The Texas Rangers ended the first half of the 2011 season on a 7-game winning streak. They are in first place in the A.L. West with a 51-41 record which has them 1 game ahead of the Angels. The Rangers are also 4 games behind the Yankees for the A.L. Wild Card. The Rangers have had a lot of injuries to position players this year which has hurt them at times. But the starting rotation has really stepped up and made up for the injuries. The Rangers will likely be busy at the trade deadline looking for bullpen help. Here is a look at the players who made the biggest impact for the Rangers in the first half:
Team MVP: The Rangers signed 32-year old righty swinging 3B Adrian Beltre over the winter and he has been just what the doctor ordered at the hot corner. Beltre has played in 92 games for the Rangers so far this year and he is 98 for 359 (.273 avg, .813 OPS) with 56 runs scored, 19 homers and 71 RBIs. He has been very consistent both in the field and with the bat.
Biggest Surprise: This is a tie between 27-year old righty starting pitcher Alexi Ogando and 25-year old lefty starting pitcher Matt Harrison. When the Rangers were thinking about moving Neftali Feliz to the starting rotation, the idea was to use Ogando as the closer. However, the Rangers decided not to change Feliz late in spring training and Ogando switched gears and won a job in the starting rotation. Ogando has pitched in 17 games (all starts) for the Rangers so far this year and he is 9-3 with a 2.92 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP. Matt Harrison is further proof that sometimes it takes lefty starting pitchers a little longer to develop. Harrison struggled in his first three years with the Rangers but it’s all coming together for him this year. Harrison has started 17 games for the Rangers so far this year and he is 7-7 with a 3.04 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP. The Rangers hope that both Ogando and Harrison finish the 2011 season strongly.
Biggest Disappointment: This is a very easy one. It’s 25-year old lefty swinging CF Julio Borbon. Borbon seemed lost in both the field and at the plate earlier this year and that’s why he’s playing in AAA right now. Borbon has played in 32 games for the Rangers so far this year and he is 24 for 89 (.270 avg, .654 OPS) with 10 runs scored, 0 homers, 11 RBIs and 6 stolen bases. He is likely to be prime trade bait for the Rangers later this month.