First Half Report Cards – Part 1
It’s the All Star break and now is the perfect time for the Rangers midterm report cards! Over the next few days, Shutdown Inning will be looking at key Rangers and evaluating their 2015 season thus far.
Who Qualifies: Ranger hitters with 50 or more plate appearances and pitchers with more than 30 innings pitched were considered for report cards.
How Are They Graded: The player’s performance is compared to the performance of players in the same position as well as all players throughout the MLB. A player’s performance between the 2012 and 2014 seasons is also considered but does not weigh heavily on the final grade. It’s about 2015 after all! Finally, these are objective grades. Nostalgia, emotion and expectations are not taken into account. None of these win games.
If any Ranger is having a career year in 2015, it is Prince Fielder. Not only do his AVG, OBP and SLG lead most the league, they blow his 2012-2014 averages out of the water. While his Isolated Power rating has dipped a little his run production has been stellar and help to offset poor base running and defense ratings. As a designated hitter, his defense rating, while poor, has almost no impact to his overall grade.
Just like Prince, Mitch has had an incredible year, easily beating his three year average in all graded stats. The power numbers have been incredible (top 3% in league for SLG and top 4% in league for Isolated Power) as has the run production (top 10% in MLB wRC+). As the second half of the season starts Rangers fans will need Mitch to keep up this momentum to keep their playoff chances alive.
Beltre has had a tough 2015. He started the season slowly and then missed time with an injury. In the time he has played, he has seen a decline in results placing him not only below his three year average but also league averages. Compared to other third basemen his production is subpar in almost every category in 2015. One would hope he has a rebound in the second half and returns somewhat to the Beltre that has driven a lot of the team’s success. If there is one silver lining for the season, Beltre has been incredible defensively, sporting one of the best defense ratings in the entire league.
Gallardo started the season rough but has since emerged as one of the few strong points in the Rangers rotation. As we enter the All Star break, Gallardo has a wonderful 2.62 ERA which is not only in the top 15% of all starters, it’s a great improvement to his 2012-2014 3.77 ERA. He has also controlled home runs in 2015 and denied batters hard hits at an above average rate. Advanced metrics are cautious, though, as his 4.04 xFIP means he could see some trouble later in the season. This pensive outlook of the future is further supported by his below average strike-out and walk rates. Gallardo has proven himself in the last month; hopefully he can prove his strong production is sustainable in the second half of the season.
People will see Colby’s grade and rage against this article. That will be a given. Colby Lewis is rightly beloved and has been a great asset to this team. His 2015 production, however, has been average at best and pedestrian in most cases. This is a painful thing to say. Blame a game where he was crushed with 10 earned runs (or a game where he was crushed for nine…or two games he was crushed for five), but his ERA and xFIP rank among some of the worst for starting pitching in 2015. When you marry these results with an inability to strand runners or prevent the hard hit ball it leads to these grades. The reason you are mad about this grade is because the name attached to it is Colby Lewis. If it was Wade Miley you wouldn’t bat an eye.