Publish date:

4 RANGERS

Author:

ENEMY LINES

A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP TEXAS

The Rangers are going to battle Oakland for the cellar. I'm not high on them at all.... They're so one-dimensional offensively. It's the era of launch angle and exit velocity, and everyone in that lineup is going up there looking to do damage. Except Delino DeShields.... If they're going to compete, they need Adrian Beltre. He's the warden over there.... Elvis Andrus is finally turning the corner. I'd love to see him be more consistent and play a little meaner.... Nomar Mazara could be the second coming of Carlos Delgado. He's one of the best hitters I saw anywhere last year.... I guess Rougned Odor has walked four times in spring training; I don't think he walked four times all last year. They shouldn't change his disposition that he's the baddest cat on the planet. He just needs to swing at strikes.... Joey Gallo has the best power in the game, but he racks up 200 K's. With pitching declining in terms of guys being able to attack in quadrants, there are lots of mistakes to hit, and Gallo will punish those.... If you look at the rotation, it's Cole Hamels and who else? Doug Fister?Matt Moore? When Moore loses, he just can't find it. It's too bad because he's such a tease when he's on. He'll have to figure it out quickly because the ball will be flying out of the yard in Texas.

THE PAYOFF PITCH

What makes the Rangers worth watching is their crop of young hitters. Nomar Mazara is 22. Joey Gallo and Rougned Odor are 24. Delino DeShields is 25. To that collection they added 23-year-old Willie Calhoun from the Dodgers in the Yu Darvish trade. Calhoun, just 5'8" and 187 pounds, has raked at every level of the minors, rocketing from the fourth round of the draft to the majors in just over two years. Despite his size, he has hit for power (.520 SLG in the minors) and has exceptional contact skills to match (a 18.9% strikeout rate). The only concern is defense: With Odor at second, Texas is trying him in leftfield, where he is such a project that he'll start the year at Triple A to improve his glovework. Baseball always has a place for hitters, though, and Calhoun is going to be a great hitter.

OVER / UNDER

77.5

Texas is stuck between contending and tanking. Come July, when Hamels and Beltre are on the trade block, it'll be clear which direction the Rangers are heading.

THE LINEUP

1. CENTERFIELD

Delino DeShields

.246 BA/9 HR/33 SB

2. SHORTSTOP

Elvis Andrus

.280 BA/12 HR/24 SB

3. DH

Shin-Soo Choo

.258 BA/20 HR/8 SB

4. THIRD BASE

Adrian Beltre

.282 BA/.471 SLG/20 HR

5. FIRST BASE

Joey Gallo

.219 BA/.509 SLG/38 HR

6. CATCHER

Robinson Chirinos

.229 BA/.433 SLG/15 HR

FANTASY BREAKOUT

7. RIGHTFIELD

Nomar Mazara

.273 BA/.462 SLG/25 HR

Mazara, 22, has hit 20 HRs two straight years; an All-Star season is coming.

8. LEFTFIELD

Willie Calhoun

.277 BA/24 HR/3 SB

9. SECOND BASE

Rougned Odor

.256 BA/29 HR/14 SB

THE STAFF

1. LH STARTER

Cole Hamels

11 W/4.65 ERA/1.42 WHP

2. LH STARTER

Martin Perez

8 W/4.87 ERA/1.52 WHP

3. RH STARTER

Doug Fister

10 W/4.92 ERA/1.47 WHP

4. LH STARTER

Matt Moore

8 W/5.29 ERA/1.48 WHP

CLOSER

Alex Claudio

20 SV/3.88 ERA/1.37 WHP

THE SKIPPER

Jeff Banister