]



A Brief History of Texas's Worst Stretches

Fri, 18 Jul 2014 17:30:34 -0600

Given Texas's predicament, I researched the worst stretches in franchise history to determine how the current malaise measures against the team's long and occasionally sordid history. I arbitrarily chose 15 to 40 games -- long enough to be meaningful but no more than a quarter of a (typical) season. In the case of a tie for worst record in any given number of games, I chose the stretch with the worst pythagorean winning percentage.There is 1972, and there is everything else. The inaugural Rangers weren't an expansion squad but played like one, losing an MLB-worst 100 games in a slightly strike-shortened season. Every franchise-worst stretch between 15 and 40 games (and undoubtedly many more outside that range) occurred in 1972. In particular, the Rangers lost 30 of 34 toward the end of the season, and every horrific stretch on the list incorporates some or all of those games.So, I created another list of the worst stretches after 1972. Only five seasons appear on the list: 1973, 1980, 1982, 2003 and 2014. Post-1972 Stretches When Games Record Run Diff. Pythag. 1982 / games 12-26 15 1-14 -37 .187 1982 / games 11-26 16 1-15 -38 .196 1980 / games 140-156 17 2-15 -48 .210 1982 / games 9-26 18 2-16 -41 .215 2003 / games 53-71 19 2-17 -63 .221 2003 / games 53-72 20 2-18 -67 .222 2003 / games 53-73 21 2-19 -69 .220 2003 / games 53-74 22 2-20 -71 .217 2014 / games 72-94 23 3-20 -67 .218 2014 / games 71-94 24 3-21 -71 .221 2014 / games 71-95 25 3-22 -74 .228 2014 / games 69-94 26 4-22 -69 .253 2003 / games 48-74 27 4-23 -77 .254 2003 / games 47-74 28 5-23 -75 .265 1982 / games 11-39 29 6-23 -63 .230 2003 / games 48-77 30 6-24 -88 .255 1973 / games 108-138 31 6-25 -69 .291 2003 / games 48-79 32 7-25 -87 .269 2014 / games 62-94 33 7-26 -80 .270 2014 / games 62-95 34 7-27 -83 .273 1973 / games 104-138 35 7-28 -70 .306 1973 / games 103-138 36 8-28 -68 .314 2014 / games 58-94 37 9-28 -82 .291 2014 / games 58-95 38 9-29 -85 .292 2014 / games 55-93 39 10-29 -92 .278 2014 / games 55-94 40 10-30 -95 .275 1973 -- Final record: 57-105. Record outside longest stretch on this list: 49-77. Interestingly, only the '73 squad was expected to be terrible out of the gate, and so it was. The last win before an 8-28 slide was a 4-2 victory over the Angels backed by seven innings of one-run ball from none other than David Clyde. 1980 -- Final record: 76-85. Record outside longest stretch on this list: 74-70. Texas had finished five games out of first in each of the three previous seasons. The '80 edition underplayed its pythagorean record by five wins, courtesy of a 20-30 record in one-run games. They had a record of 69-68 entering the stretch and won five of seven afterwards. 1982 -- Final record: 64-98. Record outside longest stretch on this list: 58-75. In 1981, the Rangers finished at a strike-shortened 57-48 and missed the split-season playoffs by losing its final game before the strike. They expected to contend in 1982, but a flurry of moves in the last two weeks of Spring Training radically altered the club. 2B Bump Wills was traded for reliever Paul Mirabella, a complaining OF Al Oliver was shipped to Montreal for Larry Parrish and Dave Hostetler, and, most infamously, promising pitchers Ron Darling and Walt Terrell moved to the Mets for OF Lee Mazilli. The Rangers lost 12 straight after a 6-4 start and never recovered. 2003 -- Final record: 71-91. Record outside longest stretch on this list: 64-66. Until this season, 2003 dominated the list. This squad was si[...]



PCL All-Stars?

Thu, 03 Jul 2014 11:44:45 -0600

My quick and dirty Pacific Coast League All-Star squad. Rules: 1) Maximum age of 26, but not otherwise geared toward prospects, 2) in league as of yesterday (e.g., no Jon Singletons, Justin Bours or Christian Bergmans allowed), 3) in top 100 in plate apperances for hitters, 4) at least 10 starts or 20 appearances for pitchers. I also adjust for general park setting, which the league itself never ever does for All-Stars or MVPs.

