Ranger Killers – Public Enemies
Throughout the Rangers’ history, there have been guys that make you go “Ugh!” every single time they come to the plate. They are usually the guys who are average or solid players but seem to always have great games and huge moments against the Rangers. We’ve all said at some point in the last 25 years, “Man… that guy would be a Hall-of-Famer if he played the Rangers every night” – the guys who seem like they come to up to the plate every other inning and make us sweat every at-bat. Currently, Kyle Seager is the leader of that crew. There have been many others in the past, and they almost always reside in the AL West, forcing us to stress over far more at-bats than the dreaded Yankees or Red Sox.
Today, we will take a look at a few of most deadly Texas Ranger killers since Buffalo Hump led Comanche raids against the legendary state law enforcement agency in the 1800s. We will look at three sets of statistics: the player’s career statistics, his numbers against the Rangers, and lastly, how this player’s numbers would look if his vs. Rangers numbers were extrapolated out over the length of his career for hits, runs, RBI, total bases and home runs. This is obtained by dividing career plate appearances by vs. Rangers plate appearances and multiplying individual stats by that factor. Last, we will generate a 162 game average vs Rangers compared to their actual 162 game average. For current players, these numbers will include 2016. This isn’t an exact science, but it will give us a ballpark figure. I wonder if Billy Beane is hiring. The reason for all the figure juggling is to rule out inflated stats simply due to more games and plate appearances. With extrapolated career numbers and 162 game averages, the statistical inflation is taken out of the conversation. A quick explanation of the 5 categories in case they’re not self-explanatory:
Career: totals for the player’s entire career.
Vs Rangers: the players totals for all games vs the Rangers
Extrapolated career vs Rangers: Career plate appearances divided by Vs Rangers plate appearances and multiplying that factor by each individual stat.
Vs Rangers 162 – the 162 game average a player would have based on the Extrapolated career vs Rangers.
Career 162: the actual 162 game average from http://www.baseball-reference.com/
Without further ado, let’s start.
First up is Mark Trumbo. Mark spent five seasons in the AL West with the Angels and Mariners, racking up impressive numbers against the Rangers. He seems to have picked up right where he left off dropping two bombs in one game for the Orioles against the Rangers last week. Here are Mark’s numbers:
|Extrapolated career vs Rangers||320||737||164||534||1397||.284||.867|
|VS Rangers 162||74||171||38||124||411||.284||.867|
He’s certainly enjoyed his vs. Rangers plate appearances over the years, with a slight bump in runs, hits, home runs and batting average, and a sizable jump in RBI, total bases, and OPS.
Next up is the dreaded and feared Mike Trout. Mike is on his way to a hall of fame career without help from the Rangers. He has All Star appearances, Silver Slugger Awards and a 1st or 2nd place finish in the MVP voting in all of the last four seasons. Let’s see how his burgeoning hall of fame career 162 game average compares to his extrapolated Vs Rangers 162 (or VSR 162 from now on.)
|Extrapolated career vs Rangers||525||765||135||465||1380||.333||1.059|
|VS Rangers 162||128||187||33||113||337||.333||1.059|
Surprisingly, Trout’s numbers aren’t appreciably greater vs. the Rangers, though he’s still putting up video game numbers. As much as it hurts me to say, the guy’s a future hall-of-Famer already, he doesn’t need the Rangers to bring out the best in him. He does appear to drive in a lot more runs and has a much higher batting average against the Rangers, and his OPS clears the magical 1.+ barrier as well, but all other categories are similar to his actual career 162.
Last for the current Ranger killers is the aforementioned Kyle Seager. Kyle is in his 7th season with the Mariners and it seems like he has a huge plate appearance against the Rangers two or three times a series. He’s putting together a solid career, but likely not a hall-of-fame career. How does his extrapolated Rangers career stack up?
|Extrapolated career vs Rangers||390||795||107||405||1314||.331||.935|
|VS Rangers 162||100||204||27||104||337||.331||.935|
Kyle is a bona fide Rangers killer. He has big moment after big moment. Almost every category sees a significant jump when comparing his VSR 162 to his actual career 162. Twelve or thirteen years of 100 runs, 27 home runs, 104 RBI, and a .331 batting average would likely land him in Cooperstown.
