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Friday, April 14, 2023

Rangers Have the Ingredients to End Long Playoff Drought

The push in recent years by most clubs is to try to dominate the technology side of the game—the Drivelining of baseball, in which you can never have too much technology and too many data scientists.

“It’s a great teaching tool,” Young says. “It’s a great way to get feedback. You can monitor and make changes. I wish I had that when I played. But it can’t be all that. There has to be balance. That’s probably the best way to describe it.”

A big part of that balance is hiring Moore, his general manager with the Royals, and listening to a team of advisers led by former players Kinsler, Michael Young, Nick Hundley, Darren Oliver and Colby Lewis. Texas might lead the majors in games played among front-office members.

“Part of the balance is to have guys who’ve lived it, who can give a baseball perspective,” Young says. “We have to have smart people that will challenge us to think in terms of being more innovative and understanding of what the trends and patterns in the game are that are showing they lead to success throughout the league. We want a balance of all of that.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 14, 2023 at 11:06 PM | 17 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rangers

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   1. Jobu is silent on the changeup Posted: April 16, 2023 at 08:41 PM (#6124339)
"They held the line on deGrom and replaced him with Justin Verlander largely because of his injury history. deGrom made only 26 starts the past two seasons."

I guess that's worse than 29 in the last 3 seasons?
   2. Walt Davis Posted: April 17, 2023 at 01:36 AM (#6124366)
#1 ... I will read between the lines and guess the author means more "they held the line on giving deGrom 5 years (or anything close to it) because of his injury history and rolled the dice on 40-yo Verlander for 2 years."

While there was much gnashing of teeth about deGrom's first start this year and short foray on the owie list, he currently has a 1.22 FIP, leading the AL, and 27 Ks in 16.2 IP.
   3. Darren Posted: April 17, 2023 at 10:06 AM (#6124382)
This sounds like a good idea, but also sounds like it could be a too many cooks situation.
   4. BDC Posted: April 17, 2023 at 10:42 AM (#6124389)
One of the problems with the increasingly asymmetrical way I follow baseball (reading all the Rangers' news/boxscores and nobody else's) is that I don't have a good sense of how good the Rangers might be compared to other teams. So I knew they were going into 2023 with a just-OK starting lineup (stars offset by replacement-level positions) and a good but potentially fragile starting rotation. (As for bullpen - who the heck knows about anybody's bullpen these days?)

This did not overly inspire me, but OTOH I didn't know if the Astros/Mariners/Angels had taken steps backward, and if so, how far. Maybe the Rangers really were smart-money AL West favorites.

So far so good, but of course they're 9-6 after 15 games, so what.

Bright spots are Jonah Heim continuing to prove himself as a starting catcher, and Josh Jung off to a good start at 3B, I am very glad to see that. A worrisome sign is Corey Seager reverting to oft-injured form after being pretty healthy in 2022.

On the pitching side, only Jake Odorizzi has succumbed to the fragility factor. Jon Gray got hit on the pitching arm with a batted ball the other day but reports are he is OK. Their starters have been good. Their bullpen – still, who the heck knows. But one dynamic is that signing all those starters means they have been able to use former starter Dane Dunning out of the bullpen, and give him more innings per appearance than your typical career-reliever who only throws one at a time. Dunning has 11 IP in five games and doesn't even have an ERA+ because he's only given up a single, unearned run.

The thing that warrants the most confidence is having Bruce Bochy and Mike Maddux to work with the pitching staff. That is a big upgrade over most possible coaching staffs.
   5. Karl from NY Posted: April 17, 2023 at 02:34 PM (#6124453)
I guess that's worse than 29 in the last 3 seasons?

3 seasons ago was the pandemic, so either you're giving a skewed picture by omitting that part or you have to cram in another sentence explaining it. 26 in 2 full seasons gives an accurate picture in one sentence.
   6. SoSH U at work Posted: April 17, 2023 at 02:42 PM (#6124455)
3 seasons ago was the pandemic, so either you're giving a skewed picture by omitting that part or you have to cram in another sentence explaining it. 26 in 2 full seasons gives an accurate picture in one sentence.

He's referring to Verlander. He started 29 games in the previous three seasons, and the pandemic had nothing to do with his lack of work in Year 1 (well, I suppose in some alternate reality sense he may have stayed healthy with a normal season).
   7. Walt Davis Posted: April 17, 2023 at 05:50 PM (#6124503)
Dunning -- has just 4 Ks in 11 IP. A bizarro world to this one ... and to his past when he K'd 8.5/9. Surviving on 0 HRs and excelling on a 200 BABIP. But it will be fun if he keeps it up.
   8. Darren Posted: April 17, 2023 at 08:49 PM (#6124530)
And DeGrom leaves his start early.
   9. Howie Menckel Posted: April 17, 2023 at 09:43 PM (#6124539)
"deGrom exits with wrist soreness after 4 hitless innings"

   10. BDC Posted: April 17, 2023 at 09:46 PM (#6124541)
DeGrom with “right wrist soreness.” I was told there would be days like this :)

Dunning took over, threw 4-1/3 scoreless (five strikeouts). He’s having a really good April. I wonder if Dunning will pioneer a new role, “second principal pitcher when the starter can’t get through six” or something like that. Odds are probably not …
   11. BDC Posted: April 17, 2023 at 09:50 PM (#6124543)
And the game was over in 2:02!!
   12. bookbook Posted: April 18, 2023 at 06:47 AM (#6124589)
“Second principle pitcher…”

Isn’t that what used to be called the long man?

In the 80’s every staff would have one on their 10-man pitching staff.
   13. BDC Posted: April 18, 2023 at 09:14 AM (#6124594)
For sure – there is nothing new under the sun. Though one difference might be that the old-style long man would come in when a starter wasn't effective. Nowadays the starter might be effective but, even if uninjured, reach his pitch limit in four or five innings. Most managers then use another four or so relievers, but maybe there's some advantage to using a long man in place of three of them.
   14. Lassus Posted: April 18, 2023 at 02:37 PM (#6124626)
So the Rangers are in the best shape of their lives?
   15. Walt Davis Posted: April 18, 2023 at 04:57 PM (#6124655)
#13 ... there are a few of these guys floating around already. In fact, Brock Burke did this last year for Tex -- 52 appearances, 80 innings, entered 3 times in the 4th, 7 in the 5th and 17 in the 6th. A guy named Eli Morgan in Cle, Jimmy Herget in Anaheim. It's sorta the role that Keegan Thompson is expected to fill with the Cubs (and did last year when not in the rotation). It's also the role that's often split up among all those guys on the AAA shuttle -- a fair number of guys last year with totals like 9 GR, 15 IP in their 3-4 weeks on the roster -- some guy named Sean Hjelle of the Giants had 8 appearances and 25 IP, entering in the 4th 7 times. Hjelle had one appearance each in May, June and July then once a week in Sept. He was starting in AAA in between those stints.
   16. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: April 20, 2023 at 10:26 AM (#6124767)
Most managers then use another four or so relievers, but maybe there's some advantage to using a long man in place of three of them.

Wasn't that another Earl Weaver-ism? That if you change pitchers too many times, eventually you're going to find the one who just doesn't have it on that day.
   17. Ron J Posted: April 21, 2023 at 04:28 PM (#6125037)
#16 Don't think so. Weaver did ask a lot of his starters and did use good long guys like Grant Jackson and Sammy Stewart. Just wouldn't have come up the way he managed.

Pretty sure you're thinking of Whitey Herzog.

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