I Got 99 Problems, But Mitch Ain’t One
I echo many of the sentiments that Peter Ellwood touched on a few days ago in hisarticle. I even touched on Mitch last week in my Derek Holland post. In the here and now, Moreland is not the problem. The question was even posed to me on Twitter by my good friend Daniel Stark:
Would I be happy with Mitch accumulating 2 WAR this season?
So who is the problem for a team that is in the driver’s seat of the AL West and clearly one of the best teams in MLB?
- David Murphy: For his career, Murph heats up as the temperature does, but for now, he is cooler than cool: ICE COLD! Through 36 games, Murph has a slash line of .205/.256/.376. The scary thing is, he is hitting better against LHP (.256/.275/.359) than RHP (.179/.247/.385). Murphy has been better in May as he has posted 1.011 OPS in 11 games this month compared to his abysmal .524 for March/April. Long term problem: Minimal.
- Geovany Soto: The catcher position focuses more on his ability to call a game and throw out runners than his offense, but Soto’s .530 OPS is almost 100 points lower than last year’s (.613) and his career (.767). He hasn’t had many opportunities, but has thrown out two out of five would-be base stealers. As the season plays out, it would be interesting to see if Chirinos can push Soto for the backup catcher role.
- Centerfield position: Since we are talking about the here and now, Craig Gentry is sporting an 83 OPS+ while Martin hasn’t fared much better with a 92 OPS+. If your corner outfield positions are producing at a strong clip, than you can live with this production in centerfield as long as the defense is solid (with these guys, it is). I still prefer that Martin receives the majority of the playing time as the season progress because he needs an opportunity to win the role. Heading into Tuesday’s game, both guys have each had 79 plate appearances.
- Cruz’s Defense: We all know how Cruz can blow a game (cough) and thankfully, his offense has been solid up to this point (.835 OPS). His defense is the primary reason why his rWAR is a pedestrian 0.2 to this point of the season. Sabermetrics greatest weakness is measuring defense, but it doesn’t take a stat head to see that Cruz struggles day in and day out in right field. In fact, the metrics support that he has been below average in UZR the last three years. It isn’t just his defense that has been poor the last three years, but his ability to steal bases is gone as well. Cruz stole 37 bases between 2009-10 seasons, but only has 19 the last two plus seasons. His body is deteriorating before our eyes and hopefully will belong to a new club in 2014.
- Tweedledum and Tweedledee: Derek Lowe and Michael Kirkman are simply painful to watch. Not counting an injured until All-Star Break Matt Harrison, these guys are the worst on the staff as Lowe sports a 57 ERA+ while Kirkman is at 62. Lowe needs to be gone yesterday, but I’m willing to be more patient with Kirkman because the talent is there, execution is not. In 2012, Kirkman had a 118 ERA+ in 28 appearances and is under club control until through the 2017 season.
So did you really expect 99 problems? No. Is this all of them? Not at all, but these are a few and if I missed any, feel free to leave a comment with other Rangers’ issues. Most of these problems aren’t even that scary, but what did you expect from a team that is among the league’s best. Once again, this is Camelot and Jon Daniels is King Arthur. Enjoy it.