Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The Baseball Analysts A.L. West preview 

The Baseball Analysts website does an A.L. West preview, including Jeff Shaw of U.S.S. Mariner and Tyler Bleszinski of Athletics Nation in a roundtable discussion.

Suffice it to say, they don't think the Rangers will be good...Shaw predicts 72 wins, Bleszinski 75 wins, with everyone agreeing that they'll finish last.

I'm a pessimist, but even I don't think the Rangers are likely to be that bad this year...

I tend to drink the Kool-Aid every spring, but what I don't understand is ... why the pessimistic view of this team... This year's team is largely the same team they fielded last year, with a, perhaps, moderately improved starting rotation...

I'm not saying they are Series contenders now, but this team was in contention for the West up until the last week. What is so different about this team which suddenly makes them an abominable ball club?
The rotation is not improved. Rogers probably will not get that kind of run support this year (keep reading to see why), and the rest of the staff is unimpressive to say the least. The Rangers are in trouble this year because of the same reason last year; lack of offense. Just look at the numbers. The Rangers scored fewer runs in 2004 (826) than in 2003(860). The difference in the standings came by means of allowing fewer runs in 2004 (724) as compared to 2003 (903). NOTHING was done to improve an offense that is middle of the pack. Yes the Rangers have some quality young hitters, but as a team they are nothing special. More specifically, the Rangers do not hit for much power. I wish I had my Hardball Times Baseball Review so I could give you some numbers, but look at isolated power (OPS - SLG).
I tell a lie; isolated power is slugging minus batting average. Sorry.
Can we re-name it the A.L. West Coast Preview. Seriously. Teixeira isn't mentioned in the entire article.--Cody
The 2004 Rangers are viewed as something of a fluke, and there is a certain assumption that they will relapse because the pitching is terrible. Folks tend to overlook the bullpen, which was one of the best in baseball last year.

I don't expect them to win as many games as they did last year, but saying they'll win only 72 is pretty absurd.
Patrick, I hear what you are saying... but what it basically boils down to, for you, is that Rotation won't be improved because it won't receive run support, which is what made the rotation good last year, except that they didn't have any run support last year.

We are fielding basically the SAME TEAM as last year... the one that was so exciting to watch... Now throw in Pedro Astacio, who doesn't have to do much to be an improvement from the number 3 spot last year, and strong showings so far this spring from Chris Young and Ricardo Rodriquez. Remember, all you had last year was Rogers and Drese... now you've got some moderatly talented guys following them up, which will help stop losing streaks.

I just don't understand why this team is to be considered worse than they were last year.
Rogers litterally had a run support of like 6 runs, which really helped him out. Correct me if I am wrong, but the Rangers used 17 pitchers. Getting as many wins out a patched-together rotation such as this required some luck. Don't count on the same level of luck just because the same team is returning. If the Rangers can get some consistency out of the rotation, then that is a big step in the right direction.

Let's start with the M's. They had an anemic offense, so they got Sexson and Beltre. Enough said. So maybe the pitching still stinks, but they can at least pound teams into submission (assuming Beltre is for real and Sexson stays healthy).

The Angels have to be the favorite for obvious reasons, and not much discussion is needed.

The A's are relying on young pitchers without much experience to carry the team. They also do not have a lineup that really scares opponents from top to bottom.

Finally, the Rangers who, like the A's, are relying on young, inexperienced pitchers. The difference is that the A's have a huge advantage in quality of talent. Again, the Rangers' lineup is lacking.

It should be pretty evident that the rankings should go something like this: Angels, A's, Rangers, Mariners (I think their offseason is overated). If another big bat was added, I would feel less concerned about the pitching situation. It is not so much a question of the Rangers having declined, but rather not doing enough to keep up with the competition.
For me, I expect the team to be worse than last year because I don't think that the bullpen will have the incredible season that they had last year. If not for the bullpen, this team would have been terrible and the relievers just pitched out of their minds.

I would be suprised if the Rangers relievers had two monster seasons in a row.
I guess my view is one that differs with most, as to just how good this team was last season. I never saw it as a fluke, although the team certainly overachieved.

On the contrary, I saw last year as the first visible fruits of a organizational program that was suddenly shoving high caliber young players to the major league level. It is a core... a base... of talent, and last year was the beginning of a process that was begun back in the Doug Melvin days, only temporarily usurped by the John Hart/A-Rod business.

I'm not saying this team is going to win championships anytime soon, but for the first time, I feel like it is a solid enough base that, with the right parts added in, could do some serious damage.
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