32 Game Report Card

In my attempts to find something creative to write about one topic on this team this year I stumbled across the old phrase KISS. Keep it Simple Stupid. Often overstated yet underutilized. So, instead of forcing something creative about one topic, I decided to just focus on them all. I give you my 32 game report card on the Texas Rangers.

(My stats are from baseball-reference.com as it was updated on May 10th, 9:40 pm central)

A few rules: Firstly, the opinions are mine and mine alone. No other staff writer was consulted on these. Yell at me, not them. Secondly, grades are based on how the player has performed based on my Opening Day expectations only. Again, yell at me.

Keep it Simple Stupid.

Mike Napoli / C / Everyone said to not expect the same tear from Napoli, but did you really believe it? I guess I didn’t. While I’m far from disappointed in the dirtbag, I am definitely craving more than his .797 OPS right now. Maybe tonight’s triple will spark it?

Mitch Moreland / D / On the other side of truth, I really did believe that Mitch would show us more at the plate. I truly believed his injury hampered him more than we all thought. But 32 games in, I haven’t seen much to make me believe he’s anything above platoon. Although if it means we have to put Young at first, give me Mitch 10 out of 10 times; we can find offense elsewhere.

Ian Kinsler / A- / What a start from the leadoff man with power. 17 walks to 13 strikeouts. An OPS of .866 and a cool 36 runs scored. Kinsler really is the complete package at 2B. With his shiny new contract, hopefully we can all look forward to much more of this for years to come.

Elvis Andrus / A- / Does anyone else think we are seeing a new and improved Elvis behind the plate? The SS looks stockier and able to hit for more power. While he still needs to keep a better head on his shoulder during the routine plays, he makes the spectacular look easy. 14 RBI, 15 walks and sporting an OPS over .820 is some damn fine production from the 2 spot.

Adrian Beltre / B / I feel like I’m being a bit hard on Beltre (giving him a B) but health is a huge factor for me. I’m as big of an Adrian Beltre fanboy as the next guy, but this team needs him on the field. Here is to hoping the hamstrings hold up all year. I can’t complain about his .942 OPS and very low strikeout rate (9 all year) though. Beltre is one of my favorite players on this team.

David Murphy / C+ / Murphy has avoided his usual slow start to the season and has been a big contributor. Murph is one player who is kind of exactly what I expected him to be. He will contribute at the plate at times, get some big hits, and play an average outfield. Don’t look at the grade as a knock. The Rangers are a worse team without Murph.

Josh Hamilton / A / Duh. What else would you say about Josh. He is Superman embodied when healthy. I will not talk contract, only numbers. (Hint: they speak for themselves) 15 HR, 38 RBI, and an OPS of 1.274. Josh is murdering everything coming his way and at times like this you just stand back and watch him step out of the phone booth and on to the field. Please stay healthy Josh, you are desperately needed.

Nelson Cruz / D / Cruz has always been a streaky hitter. It wasn’t too long ago that he looked like a AAAA player. We saw his ceiling in the ALCS and wish that were the same Nelson Cruz day in and out. Alas, we have a power hitter that is struggling to find his timing. 33 strikeouts to 8 walks is not very becoming. Neither is his .250/.302/.367 slash line (Ouch). His defense is spotty, but no one can deny he has an 80 grade arm cannon. He’ll get in a groove eventually, and we’ll all be glad he’s on our team.

Michael Young / B- / Michael Young has been Michael Young. That’s all there is to it, he is a heck of a player to have as a DH or a utility infielder, but has show a propensity to not come up with the clutch hits he usually does. The slaps to right field have been grounders to the 2B so far, but he will produce. He is #Face. Just keep him off of the field please.

Yorvit Torrealba / B / Probably the best backup catcher in baseball. I love having Yorvit on this team and chuckle at the twitter spats that he can spark. Keep doing your thing Yorvit, you’re doing it just fine.

Bench / C / Still a weakness on the squad, but the grade reflects my expectation. Stay healthy starters. Stay healthy.

Colby Lewis / B+ / The last, very weird start aside, the Colbra has been much better than I expected. His wipeout slider has been shining early, and for the most part, his fastball command has been spot on. Would like to see the homerun totals go down, but Lewis has guided this young pitching staff through the beginning of the season. He has been a leader, and the 31/5 strikeout to walk ratio has been incredible. (As I’m writing this I’m getting the feeling today hasn’t been updated on baseball references webpage – update ratio is 43/6, even better!)

Derek Holland / C / I really wanted to see a bigger step forward from Dutch this year. This has nothing to do with his off the field bits, so stop. The issue has been his fastball command and general mechanics. He’s missed over the plate more often than I want, but this is nitpicking. He has avoided the big innings and battled to go deep in all of his starts, saving the bullpen. As long as he keeps improving, Dutch will have a very successful Ranger career.

Yu Darvish / B / I. Love. This. Pitcher. Man, his stuff is beyond electric. Every single one of his pitches has life on them like I have never seen. The command has been shaky, but he’s adjusting and improving. The game he pitched against the Yankees has been my favorite game of the year and I think Texas has a special piece. Perhaps a true Ace in the future.

Matt Harrison / B+ / Matty Ice has come out of the gate hot in his first three games, sporting the lowest ERA in baseball. In typical Matt Harrison fashion, he had a mini roller coaster in his season with his next three starts. After he had one last year, he was the poster boy for stability. Look for Matt to be one of the more reliable lefties in the game by the time the year is over.

Neftali Feliz / B+ / Who expected that first game from Feliz? The dominance of Seattle was reaching almost epic proportions yet Feliz accomplished it in such a different way. The fire-baller has shown a willingness to throw the change up with authority and he’s mixed in offspeed better than I ever imagined possible. His command has appeared shaky, but I see big, big things ahead for Feliz.

Bullpen / A+ / It’s the best bullpen in baseball.

Keep it Simple Stupid. 

Mike McGehee is a Co-Founder and Senior Shut Down Inning staff writer. You can email him at Mike.McGehee@shutdowninning.com or reach him on Twitter @SDIMikeMcGehee.
Mike McGehee

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