UPDATE: Players in bold were actually selected for the 30-man roster. (I only picked 25.)

C -- Andrew Susac - FRE / SFO
1B -- Mark Canha - NOR / MIA
2B - Arismendy Alcantara - IOW / CHC
3B - Adam Duvall - FRE / SFO
SS -- Chris Taylor - TAC / SEA
OF - Joc Pedersen - ABQ / LOS
OF -- Randal Grichuk - MEM / STL
OF -- Alfredo Marte - REN / ARI

C -- Francisco Pena - OMA / KAN
CIF -- Ben Paulsen - CSP / COL
MIF -- Nick Franklin - TAC / SEA
MIF -- Enrique Hernandez - OKC / HOU
OF -- Stephen Piscotty - MEM / STL
OF -- Jared Hoying - ROU / TEX
OF -- Kyle Jensen - NOR / MIA

SP-- Jimmy Nelson - NAS / MIL
SP -- Nick Tropeano - OKC / HOU
SP -- Jordan Pries - TAC / SEA
SP -- Kyle Hendricks - IOW / CHC
SP -- Mike Kickham - FRE / SFG
SP - Chris Heston - FRE / SFO

RP -- Derek Eitel - REN / ARI
RP -- Buddy Baumann - OMA / KNA
RP -- Jeremy Jeffress - NAS / MIL
RP -- Kevin Munson - REN / ARI

Fresno -- 4
Reno -- 3
Tacoma -- 3
Iowa -- 2
Memphis -- 2
Nashville -- 2
New Orleans -- 2
Oklahoma City -- 2
Omaha -- 2
Albuquerque -- 1
Colorado Springs -- 1
Round Rock -- 1
El Paso -- 0
Las Vegas -- 0
Sacramento -- 0
Salt Lake -- 0




Sydney and Blue

Tue, 10 Jun 2014 03:11:59 -0600

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Sydney

Mon, 28 Apr 2014 11:59:53 -0600

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Who Are These Guys?

Wed, 23 Apr 2014 00:49:39 -0600

Of the 17 players used by Texas against the A's on Tuesday, ten weren't on the 40-man roster at the end of the 2013 season, and five of those ten were added within the last 30 days. For reference, the 2013 season ended 204 days ago.

Player
Days on 40
Poreda 4
Kouzmanoff 13
Martinez 17
Wilson 23
Murphy 27
Figueroa 83
Choice 140
Fielder 153
Sardinas 153
Tolleson 153
Rios 256
Chirinos 379
Soria 504
Martin 1084
Moreland 1363
Andrus 1843
Ogando 2710

Player
Days since first 25-man appearance
Sardinas 3
Poreda 4
Kouzmanoff 13
Martinez 17
Choice 22
Fielder 22
Murphy 22
Wilson 22
Tolleson 22
Figueroa 22
Rios 256
Soria 289
Chirinos 349
Martin 963
Moreland 1363
Ogando 1410
Andrus 1842



A Bold DMN Prediction

Sat, 29 Mar 2014 12:11:26 -0600

The Dallas Morning News staff have offered their predictions on the upcoming season.

One prediction is "Wins needed to win AL West." I read this as the minimum number of wins; that is, if "wins needed" is 90, some other team in the division has finished with 89. If that's not the case, the prediction should have been titled "Wins by division winner."

Rick Gosellin selected 97 wins (and Oakland as West champion). He also didn't select any AL West teams as wild cards.

Thus, the math dictates:

1) Some AL West team other than Oakland will win 96 games and NOT be a wild card.

2) Both wild cards (from outside the West) MUST have more than 96 wins (barring ties), because they have to exceed the AL West's tough-luck 96-game winner.

3) At least one division winner from the Central or East, perhaps both, MUST have more than 97 wins (specifically, more than whatever the wild card teams have).

An example, using Gosslin's other predictions:

AL West:
Oakland 97-65 (div),
Texas 96-66 (nothing)

AL Central
Detroit 90-72 (div)

AL East:
New York 98-64 (div),
Tampa Bay 97-65 (wc),
Boston 97-65 (wc)

So, Gosselin is predicting (unintentionally, I assume) that no fewer than five AL teams will win at least 96 games. That's a bold prediction.




