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Texas Rangers MLB News - Rangers Baseball Blog » 2007 » March

The Rangers release relief pitcher Rick Bauer

Blogged under Arrivals & Departures, Bloglockers, Front Page by chinmusic on Saturday 31 March 2007 at 9:41 pm

Bauer pitched decent for the Texas Rangers last season but he couldn’t get anyone out this Spring!  He was 1-0 with a 15.63 ERA this Spring.  He only pitched 6.1 innings and he gave up 19 hits, 15 runs….11 of which were earned!  Veteran pitchers sometimes get a free pass with a bad Spring, but Bauer didn’t and he’s now looking for a new job.

The Texas Rangers place John Rheinecker on the DL

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, Injuries by chinmusic on Saturday 31 March 2007 at 9:36 pm

The Rangers have placed left-handed starting pitcher John Rheinecker on the Disabled List due to a strained back.  He could miss up to a month and the Rangers could consider making him a reliever if they need him in the bullpen.

Ron Washington breaking in as a major league manager with the Texas Rangers

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, Positional Preview for Season by chinmusic on Thursday 29 March 2007 at 1:19 am

Ron Washington has been in baseball a long time and he deserves the shot he’s going to get with the Texas Rangers starting this season.  He coached the last 10 seasons for the Oakland A’s so he knows the Rangers enemy well.  But, he only has managed two seasons in the minors and he has a record of 123-153 (.446).  Still, he hasn’t managed a game since 1994 so he might be a little rusty out of the gate for the Rangers.

The Texas Rangers take a little risk for the bullpen in 2007

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, Positional Preview for Season by chinmusic on Tuesday 27 March 2007 at 4:45 pm

The Rangers decided to make a splash in free agency and they signed closer Eric Gagne despite the fact that he’s only pitched 15.1 innings in the major leagues the last two seasons due to multiple injuries.  Gagne only pitched in 2 games last season and he had a save while not giving up a run in 2 innings.  When Gagne is healthy he’s one of the most dominant relievers in baseball.  He has converted 161 of 167 (96.4%) save opportunites in his major league career.  Batters have only hit .213 against him and he’s whiffed 629 batters in 545.1 innings over his career.  If he’s healthy he will dominate for the Rangers in 2007.

The Rangers have a great fallback option if Gagne is hurting at any point next season in 35 year old Akinori Otsuka.  Otsuka was 2-4 with 7 holds, 32 saves, a 2.11 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP in 63 games last season for the Rangers.  Batters only hit .241 against Otsuka last season and he only walked 11 batters in 59.2 innings which is outstanding.  Otsuka will dominate no matter whether he pitches in the 8th or 9th inning for the Rangers.  Over his three year major league career, Otsuka is 11-14 with 63 holds, 35 saves, a 2.43 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP in 202 games. 

35 year old lefty Ron Mahay will probably be the lefty specialist late for the Rangers this season.  He was 1-3 with 9 holds, a 3.95 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP in 62 games for the Rangers.  Batters hit .250 against Mahay last season and he gave up 7 homers and walked 28 batters in 57 innings last season.  He will need to improve at keeping the ball in the park and cut down on his walks to be trusted late in games with the lead.

29 year old righty Joaquin Benoit did some good things and some bad things last season for the Rangers.  He was 1-1 with 7 holds, a 4.86 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP in 56 games for the Rangers last season.  Batters only hit .224 against Benoit last season and he whiffed 85 batters in 79.2 innings which shows that he still has good stuff.  Look for him to pitch a little better this season if he can cut down on his walks (38) this year.

26 year old lefty C.J. Wilson finally pitched decent for the Rangers last season.  He was 2-4 with 7 holds, 1 save, a 4.06 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP in 44 games for the Rangers.  Batters only hit .234 against Wilson last season (lefties only hit .155) and he whiffed 43 batters in 44.1 innings.  Wilson had a problem with the longball as he gave up 7 of them last season and that’s way too many.  Wilson could turn into a really good lefty specialist soon if that’s the way the Rangers use him.

24 year old righty Scott Feldman pitched pretty well out of the bullpen for the Rangers last season.  He was 0-2 with 7 holds, a 3.92 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP in 36 games for the Rangers in 2006.  Look for Feldman to do another good job for the Rangers if he makes the team.

24 year old righty Wes Littleton exploded on the scene last year.  He was 2-1 with a 1.73 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP in 33 games for the Rangers last season.  Batters only hit .189 against Littleton and he simply dominated righthanded batters who he held to a .157 batting average against him.   Look for him to be an important pitcher in the Rangers bullpen this season.

27 year old righty fireballer Frank Francisco will be ready at some point after May as he’s still recovering from a serious injury.  The Rangers could definately use his power arm to compliment a lot of their soft tossers in the bullpen.  He was 0-1 with 2 holds, a 4.91 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP in 8 games last season for the Rangers.  Look for Francisco to pitch in the 7th inning for the Rangers at some point in the season because his arm is too good to waste if he’s healthy.

