Texas Rangers: Mid-Season Report Card
Team: Texas Rangers
Record: 54-41 (2.0 GB)
Biggest Surprise of 1st Half:
The Starting Rotation- Since the start of spring training this season, the strip of highway between Triple A- Round Rock and Arlington has gotten a fair share of use. While the Rangers have grown accustomed to success the last few seasons, this year could be considered most impressive. Texas has continually had to shuffle players back and forth between the minors because of the rash of injuries the team has sustained. Pitchers such as Justin Grimm, Nick Tepesch, Josh Lindblom, and Martin Perez have combined to make 43 starts of the team’s 94 games. Combined the foursome is 15-19 with an ERA of 5.15. Although these numbers are far from impressive, they have been able to eat up innings and step up when the team needed them. Not bad for some players who weren’t even on the big league radar heading into the season.
Biggest Disappointment of 1st Half:
David Murphy– While this was supposed to be the year that David Murphy established himself as an “everyday” outfielder, the 31 year-old has failed to produce. Through the first 95 game the outfielder has hit .221, .281 OBP, and a .377 SLG, he has been so dreadful that the Rangers have started throwing their star prospect Jurickson Profar in left field, the prospect who by the way, has never played outfield before in his life.
Tanner Scheppers– After a decent season last year where the young righty split time between Triple A and the big leagues, Scheppers has emerged as one of the foundation pieces for Ron Washington’s bullpen. At the break, Scheppers has appeared in 43 games while holding opponents’ batting average to a measly .201 (.167 vs. RHB/ .237 vs. LHB) and an ERA of 1.84. Scheppers has mostly been used in the 8th inning as the setup man for closer Joe Nathan. While he has excelled in this role, don’t be surprised to see Scheppers moved to the 7th inning now that reliever Joakim Soria has returned from his season long stint on the DL. Washington may shuffle his bullpen to help reduce the workload for Steppers as his innings pile up late in the season.
Prospect Ready to Make an Impact:
Engel Beltre– Engel Beltre may be a name that Rangers’ fans may get used to hearing in the second half of the season. Although Beltre has only appeared in eight games this season, he may see his playing time increase exponentially if David Murphy continues to struggle or if Nelson Cruz gets hit with a suspension for his alleged involvement in the Florida PED scandal. Scoutingbook.com has this to say about the 23 year-old, “Beltre is a lithe ballplayer with a strong arm, good speed, and what scouts have always seen as projectable power, but only average range, making him perhaps a better corner outfielder… He has a smooth swing, though it’s more than a bit long, which means at higher levels, he becomes vulnerable to tight fastballs or off-speed pitches away”. You can read the rest of the scouting report in its entirety here.
Contender or Pretender:
Contender- If the Rangers can stay in contention until late August; they may be a team to keep an eye on as the playoffs approach. If the team can get pitchers Matt Harrison (August), Colby Lewis (late July), and Neftali Feliz (August) back from injury, and can keep Lance Berkman healthy, the team may have a shot at another long post season run.
Overall Team Analysis:
A strong first half will have fans excited about a team that has fought through injury after injury. If the Rangers can just “tread water” in the AL West or AL Wildcard race, come late August, they may be poised to make another showing in October.