Texas Rangers: Awards
Of course, there are plenty of former Ranger players on the ballot, too. That includes left-handed pitcher Kenny Rogers and power-hitters Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa, who are hurt by their connections to PEDs. Eric Gagne, who pitched for the club in 2007 and was traded to Boston in the deal that brought Engel Beltre and David Murphy (along with Kason Gabbard), is also on the ballot.
There are about 600 voters this year. To cast a ballot, you must have been a Baseball Writers' Association of America member for 10 consecutive years. Ballots must be in by the end of the year and the results will be announced Jan. 8.
Beltre hit .315 with 30 homers and 92 RBIs in 161 games for the Rangers in 2013. He led the American League with 199 hits and was fourth in batting average and fifth in total bases (321). He was also in the top-10 in games played, slugging (.509) and homers. Beltre finished tied for seventh in the AL MVP voting this season.
Beltre will receive his award at the 2014 Dr Pepper Texas Rangers Awards Dinner on Friday, Jan. 24, at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine. Tickets for the dinner can be purchased here.
"It was an honor to be a finalist for the American League Cy Young Award," Darvish said in a statement from Japan and released by the Rangers. "Both Max Scherzer and Hisashi Iwakuma had tremendous seasons. Max is a very deserving winner. I would like to thank my teammates, the entire Texas Rangers organization, and most of all, the fans, for their on-going support. I look forward to the 2014 season and helping my team to achieve our goal: to bring a World Series championship to Texas."
Darvish is expected to return to the United States next week so that the Rangers' medical staff can examine him. Darvish received an injection at the end of the season to help with a nerve issue, but general manager Jon Daniels said the reports on Darvish's health have been good.
By finishing second, Darvish can opt out of the final season of his contract if he wins the Cy Young in the next three seasons or finishes second through fourth in two of the next three seasons. Darvish’s current contract goes through 2017 with him making $11 million that season (the highest annual value during the life of the contract).
Darvish’s solid 2013 season wasn’t enough to vault past Scherzer in the Cy Young voting. Not only did Scherzer have more wins than any other pitcher and the top WHIP, he was near the top in just about every other key metric.
Darvish had a strong case, too. He led the league with 277 strikeouts, a whopping 11.89 per nine innings. Opponents hit just .194 off Darvish, the lowest average in the AL. It’s worth noting that while Darvish managed just 13 wins, his team scored about two fewer runs per game than the Tigers did for Scherzer.
But Darvish also wasn’t able to hold some leads late in key games for the Rangers and his team didn’t end up making the postseason, which didn't help his cause. The bottom line: His overall resume just wasn’t quite as good as Scherzer’s in 2013.
Darvish's second-place finish is the highest by any Japanese pitcher in Cy Young history.
Once again, though, Darvish had a solid season as the Rangers’ No. 1 pitcher. If that continues, Texas will need to negotiate a new deal no later than after the 2016 season.
First-half MVP (offense): Nelson Cruz
While a possible 50-game suspension looms for Cruz (though no one knows if or when that might happen), the outfielder has provided power and production at the plate. He’s got 20 homers – one of only five AL players to hit at least that many -- and 61 RBIs (fifth-most in the AL). He’s hitting .271 and has stayed healthy, playing in 79 games. Cruz played in a career-high number of games in 2012 but didn’t have the searing hot streaks we’re used to seeing. He’s been hot at times already this season, carrying this team when the hits haven’t come with consistency.
Other candidates: Adrian Beltre
First-half MVP (pitching): Joe Nathan
Sure, he may make things uncomfortable by putting a man or two on in a one-run game, but he’s nearly as automatic as they come. He’s had 27 saves in 28 opportunities and will certainly be in the All-Star Game. Nathan has a 1.51 ERA with 35 strikeouts and 10 walks. But most important, his teammates have supreme confidence that when he gets the ball, the game is over. Don’t discount the importance of that come September and October.