Soon to be 27 year old righty Mike Wood could help the Rangers at some point of the season.  He was 3-3 with 1 hold, a 5.71 ERA and a 1.69 WHIP in 23 games (7 starts) for the Kansas City Royals last season.  Batters hit .314 with 10 homers in 64.2 innings last season and if he wants to pitch for the Rangers next season he better get better at missing bats.

 

The Rangers claim Ezequiel Astacio off of waivers from the Astros

Blogged under Arrivals & Departures, Bloglockers, Front Page by chinmusic on Tuesday 27 March 2007 at 1:52 am

THe Rangers decided to give Astacio a clean slate and a new start as they claimed him off of waivers from the Astros.  Astacio hasn’t pitched well in his major league career, but, he pitched well this Spring for the Astros.  He will likely start the 2007 season in AAA ball, but he will get a chance to pitch for the Rangers at some point if he does well in the minors.

Prized Texas Rangers prospect Thomas Diamond to miss 2007 season

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, Injuries by chinmusic on Saturday 24 March 2007 at 12:00 am

23 year old righty starting pitcher Thomas Diamond will miss the entire 2007 as he needs Tommy John surgery.  This is a huge blow to the Rangers as Diamond was the #3 rated prospect in the whole organization according to Baseball America.  The 6′3″, 245 pound Diamond pitched in AA ball last season and he was 12-5 with a 4.24 ERA and he whiffed 145 batters in only 129 innings.  Batters could only muster a .219 batting average against Diamond in 2006.  The Rangers expect that Diamond will make a full recovery and be pitching sometime in 2008.

The Rangers rotation looks like it could be strong in 2007

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, Positional Preview for Season by chinmusic on Monday 19 March 2007 at 11:29 pm

The front four of the Rangers rotation looks like it will be solid and they have a ton of pitchers trying to win the #5 job so the competition should be good.  32 year old right Kevin Millwood will again be the Rangers #1 starter in 2007.  He was 16-12 with a 4.52 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP in 34 starts last season.  Millwood did get hit more than he has in a while as opponents hit .272 against him.  But, Millwood is a warrior that pitched late into a lot of games as he threw 215 innings last season for the Rangers.  Look for Millwood to win 15-17 games in 2007 with an ERA of 3.75-4.00.

29 year old righty Vicente Padilla had a good first season in the American League last year.  He was 15-10 with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP in 33 starts in 2006.  Padilla is as tough as they come and he doesn’t mind knocking batters down with the high heat.  Look for Padilla to win 13-16 games for the Rangers with an ERA between 4.25-4.50 in 2007.

25 year old righty Robinson Tejeda pitched pretty well for the Rangers as he was 5-5 with a 4.28 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP in 14 starts for them.  For Tejeda to be successful in 2007 he will need to cut down on his walks (32) and keep the ball in the park (10 homers) as he allowed all of that in only 73.2 innings.  Look for Tejeda to win 8-12 games with an ERA between 4.50-5.25 in 2007.

23 year old Brandon McCarthy was added to the Rangers rotation in a trade with the Chicago White Sox.  McCarthy was used exclusively in the bullpen for the Sox last season as he was 4-7 with a 4.68 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP.  McCarthy had a big problem with the long ball as he allowed 17 of them in only 84.2 innings for the Sox.  Look for McCarthy to do much better as a starter this season with 12-14 wins with a 4.15-4.50 ERA in 2007 for the Rangers.

23 year old righty Edison Volquez was solid in AAA ball last year as he was 6-6 with a 3.21 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP in 21 starts.  But, he had big trouble in the majors as he was 1-6 with a 7.29 ERA and a 2.07 WHIP in 8 starts for the Rangers.  Chances are that Volquez will need more time in the minors to refine his pitching skill. 

26 year old lefty John Koronka got his big chance for the Rangers last season and it didn’t go too well.  He was 7-7 with a 5.69 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP in 23 starts for the Rangers.  Opposing batters hit .294 with 17 homers off of Koronka in 125 innings last season.  Look for him to begin the season in the minors unless he proves that he can miss some bats in Spring Training.

27 year old lefty John Rheinecker also got his big chance in 2006 and didn’t do much with it.  He was 4-6 with a 5.86 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP in 21 games (13 starts) in 2006.  Batters hit .349 against Rheinecker last season so he will likely need to pitch more in the minors to refine his skills.  He did hold lefties to a .197 batting average against him so he may have a future as a situational lefty in the bullpen.

29 year old lefty Bruce Chen had a horrible season in 2006 for the Baltimore Orioles as he was 0-7 with a 6.93 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP in 40 games (12 starts).  Chen allowed batters to hit .334 against him and whack 28 homers in only 98.2 innings last season.  The Rangers are taking a chance that Chen can pitch like he did in 2005 when he was 13-10 with a 3.83 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP in 32 starts for the Orioles.

