New Guys vs. Old Guy

Berkman-Hamilton
Small sample size. Small sample size. Small sample size. I’ll get that out of the way first. The Rangers season is only 14 games in, and there are plenty of games left to change everything. This offseason was rough according to some fans and smart according to others. Everyone has an opinion on who should have stayed and which players should have been signed or not. Through these first few games, the Jon Daniels & Co. decisions seem to be the correct ones.
OLD GUYS

The offensive guys who were let go via free agency or trade by the Rangers this offseason were Michael Young, Josh Hamilton, and Mike Napoli. Three guys who were at one time or another keys to the Rangers offense. Michael Young was the face of the franchise and hard for fans to see go. Josh Hamilton was a sports hero to many. And who can forget the year of the Napoli? Here’s what they are doing now.

Michael Young – traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. Current line: .346/.404/.885. 18 hits on the season with 5 walks, 8 strikeouts and 1 home run. Overall fWAR: 0.5.

Mike Napoli – signed with the Boston Red Sox. Current line: .250/.262/.729. 15 hits on the season with 1 walk, 19 strikeouts, and 2 home runs. Overall fWAR: 0.0.

Josh Hamilton – signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Current line: .200/.258/.640. 11 hits on the season with 4 walks, 18 strikeouts, and 2 home runs. Overall fWAR: -0.3.

Michael Young is having a fantastic offensive start to the year. He’s drawing walks and getting hits, and many Rangers fans would love to see that in the lineup again. A small sample size that probably won’t hold for the entire season. He had a strong April last season, too. Mike Napoli and Josh Hamilton, on the other hand, are quite the opposite. Napoli is trending pretty normally for his career (minus that one season with Texas), which isn’t terrible, but isn’t anything to write home about. He strikes out a lot, and doesn’t have patience. Basically, he and Josh Hamilton have the same issues. They both swing a lot and rarely see four balls. Combined, these three players have an fWAR of 0.2.

NEW GUYS

The Texas Rangers acquired two new offensive players via free agency. These guys were well known and mostly disliked by Rangers fans – AJ Pierzynski and Lance Berkman. Both said things about the Rangers that many fans were unhappy about, and, talent aside, their presence wasn’t exactly welcome. Couple that with Lance Berkman coming off two knee surgeries and possible retirement, and you have many skeptics in the baseball world. Here’s what they are doing now.

AJ Pierzynski – acquired via free agency; last season with Chicago White Sox. Current line: .310/.333/.883. 13 hits on the season with 1 walk, 9 strikeouts, and 2 home runs. Overall fWAR: 0.3.

Lance Berkman – acquired via free agency; last season with St. Louis Cardinals. Current line: .389/.500/1.111. 14 hits on the season with 8 walks, 6 strikeouts, and 1 home run. Overall fWAR: 0.5.

Both Berkman and Pierzynski have started the season off with hot streaks. Again, small sample sizes, and the above .300 batting averages probably won’t stick around the entire season, but starting off so hot helps the average later. Berkman’s patience at the plate is unmatched. A .500 OBP is incredible, even this early in the season. He already has 8 walks. That number can only get bigger. Combined these two players have a higher fWAR (0.8) than the three players the Rangers let go. Plus, the Rangers are getting this talent for just $2.5 million more than Michael Young alone would have cost.

Take a breath Rangers fans. Through just 14 games, the Rangers are 9-5, with plenty of help from the new guys. These guys came cheap. These guys came ready to play baseball. So far, so good.

Emily Cates is a Staff Writer for Shutdown Inning. You can reach her at Emily.Cates@ShutDownInning.com or on Twitter at @EmLikesBaseball.

Emily Cates

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