There are a handful of retired players that made things tough for the ’90s and ’00s Rangers. Let’s take a look at two notorious Ranger killers and one stealth assassin. First up is Tim Salmon, who played fourteen seasons, all for the Angels in the AL West. From ’92 to ’06 Rangers fans lived in fear of Mr. Angel.
|Extrapolated career vs Rangers||1279||2080||364||1238||3682||.353||1.072|
|VS Rangers 162||124||202||35||120||358||.353||1.072|
If Tim played against the Rangers for his whole career, he might receive some talk for the Hall of Fame, but likely wouldn’t be a shoe-in. A .353 lifetime batting average would make some pretty strong arguments, though. His VSR 162 saw considerable jumps in runs, RBI, hits, batting average and OPS (breaching the 1.+ barrier) with a modest increase in home runs.
Next is Vlad Guerrero. Vlad’s career boasts an arguably Hall of Fame stat line all by itself, without a boost from his vs. Rangers numbers, but make no mistake that he loved playing against the Rangers. He was such a Rangers killer that JD felt compelled to go get him for the 2010 season just to keep him from having his vs. Rangers big moments. That’s probably not the real reason, but it is amusing to think that played some part.
|Extrapolated career vs Rangers||1611||3434||530||1484||5745||.395||1.122|
|VS Rangers 162||121||258||40||112||432||.395||1.122|
Yikes. Not just hall of fame… but an all-time great… career marks of 530 home runs, 3400 hits, and a .395 batting average, and an OPS of 1.122. That would move him from 38th to 16th on the home run list, and from 84th to 8th on the hit list. That’s pretty salty. Vlad may have made more out of his plate appearances vs. the Rangers than any other player.
The last of the three retired players I chose to break down is someone who doesn’t immediately come to mind as a notorious Rangers killer to most fans, but he’s someone I remember well during his time with the Mariners as someone who was always a nuisance. It seems like he always made the play that needed to be made. It helped that he played on a team that included the likes of Ken Griffey, Jr, Alex Rodriguez, and Ichiro Suzuki. He didn’t need to hit the big home runs or drive in 3 runs a game. All he had to do was get on base. He also always seemed to make an impossible defensive play to rob a Ranger of a hit. The player I remember as the stealth Rangers assassin is Joey Cora.
|Extrapolated career vs Rangers||660||1168||13||445||1537||.316||.801|
|VS Rangers 162||96||168||2||65||223||.316||.801|
Cora always seemed to get on base at just the right time. His VSR 162 saw modest increases in all categories except for home runs. Considering he only hit 30 home runs in his whole career, that’s not where his strengths were – especially compared to the others in this article. But significant increases in RBI, batting average and OPS means he was getting timely hits in crucial situations, setting the table for the big hitters that overpopulated the 90s Mariners lineup.
Two young players who have bright futures and have already set a tone of having an increased appetite when playing the Rangers will finish up this rogues gallery. They both play for the Angels and seem like they have a big at-bat every game: CJ Cron and Kole Calhoun.
|Extrapolated career vs Rangers||63||222||29||148||359||.317||.832|
|VS Rangers 162||41||171||22||113||276||.317||.832|
|Extrapolated career vs Rangers||230||417||65||238||713||.297||.846|
|VS Rangers 162||100||181||28||104||310||.297||.846|
With only a couple seasons on the ledger, there’s not a huge sample size. With modest bumps in all categories for both players in their VSR 162 over their career 162 (Cron’s runs scored being the sole exception,) it’s clear that both players are well on their way to leading the next generation of Ranger killers.
Did I leave off your personal nemesis Ranger killer? Let me know in the comments.