Martin Perez, 20 May 2012

Fri, 07 Mar 2014 14:37:42 -0600

22-year-old Martin Perez is not only a fixture in the Texas rotation, he's arguably the lynchpin. With Derek Holland out for an extended stretch and Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis unlikely to contribute in early April, Texas needs Perez to provide quality innings immediately.

Just 22 months ago, Perez sank to his lowest ebb as a prospect. During a five-game stretch, he allowed a .363/.450/.495 line and walked or hit one of every seven batters. Here's what I wrote about the second start of that stretch for the Newberg Report:

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Martin Perez looked like a man defeated yesterday. I've never seen him throw worse. In three exhaustingly prolonged innings, Perez allowed seven runs on eight hits, four walks and four strikeouts. He threw 85 pitches to record nine outs, including 41 in his final inning.

For most of his outing, Perez had no functional fastball. The velocity was present -- he ranged anywhere from 89 to 95 in the 1st -- but it mostly existed in a binary state of missing badly or running over the heart of the plate. In later innings, he appeared to pull back slightly in order to throw more strikes, to little avail. He was also throwing across his body. By far, his best pitch was his changeup, and by my rough count he threw 25 of them including at least eight of 14 pitches in the second. Three of his four third strikes were on changes.

As is often the case, he suffered more than his fair share of misfortune. Several hits wafted lazily over the infield, and the defense didn't provide all the support it could. He also committed his own error on an pickoff throw, but I'd pin that one firmly on 2B Yangervis Solarte, whose hesitation in covering the bag let Perez's throw reach the outfield. But, once again, he responded poorly. After a soft single by Fresno's Nick Noonan that plated two, Perez walked the next two batters. After his error, he immediately offered a pancake-flat changeup that Justin Christian ripped for a two-run single. Then, another walk.

I always preach patience for the younger guys. Perez is the youngest pitcher in AAA. In fact, he's younger than every active starter in Texas's system except for Myrtle Beach's Cody Buckel and Hickory's Luke Jackson and Victor Payano. Development can be slow and fitful. For examples, you need look no farther than Matt Harrison and Derek Holland, two established MLB starters who still leave us scratching our heads sometimes.

On the other hand, by the end of 2012, Perez will have logged three full seasons and close to 400 innings in the upper minors. I'm not worried now (well, not overly worried), but if he's pitching in early September like he is now, I certainly will be. The Rangers advanced Perez extremely rapidly because they felt he could make the adjustments and handle adversity. Lately, he's not, at all. This summer may be the most critical phase of his career.

Fortunately, Perez recovered quickly, one-hitting Oklahoma City for seven innings (albeit with five walks) and tossing a 90-pitch complete game in consecutive June starts. Barely two months after the dismal May outing, he made his MLB debut.




The Ex-Texas Rangers

Wed, 15 Jan 2014 02:14:19 -0600

A 25-man roster comprising players removed from the Texas 40-man roster during 2013:

SP Matt Garza
SP Jeff Lindblom
SP Justin Grimm
SP Travis Blackley
SP Neil Ramirez

RP Joe Nathan
RP Jeff Beliveau
RP Tom Hottovy
RP Kyle McClellan
RP Justin Miller
RP Coty Woods

C AJ Pierzynski
1B Jeff Baker
2B Ian Kinsler
3B Mike Olt
SS Leury Garcia
LF David Murphy
CF Craig Gentry
RF Joey Butler
DH Nelson Cruz

C Eli Whiteside
IF Chris McGuiness
OF Julio Borbon
OF Joe Benson
OF Rafael Ortega

Not included: retirees in practice (Derek Lowe) and spirit (Lance Berkman), expats (Brad Mills, Ross Wolf).

Even with Garza and Nathan, it's a replacement-level pitching staff at best. Ramirez isn't ready for a Major League rotation, and the middle three are fifth starters. The bullpen would be historically awful.

Offensively, all the starters are at least worthy of MLB paychecks and a small handful merit full-time duty. They have too many outfielders and lacks a MIF.

The 2014 Ex-Rangers would surpass 100 losses, but they've enough talent to avoid sinking to the level of the '16 Philly Athletics. For a team with a slight majority of outrighted/released players (13), it's surprisingly good.

