30-year old righty swinging 2B Ian Kinsler is on fire with the bat so far this year for the Rangers. Kinsler has played in 28 games for the Rangers so far this year and he is 39 for 114 (.342 avg, .958 OPS) with 18 runs scored, 5 homers, 18 RBIs and 3 stolen bases. Kinsler has walked more times (11) than he has whiffed (10) so far this year as he is really locked in at the plate right now. The Rangers need Kinsler to stay healthy this year, as he is the guy that makes the offense go for them.
30-year old righty starting pitcher Randy Wells has decided to retire from baseball. He pitched in 5 games (all starts) in AAA-ball for the Rangers this year and he was 0-4 with a 6.08 ERA and a 1.86 WHIP. He gave up 32 hits (4 homers) and he walked 12 batters while whiffing 20 of them in 23 2/3 innings in AAA-ball as he was getting hit hard. Wells pitched in 98 games (86 starts) in his five years in the majors and he was 28-32 with a 4.08 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP. This isn’t much of a loss moving forward for the Rangers.
24-year old righty swinging 1B/3B Mike Olt is off to a rough start in AAA-ball for the Rangers in 2013. He has played in 20 games in AAA-ball so far this year and he is 10 for 72 (.139 avg, .471 OPS) with 5 runs scored, 1 homer and 6 RBIs. Olt has whiffed a stunningly awful 32 times so far this year. Olt has played in 257 games in his first four years in the minors and he is 256 of 943 (.271 avg, .879 OPS) with 168 runs scored, 53 homers, 177 RBIs and 10 stolen bases. Olt came into this season as the Rangers’ #2 prospect according to Baseball America. Olt got his first taste of the majors in 2012 with the Rangers, appearing in 16 games in which he was 5 for 33 (.152 avg, .432 OPS) with 2 runs scored, 0 homers, 5 RBIs and 1 stolen base. Olt better get his act together at the plate if he wants to get back to the majors in 2013.
26-year old righty reliever Tanner Scheppers might be a late bloomer for the Rangers, as he was once considered a top prospect. He pitched in 39 games (0 starts) for the Rangers last year in his first taste of the majors and he was 1-1 with 1 save, a 4.45 ERA and a 1.73 WHIP. Scheppers is looking much, much sharper so far in 2013. He has pitched in 10 games (0 starts) for the Rangers so far this year and he is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. Scheppers has given up 10 hits and 4 walks in 11 2/3 innings while whiffing 7 batters so far this year, which is impressive. The Rangers hope that he can keep up the good work moving forward.
Sometimes lefties just take a little longer to develop and that could be the case with 26-year old lefty starting pitcher Derek Holland as he has struggled with consistency so far in his major league career. That being said, Holland is off to a red hot start in 2013 for the Rangers. Holland has started 3 games for the Rangers so far this year and he is 1-1 with a 1.64 ERA and a 0.77 WHIP. He only has given up 13 hits and 4 walks while whiffing 15 batters in his first 22 innings so far this year. With Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis out of action, it would be nice if Holland could keep up the good work and be a strong #2 starter behind Yu Darvish. Holland has now pitched in 111 games (93 starts) in his first five years with the Rangers and he is 40-30 with a 4.60 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP.
Righty swinging 2B Julio Franco was a hitting machine for the Rangers. He played in 632 games in his five years with the Rangers and he was 725 of 2,358 (.307 avg, .822 OPS) with 388 runs scored, 55 homers, 331 RBIs and 98 stolen bases. Franco’s best season with the Rangers came back in 1991, when he won the American League batting title with a .341 batting average. Franco played in 146 games for the Rangers in 1991 and he was 201 of 589 (.341 avg, .882 OPS) with 108 runs scored, 15 homers, 78 RBIs and 36 stolen bases. Franco was a 3-time American League All-Star in his five years with the Rangers and he also won 3 Silver Slugger Awards. Franco is still has the #3 career batting average (.307) in Rangers’ history.
The Rangers have claimed 26-year old lefty starting pitcher Charlie Leesman off waivers from the White Sox. Leesman pitched in 26 games (all starts) in AAA-ball for the White Sox and he was 12-10 with a 2.47 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. He has now pitched in 111 games (109 starts) in his first five years in the minors and he is 49-28 with 1 save, a 3.37 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP. This was a good pickup for the Rangers as you can never have enough pitching in the minors.
UPDATE: (4/24/2013) - Charlie Leesman has rejected the Rangers claim and he has elected to become a free agent.
The Rangers have dealt 26-year old lefty reliever Jeff Beliveau to the Tampa Bay Rays for cash considerations. He pitched in 1 game out of the pen for the Rangers in AAA-ball this year and he was 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.50 WHIP. Beliveau got his first taste of the majors with the Cubs last year, working in 22 games (0 starts) in which he was 1-0 with a 4.58 ERA and a 1.87 WHIP. This is not much of a loss for the Rangers.
The Rangers have given 31-year old lefty swinging David Murphy a full-time job for the first time (in LF) and he is struggling with the bat so far this year. Murphy has played in 13 games for the Rangers so far this year and he is 8 for 50 (.160 avg, .488 OPS) with 2 runs scored, 1 homer and 4 RBIs. Murphy is struggling with both righty and lefty pitchers so far this year. He has a career batting average of .289 (.835 OPS) vs. righty pitchers and he is hitting .263 (.666 OPS) against lefty pitchers so far in his career. So it will bear watching to see if Murphy can’t handle hitting lefties this year. Regardless, he is going to have to start hitting if he wants to keep his full time gig for a while.
20-year old switch-hitting SS Jurickson Profar came into this season as the Rangers’ #1 prospect according to Baseball America. Profar has played in 8 games in AAA-ball so far this year for the Rangers and he is 6 for 27 (.222 avg, .659 OPS) with 5 runs scored, 0 homers, 3 RBIs and 3 stolen bases. He has now played in 312 games in his first four years in the minors and he is 327 of 1,189 (.275 avg, .813 OPS) with 209 runs scored, 30 homers, 153 RBIs and 50 stolen bases. Profar did get his first taste of the show last year for the Rangers, appearing in 9 games in which he was 3 for 17 (.176 avg, .647 OPS) with 2 runs scored, 1 homer and 2 RBIs. Profar could play with the Rangers at some point in 2013, or he could be prime trade bait.