25 year old Kameron Loe had a rough injury marred 2006 season for the Rangers as he was 3-6 with a 5.86 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP in 15 starts.  Loe allowed the opposing hitters to bat .317 with 10 homers against him in only 78.1 innings.  Loe has a good arm but he will have to revert to his 2005 form in Spring Training if he wants to win a spot in the rotation for the Rangers.

32 year old righty Jamey Wright also will have a shot to compete for the #5 spot in the rotation.  He was 6-10 with a 5.19 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP in 34 games (21 starts) in 2006 for the San Francisco Giants.  Don’t expect much from Wright in 2007 as his control has really hurt him to this point in his career.

It looks as if young Nelson Cruz will get his big shot in RF for the Rangers this season

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, Positional Preview for Season by chinmusic on Thursday 8 March 2007 at 5:43 pm

26 year old Nelson Cruz will get his big chance this season as the Rangers are handing him the starting RF job.  He was acquired with Carlos Lee right before last year’s trading deadline and he’s all the Rangers have left to show from that big trade.  He played in 104 games in AAA ball and he hit .302 with 68 runs scored, 20 homers, 73 RBIs, 17 stolen bases and a .907 OPS.  Things weren’t so easy for him in 41 games for the Rangers last season.  He hit .223 for the Rangers with 6 homers, 22 RBIs and a .645 OPS.  Cruz played 38 error-less games in RF last season for the Rangers but he showed below average range.  Look for Cruz to hit around .250 with 15-20 homers for the Rangers in 2007.

Marlon Byrd and Sammy Sosa are likely to be the fallback options in RF if Cruz can’t handle the job.  Byrd could handle the job on defense as he played 18 games in RF for the Washington Nationals last season and he only made 1 error while showing outstanding range.  Sosa would have to be hitting the ball well to make up for the fact that he doesn’t have much range left.

CF looks like a platoon position for the Rangers this season

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, Positional Preview for Season by chinmusic on Thursday 8 March 2007 at 5:32 pm

39 year old lefty swinging Kenny Lofton will play CF for the Rangers against all righthanded pitchers this season.  He hit a weak .214 with a .549 OPS in 84 at bats against lefty pitchers last season.  He hit .319 with a .810 OPS against righthanded pitching in 2006.  Overall, Lofton played in 129 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers and he hit .301 with 79 runs scored, 3 homers, 41 RBIs, 32 stolen bases and a .763 OPS.  He played 120 in centerfield last season and he made 3 errors while showing below average range.  Look for the old guy to hit around .300 with 25-30 steals again this season for the Rangers.

Marlon Byrd and Freddy Guzman will compete this Spring to see who will share time in CF with Kenny Lofton.  29 year old Marlon Byrd played in 78 games last season for the Washington Nationals and he hit .223 with 5 homers, 18 RBIs and a .667 OPS.  Byrd is a very good defensive CF as he played 57 games and only made 1 error while showing outstanding range.  Look for Byrd to win the job in Spring Training and to revive his career by playing well for the Rangers this season.

26 year old Freddy Guzman will challenge Byrd this Spring for a reserve OF job on the Rangers.  He played in 99 AAA games last season and he hit .279 with 60 runs scored, 3 homers, 28 RBIs and 42 stolen bases.  He also played in 9 games for the Rangers and he went 2 for 7 (.286 avg).

Brad Wilkerson to start in LF for the Rangers

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, Positional Preview for Season by chinmusic on Saturday 3 March 2007 at 10:39 pm

29 year old left handed swinging Brad Wilkerson had a terrible season for the Rangers as he played most of the season with a bum shoulder before shutting it down on August 10th.  He only hit .222 last season with 56 runs scored, 15 homers, 44 RBIs and a .728 OPS.  The Rangers hope that a healthy Wilkerson can at least put up the type of numbers he averaged between 2002-05 with the Expos/Nationals.  During those seasons he averaged .259 with 89.5 runs scored, 20.8 homers and 65 RBIs.  Wilkerson is a very good defensive LF as he only made 1 error in 80 games there.  He also has awesome range in LF, because he was a center fielder before he came to the Rangers.  Look for Wilkerson to put up big power numbers this season for the Rangers but he will likely only hit in the .240-.250 range because of how much he whiffs.  He whiffed 116 times in only 320 at bats last season and he’s whiffed an unbelievable 772 times in 2,585 at bats in his career so far.

Frank Catalanotto would probably play LF if Wilkerson gets hurt again.  He played in 101 games there for the Blue Jays last season and he didn’t make an error, but, he doesn’t show much range out there.

Marlon Byrd and Victor Diaz could also play LF if needed.  Byrd is a CF by trade so he would probably be really good on defense in left.

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