Ranger Killers – Public Enemies

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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.

Active Players

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:

MarkRunsHitsHome RunsRBITBAVGOPS
Career3276561364201203.253.765
Vs Rangers33761755144.284.867
Extrapolated career vs Rangers3207371645341397.284.867
VS Rangers 1627417138124411.284.867
Career 162761523197278.253.765

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.)

MikeRunsHitsHome RunsRBITBAVGOPS
Career4837551404011385.303.951
Vs Rangers701021862184.3331.059
Extrapolated career vs Rangers5257651354651380.3331.059
VS Rangers 16212818733113337.3331.059
Career 1621181843498337.303.951

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?

KyleRunsHitsHome RunsRBITBAVGOPS
Career327690973431141.261.758
Vs Rangers551131557185.331.935
Extrapolated career vs Rangers3907951074051314.331.935
VS Rangers 16210020427104337.331.935
Career 162761602279264.261.935

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.

Retired Players

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.

TimRunsHitsHome RunsRBITBAVGOPS
Career986167429910162958.282.884
Vs Rangers12320035119354.3531.072
Extrapolated career vs Rangers1279208036412383682.3531.072
VS Rangers 16212420235120358.3531.072
Career 162961622998358.282.884

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.

VladRunsHitsHome RunsRBITBAVGOPS
Career1328259044914964506.319.931
Vs Rangers761622570271.3951.122
Extrapolated career vs Rangers1611343453014845745.3951.122
VS Rangers 16212125840112432.3951.122
Career 1621001953411334.318.931

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.

JoeyRunsHitsHome RunsRBITBAVGOPS
Career6241035302941378.277.717
Vs Rangers5292135121.316.801
Extrapolated career vs Rangers6601168134451537.316.801
VS Rangers 16296168265223.316.801
Career 16290150443199.277.717

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.

CJRunsHitsHome RunsRBITBAVGOPS
Career671682790283.253.718
Vs Rangers113952663.317.832
Extrapolated career vs Rangers6322229148359.317.832
VS Rangers 1624117122113276.317.832
Career 162531332171224.253.832
KoleRunsHitsHome RunsRBITBAVGOPS
Career20537152180606.267.758
Vs Rangers325893399.297.846
Extrapolated career vs Rangers23041765238713.297.846
VS Rangers 16210018128104310.297.846
Career 162881592277260.267.758

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.

Jeremy Stroop on sabyoutubeJeremy Stroop on sabtwitter
Jeremy Stroop
I'm a life-long baseball and Rangers fan from about 1975. My dad covered the Rangers for the Associated Press when I was a kid, so I went to a LOT of games. I'm not a Rusty Rose-colored glasses-wearing Pollyanna Rangers fanboy. I love the Rangers like no other sports team, but I'm a realist. My wedding had a Texas Rangers theme. Public servant. Outdoor enthusiast. The details of my life are quite inconsequential.

5 comments

  • Yup, Vlad was quite awesome against all teams, but those numbers against the Rangers are a step beyond incredible. And of course, he had that record hitting streak against one team vs. the Rangers too.

  • This was a good read with solid statistics, and research, to back up the facts presented on a well thought out opinion. Two thumbs up!

  • Man, I hate/hated every one of those guys. Nice article. I don’t have the math skills to actually do this, but if you simply subtracted Seager’s Rangers numbers from his career totals, I’ll bet he would be league-average or worse in every category.

    • Thanks! The maths were definitely a chore. It took me all of 8 hours to compile the numbers then come up with the best formulae to make the point I was going for. It was definitely fun to write, though.

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