Other candidates: Yu Darvish
The reliever came into spring training in good position to get a spot in the bullpen, though nothing was guaranteed. He performed well in Arizona, but it wasn’t clear where he’d fit into the relief hierarchy with other veterans ahead of him on the depth chart. But Scheppers started the season so well that he quickly established himself as the primary eighth-inning option, getting the game to Nathan in winning situations. Scheppers has an ERA under 2.00 in more than 40 innings pitched. He’s one of the leaders in the AL in appearances and has done the job for a bullpen that has turned into a strength for this team.
Other candidates: Neal Cotts, Mitch Moreland, Leonys Martin
|Manager Ron Washington joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the Rangers at the halfway point of the season. |
Needs improvement: Elvis Andrus
I know some of you will put David Murphy here, but the reality is that Murphy is a “regular” for the first time this season. Andrus signed a long-term contract before the season and hasn’t produced as he would have liked at the plate. He’s batting .243, which puts him near the bottom of the list of shortstops in the AL. I predict Andrus will get it in gear in the second half, but the No. 2 hitter has just 11 extra-base hits in the first half, which is disappointing so far this season.
Most indispensable player: Adrian Beltre
A case could be made for Ian Kinsler after the leadoff hitter’s absence coincided with the club’s roughest offensive stretch, but I’m taking Beltre. He’s one of the top defensive third basemen in the game, a consistent offensive producer and a leader. There was a visible example of his leadership Sunday as Beltre was caught on camera talking to Engel Beltre and Leonys Martin about making the right defensive play in a key situation. Beltre has the respect of the room and leads by example, coming to play at a high level every day.
Best individual performance:
Darvish’s near-perfect game
We have to go back to the second game of the season, but Darvish’s near-perfect game against the Astros in April was the best individual performance of the first half. Darvish needed one more out but gave up a hit to No. 9 batter Marwin Gonzalez in the ninth, ending the perfect game and the no-hitter. Darvish was taken out of the game at that point and finished with 8 2/3 shutout innings with 14 strikeouts. It was an incredible way to kick off his season.
Biggest win: June 17 vs. Oakland
The Rangers had lost six straight games and had fallen behind the Oakland in the AL West as the A’s came to Arlington. The Rangers took a 3-0 lead into the fourth before the A’s scored six runs off Nick Tepesch, ending his night early. Down by three, the Rangers clawed back and held on for an 8-7 win that ended the skid and began a run that allowed them to end June with a 10-3 push and finish the month at .500.
Other candidate: June 20 vs. Oakland as the Rangers won 4-3, ending the game on a play at the plate after a good throw from center from Craig Gentry to cutoff man Elvis Andrus, who got the ball to catcher A.J. Pierzynski in time to make the tag. Nathan jumped up and pumped his fist as the Rangers took three out of four in the series.
|Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company for his weekly visit to discuss the latest Rangers news, including Yu Darvish bringing back his fastball. |
Best story of the first half: Neal Cotts
The fact that Cotts is even pitching this season is improbable, considering he had Tommy John surgery in 2009 and four surgeries on his hip since 2010. He gave pitching lessons in Illinois and was just hoping for another chance. In 2012, Cotts was one of the candidates to be the final lefty in the Rangers bullpen before a late-spring injury cinched the job for Robbie Ross. Cotts didn’t give up, kept pitching and is 4-0 with a 0.40 ERA in 22 2/3 innings. The lefty is actually better against righties this season. They are hitting just .105 against him.
Other candidate: Jeff Baker
"Maybe you put Profar in a deal and get Price plus something else because you're trading six years for three years," Law said. "Do I believe such a deal would ever take place? No, I really doubt it. I think perceived values, which are not always the same as real values, have a lot to do with what trades occur in major league baseball.