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Wire, "Ex Lion Tamer," from Pink Flag, 1977




D/FW Media Hall of Fame Ballots

Tue, 07 Jan 2014 12:49:56 -0600

All four had full ballots. You might disagree with some selections, but all recognized the surfeit of qualified candidates, and none made a "statement." An excellent showing. Player TR Fraley Grant Cowlishaw TOTAL Bagwell X X X X 4 Biggio X X X X 4 Maddux X X X X 4 Bonds X X X 3 Clemens X X X 3 Glavine X X X 3 Mussina X X X 3 Piazza X X X 3 Thomas X X X 3 E Martinez X X 2 Morris X X 2 Raines X X 2 Walker X X 2 Palmeiro X 1 Trammell X 1 Best players omitted from all ballots (by rWAR): Schilling, McGwire, Sosa, Kent[...]



Homegrown Starting Pitching, Updated

Sat, 04 Jan 2014 01:23:35 -0600

Here's a list of every truly homegrown starting pitcher in the wildcard-era AL West. By that I mean: pitching for the team that originally drafted or signed him, ineligible for free agency, and reaching 162 innings (or 1 IP per game in 1994-1995). So, for example, Rick Helling doesn't count because Texas traded and reacquired him prior to his four consecutive 200-inning seasons, and Felix Hernandez drops off after 2011 even though he remained an M because he'd reached six years of MLB service. Each season's division winner is colored. Year Texas Los Angeles Oakland Seattle 2013 Derek Holland - AJ Griffin - 2012 Derek Holland Jered Weaver - - 2011 Derek Holland, CJ Wilson Ervin Santana, Jered Weaver Trevor Cahill Felix Hernandez, Michael Pineda 2010 CJ Wilson Ervin Santana, Jered Weaver Dallas Braden, Trevor Cahill Doug Fister, Felix Hernandez 2009 Scott Feldman Joe Saunders, Jered Weaver Trevor Cahill Felix Hernandez 2008 - John Lackey, Ervin Santana, Joe Saunders, Jered Weaver - Felix Hernandez 2007 - John Lackey Joe Blanton Felix Hernandez 2006 - John Lackey,   Ervin Santana Joe Blanton,   Barry Zito Felix Hernandez,   Gil Meche,   Joel Pineiro 2005 - John Lackey Joe Blanton,   Barry Zito Ryan Franklin,   Joel Pineiro 2004 - John Lackey Rich Harden,   Tim Hudson,   Mark Mulder,   Barry Zito Ryan Franklin,   Joel Pineiro 2003 - John Lackey,   Ramon Ortiz,   Jarrod Washburn Tim Hudson,   Mark Mulder,   Barry Zito Ryan Franklin,   Gil Meche,   Joel Pineiro 2002 - Ramon Ortiz,   Jarrod Washburn Tim Hudson,   Mark Mulder,   Barry Zito - 2001 Doug Davis Ramon Ortiz,   Scott Schoeneweis,   Jarrod Washburn Tim Hudson,   Mark Mulder,   Barry Zito - 2000 - Scott Schoeneweis Tim Hudson - 1999 - - - - 1998 - - - - 1997 Darren Oliver Jason Dickson - - 1996 Darren Oliver,   Roger Pavlik - - - 1995 Roger Pavlik - - - 1994 Kevin Brown,   Kenny Rogers - Todd Van Poppel Dave Fleming Yes, I'm missing Houston in 2013, but, well, 2013 wasn't Houston's year. I'll update in due course. [...]



Happy New Year

Wed, 01 Jan 2014 01:42:41 -0600

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Last pitch of the (home) season, Round Rock, Texas, 24 August 2012

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Husker Du, "New Day Rising," 1985





On Jackie Moore in 2008

Wed, 23 Oct 2013 14:19:01 -0600

Me in The Hardball Times Season Preview 2009, written December 2008: "Texas fired Washington's ostensible mentor, Art Howe, and replaced him with 69-year-old Jackie Moore, who managed Nolan Ryan's Round Rock squad for several years. This was definitely not Washington's idea. Although Texas isn't playing to win the division, Washington won't survive a third consecutive disappointing start."