First Half Report Cards – Part 3
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 thus far.
Who Qualifies: Ranger bats 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 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.
Check out Report Cards that have already been published here:
Rougned Odor is the perfect example of “I would have had an A or a B if I didn’t flunk that one test.” Rougie (official Texas Rangers spelling) slid in the first part of the season and because of that, his midyear score suffers for it. If we looked at his results since returning from AAA, this would be a totally different story. In spite of the early struggles, Odor has had decent overall results for 2015 with stronger than average defense and good on-base skills. If Odor keeps pace with his results since his return to the team, his end of year report card should be stupendous.
Some will look at this grade and may think I have been too kind to Leonys Martin. In 2015, Martin has seen his offensive results fall off a cliff, hit the rocks below, explode, and sink into the Earth’s molten core. Not only are his offensive metrics sharply down based on his three year average they are horrible compared to other outfielders. Among 175 outfielders with 50 or more plate appearance in 2015, Martin ranks 154th! He ranks 157th in run production. His saving graces this year are his superb base running and defensive ratings, but even those are nearly half of what he was averaging before this season.
What is Korean for “I overpaid?” Regardless, the stats can help breach any language barrier. Shin-Soo Choo’s performance is in the process of falling off the same cliff as Martin’s but, unlike Martin, Choo unfortunately doesn’t have the benefit of being a defensive savant. His AVG, OBP, and run creation, the things that made him so desirable, are well below his career norms and are slightly below average, at best, compared to other outfielders. While his routes to catch balls are comical, they showcase weak defense. It makes for a strong case of buyer’s remorse for Rangers fans this season.
So after comparing the descent into the madness that is Leonys and Choo, let’s end on a bright note today. Shawn Tolleson has been a godsend for the Rangers bullpen this season. Not only are his ERA, strikeouts, and walk rate immaculate, advanced metrics like xFIP are well above average compared to other relievers. While these results do not match up to the elite closers of baseball, he has gotten the job done in 2015 with only one blown save compared to 13 successes. It has also gone a long way to take the sting off of Feliz’s decline and departure from the Rangers. Now if he can only get the percentage of hard hits down, we could end the year with a gold star on that report card.