"In this case, it would be very hard for the Rays to justify a deal like that with the perceived value of Price. They might be able to turn around and trade Price to someone else who's willing to overpay and give them major league players in return."
|ESPN Insider Jim Bowden joins Ben and Skin to discuss Elvis Andrus' comments about "Pujols money" and look at various options for the Rangers and Jurickson Profar. |
My call? Make the deal. Look, I understand that Profar could be outstanding. Scouts rave about him and he's impressed me in limited looks in the minors and majors, too. But aces don't come around often. Heck, the Rangers had to make a $107 million investment in Yu Darvish in hopes that he would become one. So far, that looks like a great decision. But can you imagine Price and Darvish at the top of the Rangers' rotation the next three years? Throw in Matt Harrison, an 18-game winner last year, as the No. 3 and the depth of the rotation increases dramatically.
|Ben and Skin discuss the value of Jurickson Profar vs. David Price and Giancarlo Stanton and what the Rangers need to do. |
It makes more financial sense to keep Profar and Law thinks he can be one of the five or six best players in the game by the time he's 24 or 25. But the most difficult thing to find in this game is an ace. Can you imagine if the Rangers had two of them? So if that speculative deal was on the table, I make it.
What about you? Do you wave goodbye to six years of Profar for three of Price? Or do you turn that down?
* Doors open at 4 p.m. and the Fan Fest is open until 10:30 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door or you can purchase them here. Admission is $25 for adults and $15 for children 13 and under for a one-day pass and $40 for adults and $25 for children 13 and under for a two-day pass. The ticket office (Southeast Gallary at the Convention Center) will be open two hours prior to the doors opening on each day (the Fan Fest goes from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, FYI).
* The Dr Pepper Awards Show is tonight from 8 to 10 p.m. and any fan with a ticket to Fan Fest today can see the show (there's no extra charge).
* ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM will be out there as well. Galloway & Company will broadcast inside the exhibit hall and ESPNDallas.com live with Joe Trahan and me (popping in and out between interviews) will start at 6 p.m. and go until 9 p.m. So we'll have lots of good Rangers talk and guests for you, so be sure to listen. If you're in Arlington, stop by and say hello too.
* Some of the activities at Fan Fest:
Batting Cage: Life size batting cage with top of the line-pitching machine will pitch safety balls to fans.
Speed Pitch: Fans will get the opportunity to stand on a mound and test their arms.
Home Run Derby Field: Fans can hit one “out of the park”…literally. This mini Rangers Ballpark will provide fun and entertainment for all ages.
Locker Room/American League Trophy display: This great photo opportunity will allow fans to feel they are in the real Rangers clubhouse and have their pictures taken with the 2010 and 2011 American League Trophies.
Ground Ball/Fly Ball catch: Fans will be able to test their skills against a pop-fly or ground ball in this area.
Team Photo Opportunity: Fans will be able to have their picture taken with the 2012 team! Fan Fest will feature a life-size team photo cut out.
Lil Sluggers: This interactive will be for the young Rangers fans (8 and under). It will be decorated with MLB Mascots – kids can step up and hit the whiffle balls off a tee.
Event Stage: The Event Stage will be a highlight of the event. Fans will be treated to Q&A sessions with current and former players as well as special interest topics about the Texas Rangers. The stage will also have a dance contest, giveaways, and much more throughout the weekend!
Steal Home Challenge: Fans can race against the clock from third base to home plate and compare their speed with their favorite Rangers.
Autograph Stages will be located in the main Exhibit Hall. Autographs signings will be posted approximately two hours in advance of each session and will include numerous current and former Rangers.
Photo Stage: Throughout the event, fans will be able to get their photos taken with their favorite Rangers personalities.
* Autograph sessions for Friday are 5, 6 and 7 p.m. with Adrian Beltre, Steve Buechele, John Burkett, Yu Darvish, Colby Lewis, Joe Nathan and A.J. Pierzynski signing.
* Lewis and Nathan will also participate in a Q&A session.
* Hall of Famers Scheduled in the Fergie Jenkins Foundation Booth: Rollie Fingers, Fergie Jenkins, Gaylord Perry.
* Autograph procedures:
-- Fan Fest autograph schedules will not be announced in advance other than what is listed above.
-- Television monitors located at the information booths in the Grand Hall and near the entrance of the Exhibit Hall and the television screens located near the main stage will post who is signing during each session 1 hour prior to the start of that session.
