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2006 Texas Rangers Baseball Preview

Texas Rangers Predictions – AL WEST

OVERVIEW:

The Rangers desperately needed pitching in the off-season and although they added some good throwers, they also let others, such as Kenny Rogers and Chris Young, go. Do they have any hope at being competitive in 2006?

PITCHING:

New pitchers include Adam Eaton (11-5, 4.27 ERA) from San Diego, Kevin Millwood (9-11, 2.86 ERA) from Cleveland, and Vincente Padilla (9-12, 4.71 ERA) from Philadelphia. Those are the first three potential starters, followed by Kameron Loe (9-6, 3.42 ERA) and Juan Dominguez (4-6, 4.22 ERA). There isn’t a left-hander among them.

Millwood is a good catch; his 2.86 ERA was tops in the AL last year, while Eaton may be poised for the best season of his career.

Converted set-up man Francisco Cordero is now one of the best closers in the business. Last season he posted 37 saves and held hitters to a .234 BA.

Last year’s staff was one of the worst in the AL; they should show improvement this season, and if everything clicks, this team could start to rise from the ashes.

HITTING:

Homers-- 260. No other club in the AL had more round trippers. But Texas realizes that homerun blasts are not the be all and end all in winning.

No doubt about it, the Rangers have some quality hitters, including Mark Teixeria (.301 BA, 112 R, 43 HR, 144 RBI) and Michael Young (.331, 114 R, 24 HR, 91 RBI. Teixeria works hard on all aspects of his game and some feel he could be a Triple Crown winner some day, while Young has arrived as a premiere hitter, having won the batting championship last season.

Other dinger threats include those from DH David Dellucci (.251 BA, 29 HR), Ian Kinsler (.274 BA, 23 HR), Kevin Mench (.264 BA, 25 HR), Rod Barajas (.254 BA, 21 HR) and Hank Blalock (.263 BA, 25 HR).

If they can continue to produce runs and also add some timely hitting this season, the team from Texas will see their stock rise.

DEFENSE:

Along with pitching, this team also needs to improve in the area of defense. The team had 108 errors with a .982 FP, making them 10th in fielding. There have been some positive developments in this area.

Second baseman Ian Kinsler should be an improvement over Alfonso Soriano, who was traded to the Nationals, while right fielder Brad Wilkerson, who came from the Washington, D.C. team, has a sound outfield game.

At short, Michael Young is one of the best in the pros and first baseman Teixeira is a former Gold Glover. Good players occupy the other positions.

Catcher Rod Barajas is scrappy and calls an excellent game.

MANAGER AND FRONT OFFICE:

• Buck Showalter is a veteran manager with sound judgment and, sometimes, a penchant for rubbing players and management the wrong way.
• Owner Tom Hicks has been willing to take risks on players, offering substantial contracts.
• New G.M Jon Daniels, at 28 the youngest general manager in baseball, made some huge moves in his first two months.

INTANGIBLES AND/OR OTHER STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES:

• Showalter— it’s his fourth year with the team; traditionally this is the year he packs up and leaves.
• Rangers need to get hits rather than always trying to hit it out. The team was 24-29 in one-run games last season. Be patient at the plate!
• Totally revamped starting rotation looks great but hasn’t a lefty amongst them.

CONCLUSION:

Texas has spent a decent amount of cash and made some sound investments. This could be the most improved team in the AL. The Rangers have a good mix of novice and veteran, which includes an improved pitching staff. It’s not inconceivable that this team could make a run at the division. Can they sustain such a run—only 162 games will tell?

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For more information on the 2006 Texas Rangers visit their official MLB website by clicking here.

 

2006 Baseball Team Previews

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