A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP THE RANGERS
The window for them to win is shutting fast. They have issues with pitching, plain and simple. Martin Perez, their 21-year-old top pitching prospect, was turning the corner—he added a two-seamer, and it looked as if he was going to take that No. 5 job. It was a blow when he broke his arm in camp.... What's important is how well Alexi Ogando responds to moving back to the rotation. They have Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison, two solid guys at the top. If Ogando can be a No. 3, then we're talking about something.... Derek Holland can lose command, he pitches up in the zone a lot. He needs to simplify—instead of throwing his slider and curveball, come up with better fastball control.... That they gave Joakim Soria a two-year contract shows how badly they needed somebody in the bullpen.... I'm happy to see David Murphy be an everyday player. For a lefthanded hitter, he hits lefties well. He can run into 20 homers if he plays every day. They'll need it because they lost 75 homers between Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli and Michael Young.... Who knows how centerfield will play out. Leonys Martin is so green. Craig Gentry can really run and play defense, but offensively it's going to be tough.... I'd like to see Ian Kinsler move to first base, because Jurickson Profar is the real deal. He's like a Tony Fernandez with pop. Profar and Elvis Andrus—is Texas big enough for both of 'em? ... It's going to be tough for A.J. Pierzynski to repeat his offense from last year, but he catches 130 games a year.
2013 Projected Statistics
MANAGER RON WASHINGTON
Seventh season with the Rangers
NEW ACQUISITION (R) ROOKIE
LINEUPS AND STAT PROJECTIONS BY ROTOWIRE.COM
The K Meter
Percentage of 2012 plate appearances that ended with a strikeout, and major league rank
BY HITTERS | 17.7% | 6TH
BY PITCHERS | 21.2% | 7TH
The May returns of injured starters Lewis and Perez—and 500 at bats from ROY Profar—restore them to the October mix.
Too many roster holes—center, the rotation and the pen—slam the franchise's postseason window shut.
Ben Reiter has more on the Rangers at SI.com/mlb
An unfulfilling off-season and an ill-timed injury to Martin Perez (he'll miss all of April after being hit by a line drive in a spring game) left the Rangers scrambling to fill the back of their rotation. They smartly decided against signing free agent Kyle Lohse (who joined the Brewers on Monday), allowing them to keep their first-round pick in this year's draft. A better option: The team should use starters turned relievers Robbie Ross and Tanner Scheppers as tandem starters until Perez returns—one starts, one quickly relieves, every fifth day. Neither Ross, a lefty, nor Scheppers, a righty, will be ready to be a traditional starter by Opening Day, but each could go three innings at a clip. This is a popular strategy in the low minors; in the majors it would allow the Rangers to exploit unbalanced lineups with an early-game pitching change and keep both pitchers from working while fatigued. All of the above should lead to better run prevention than some off-the-scrap-heap fifth starter.
JOHN BIEVER/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (ANDRUS)
WILLIAM PURNELL/ICON SMI (SCHEPPERS)