-- Entrance to the designated line will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis. Individuals who use wheelchairs must adhere to the same first-come, first-served process as all other fans.
-- When lines are at the designated capacity, an “END OF LINE” sign will be posted and no further guests will be allowed to enter the line.
-- There are six designated autograph sessions throughout the weekend where all fans in attendance 1 hour prior to the start of the autograph session will be eligible to participate. Participants will be selected randomly. More information on players and scheduled times will be available on each day of Fan Fest.
-- One autograph per person is allowed, no exceptions.
-- Players will sign approximately 225 autographs per session. Players will not sign beyond their allotted time.
-- Prior to the 2013 Fan Fest, Fast Passes were sold online at texasrangers.com. Sixty guests will have the opportunity to skip to the front of each autograph session on each day of the event.
Furukawa, a Pacific Rim international scout for Texas, worked closely with Darvish, helping the media during his news conferences and availabilities after games and between starts.
If you don't know much about Furukawa, check out this story about him that was posted on ESPNDallas.com back in April.
Furukawa will receive the award at the 2013 Texas Rangers Dr Pepper Awards Show on Jan. 11 at the Arlington Convention Center. The event is part of Fan Fest, which is Jan. 11-12. You can purchase tickets to the event by visiting texasrangers.com/fanfest or calling 972-RANGERS.
This is well deserved. Furukawa did a great job this year with Darvish and helping him in all of his media situations. The English-speaking media doesn't get to hear from Darvish if not for Furukawa, and he was always there when Darvish appeared before the media. That is appreciated.
| Ben of Ben & Skin breaks down seven things that are on his mind, including Dez Bryant's finger and the Rangers front office. |
Rodriguez is one spot behind Juan Marichal and one spot in front of Bert Blyleven.
Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan also makes the list, of course. He's No. 35 with a resume that includes seven no-hitters and the all-time mark of 5,714 strikeouts. Ryan is positioned just ahead of Mel Ott and behind Ken Griffey Jr.
The complete list of the Hall of 100 is here.
From the club's release:
Darvish was 16-9 with a 3.90 earned run average in 29 starts in his first season with Texas after signing as a free agent in January. He led all major league rookies with 221 strikeouts, the fifth highest overall total in team history, and 191.1 innings while tying for first in wins, a club rookie record. Darvish had the AL’s second lowest opponents batting average (.216) and strikeouts per 9.0 innings ratio (10.4) and also ranked among the league leaders in strikeouts (3rd), wins (T5th), and winning percentage (8th, .640). He joined Cleveland’s Herb Score in 1955 as the only rookies in AL history with at least 16 wins and 210 strikeouts in a season, just the fifth such rookie in the modern era (since 1900). Darvish finished third in the voting for the BBWAA AL Rookie of the Year Award.
Darvish, Rangers Player of the Year Adrian Beltre and Rangers Pitcher of the Year Matt Harrison will be among the award recipients at the 2013 Texas Rangers Dr Pepper Awards Show, which will be held in conjunction with Texas Rangers Fan Fest on Friday, January 11 at the Arlington Convention Center. Other award winners will be announced in upcoming weeks. Tickets for Fan Fest, which will take place January 11-12, are on sale at texasrangers.com/fanfest or by calling 972-RANGERS.
The Rangers' share of the players' pool was $980,452.04. The value of each full share was $16,999.09. Texas awarded 44 full shares, 8.5 partial shares and 12 cash awards.
The players' pool comes from 50 percent of the gate receipts from the wild-card games, 60 percent of the gate receipts from the first three games of the division series, 60 percent of the gate receipts from the first four games of the league championship series and 60 percent of the gate receipts from the first four games of the World Series.
That money is then distributed between all the clubs that made it to the postseason. The total pool was $65,363,469.22. A full share for the San Francisco Giants, the World Champs, was $377,002.64, while the runner-up Detroit Tigers got $284,274.50. Both of those are records.
By the way, the Rangers got $251,515.76 per full share after falling in seven games in the 2011 World Series.
