2007 Texas Rangers Baseball Preview
The Texas Rangers (80- 82) no longer have Buck Showalter at the helm. Ron Washington, who played in the majors for a decade and coached at Oakland for 11 years, brings a positive winning attitude to Texas.
First starter Kevin Millwood (16- 12, 4.52 ERA) and second man Vicente Padilla (15- 10, 4.50) are both dependable, but then the Rangers’ talent and skill starts to fall off. From the White Sox, Texas secured 23- year old bullpen fixture Brandon McCarthy (4- 7, 4.68), who the team hopes will become their third starter. Robinson Tejeda (5- 5, 4.28 ERA) is the fourth guy, while the fifth position is to be determined. Closer Hank Gagne (0- 0. 0.00 ERA, 0 SV), who once won the Cy Young, must put in a solid year for Rangers to contend.
Michael Young (.314 AVG, 103 RBI, 14 HR) and Mark Teixeira (.282 AVG, 110 RBI, 33 HR) hold the number three and four positions in the order. Outfielder Kenny Lofton (301 AVG, 41 RBI, 3 HR), catcher Gerald Laird (.296 RBI, 29 RBI, 7 HR) and DH Frank Catlanatto (.300 AVG, 56 RBI, 7 HR) all provide solid stats.
Texas has one of the finest fielding clubs in the American League. Young, at shortstop, has shown a lot of improvement and first basemen Teixeira won his second Gold Glove in 2006. At second, Ian Kinsler is steadily learning the ins and outs but third baseman Hank Blalock needs his health and fielding prowess to return. In center, 39-year old Lofton still has the speed and dexterity to make plays most others can’t.
Showalter was fired after three consecutive third-place finishes. Washington, a former third base coach, likes to play aggressive ball. He’s got exuberance and a positive attitude that players find contagious. Question—will Showalter’s streak continue? The last two teams that he left won the World Series the following year.
Is there enough here to supplant both the A’s and the Angels? Texas may start off hot. The big question is can they sustain the heat over the course of a long, tough season?
For more info on Texas check out the MLB website for the Rangers Clubhouse.