Thursday, January 10, 2013
Stats: Why Texas can go to World Series
By Richard Durrett
FanGraphs' Mike Petriello has a story up on ESPN.com (insider) that talks about why the Texas Rangers are still a threat to win the World Series. Petriello lists his reasons. Here's part of his thinking:
Even if Jurickson Profar does start off in the minors, he's still likely to see his share of time with the big club in 2013, and he's the real wild card here. Though he doesn't turn 20 until February, the enthusiasm around him is legitimate, because he's one of only 15 players over the last quarter-century who made their MLB debut in their age-19 season and received at least 10 plate appearances. Of the 14 before him, 11 made at least one All-Star team, and Manny Machado has a good chance of making that 12; nearly half have or will have some Hall of Fame case. That doesn't discount the possibility that Profar turns into Karim Garcia, the only true flameout from the group, but don't underestimate just how special he is on both sides of the ball.
That improved defense should turn a decent fielding team into a very good one, and that should help the entire pitching staff, which was solid last year and could be better if Yu Darvish continues the progress that made him one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball over the final third of 2012. Texas could still use another established starter behind Darvish, Matt Harrison and Derek Holland, but they'll be continually reinforced by the returns of injured pitchers Neftali Feliz, Colby Lewis and Soria at various points during the season.
Petriello uses the wRC+ stat (weighted runs created plus) to illustrate that the trade of Michael Young and the additions to the lineup are a net gain for the club.
I do think there's a general overreaction from some Ranger fans about the 2013 season. No, it hasn't been the offseason the Rangers hoped. But this is still a good team with one of the best starting rotations in the AL and a potent lineup (even with the loss of Josh Hamilton). They'll need to stay healthy and need some players to bounce back (see Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz). But they should still contend.
Anyway, Petriello really digs into the numbers in a long post. He offers Ranger fans reasons to be optimistic (yet another good reason to become an insider).