Harrison, 27, was 18-11 with a 3.29 ERA in 32 starts in 2012. He was third in the American League in wins and complete games (four) and was seventh with 213 1/3 innings pitched. The 18 victories tied a club-record for wins by a lefty (Kenny Rogers, 2004) and he was just the second Texas player to have at least 18 wins and an ERA of 3.30 or less in the same season, joining Ferguson Jenkins (1974 and 1978).
Harrison will receive his award at the Dr Pepper Awards Show, which is a part of Fan Fest, on Jan. 11 at the Arlington Convention Center. The other award winners will be announced in the next few weeks.
A reminder: If you want tickets to Fan Fest, Jan. 11-12, you can click here for more information.
|ESPN MLB insider Jim Bowden joins Ben and Skin for a walk around the Rangers Hot Stove. |
* Adrian Beltre. When it comes to "value," it's difficult to imagine anyone with a higher one than Beltre. He hit .321 with 36 homers and 102 RBIs with a .359 on-base percentage and a .561 slugging percentage. He won a Gold Glove for his defensive play at third base and he showed a high level of toughness, playing through obvious pain late in the season and delivering some big hits in the final few weeks.
* Josh Hamilton. His final few weeks are still fresh on everyone's minds, but take a step back and look at his overall production. He batted .285 with 43 homers and 128 RBIs. The homers challenged Miguel Cabrera's Triple Crown attempt until the very end. He had a .354 on-base percentage and a .577 slugging percentage, the highest on the team.
* Matt Harrison. He received two fifth-place votes in the AL Cy Young voting after putting up 18 wins and a 3.29 ERA in a breakout season. Harrison solidified himself as an upper-rotation starter in 2012, pitching 213 1/3 innings (a team-high) with 133 strikeouts and 59 walks. He had four complete games and made 32 starts.
* Yu Darvish. The rookie had a memorable season, especially the final six weeks. His last eight starts: 5-0 with a 2.04 ERA. And that doesn't include a terrific performance under the pressure of the AL wild-card game. The 26-year-old is now the No. 1 pitcher on the staff. His 2013 mission: cut down on his walks. He had 89, fourth-most in the league. But Darvish was 16-9 with a 3.90 ERA and for a guy that had to make a ton of adjustments (new country, culture, team, league, etc.), it was a highly successful first campaign in the big leagues.
* Joe Nathan. The veteran turned into one of the best offseason bullpen signings in the league. The Rangers didn't wait around, inking Nathan to a two-year deal last November, and he was solid. He had 37 saves in 40 chances, a 92.5 percent success rate that is third in the AL (behind Fernando Rodney and Jim Johnson).
From that group, Beltre is the clear choice at No. 1 for me. I'd put Hamilton in second. I do think, though, that third is up for grabs. Harrison clearly has to get consideration with his 18 wins and all the innings he piled up. But don't forget about Nathan. He locked down games late in 2012. He was as close to automatic as you could get from mid-April to mid-September, converting 31 consecutive saves. I think relievers don't get as much credit as they deserve many times and Nathan was critical for the back end of this bullpen.
So who's your MVP? Give us your top 3 and tell us why.
Voters put five names on their ballots. Two of them had Matt Harrison fifth and another put Yu Darvish in that spot. The Rangers starters finished eighth and ninth, respectively.
Interestingly, it wasn't voters from Texas that put Harrison or Darvish on the ballot (it was writers from Boston, Cleveland and Minnesota).
Beltre joins Buddy Bell (1979, 1981, 1982) and Michael Young (2009) as Rangers third basemen to win the honor.
Beltre, 33, hit .321 with 36 homers and 102 RBIs in 156 games this season. He showed toughness, playing hurt and doing anything and everything to stay in the lineup. He was the club's most cosistent offensive performer, ending up third in the AL in batting average and total bases (339) and fourth in hits (194) and slugging percentage (.561).
Beltre continued to sparkle on defense as well, winning his fourth Gold Glove Award and second with the Rangers.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.