Texas Rangers: 2010 World Series Positioning

World Series position outlook: SS

October, 26, 2010
One question heading into the postseason was whether shortstop Elvis Andrus could handle the pressure of the playoffs.

The second-year player has certainly answered those questions. He is 17-for-51 (.333) with three doubles and three RBIs as the leadoff hitter on this team in the playoffs. He has seven stolen bases in eight attempts and a .751 OPS. Andrus made one error in the Tampa Bay series, but otherwise has been steady with the glove. He's made his usual assortment of highlight plays and he's received notice from fans around the country that wouldn't otherwise know much about him.

Andrus doesn't seem like the type of personality -- he's confident, but always looking to improve and works hard -- that will have any trouble handling the increased pressure of the Fall Classic.

World Series position outlook: 3B

October, 25, 2010
Michael Young, the leader of the club and a guy who waited a decade to make the postseason with the Rangers, didn't hit the way he wanted in Tampa Bay.

Young batted .150 and did not come up with his normal clutch hits. But his teammates picked him up and he vowed to stick with his plan and expected better results in the ALCS. That's what he got.

Young hit .333 (9-for-27) in the six-game ALCS against the Yankees with four RBIs. Not only did he come up with some run-scoring hits, but he was able to get on base and move Elvis Andrus over to help the Rangers score runs in the series. Young, like the rest of the lineup, has become a reliable situational hitter. That gets magnified in the playoffs when runs are at a premium and being able to play small ball when needed could make the difference between getting that additional run or not.

"I believe in my approach to hitting," Young said the day before the Rangers clinched the AL pennant. "I know it works. I think that every time you ask about someone’s performance in the postseason, it’s definitely fair and we understand why, I mean, it’s a big stage.

"But I think I had something like 20 at-bats in the first series. That’s like a couple of games during the regular season. You flush those down the toilet pretty quickly during the regular season. I took the same approach here. I know if I stick with my same approach and bear down on it, I’m going to get results. That’s my approach. I believe in it and I stick with it win, lose or draw."

World Series position outlook: 1B

October, 24, 2010

We continue our run through the Rangers positional outlooks heading into the World Series with first base.

Like catcher, offensive production at first base was minimal during the regular season. The Rangers started with Chris Davis, but he couldn't find his offensive rhythm and was sent down before April was over. Justin Smoak then took over and went through the typical growing pains of a first-time major league player. He was, of course, traded to the Mariners as the centerpiece of the Cliff Lee deal.

That left things to Mitch Moreland and veteran Jorge Cantu, acquired at the trade deadline. Moreland, selected in the 17th round of the 2007 draft by the Rangers, has emerged at the position in the postseason.

The plan when the ALDS began in Tampa was for Moreland, a left-handed hitter, to play against right-handed pitchers and Cantu, a right-handed hitting veteran, to play against lefties.

But Cantu has hit just 0-for-7 in the playoffs. Meanwhile, Moreland is .303 (10-for-33) with three doubles and four RBIs. He earned the start against left-hander David Price in Game 5 of the ALDS and started all six games in the ALCS.

Moreland has seized the job, not only for the World Series, but will head to spring training as the probable 2011 starter. He's performed well on the big stage and there's no reason not to expect the same in the World Series.

World Series position outlook: Catcher

October, 24, 2010
Just like we did leading into the postseason, we'll take a brief look at each position for the Rangers to help prepare you for the World Series. Let's start with catcher.

During the regular season, the Rangers didn't get much offensive production from the catching position. Rangers catchers in 2010 had 59 RBIs, 11th in the AL (meaning only three teams had fewer). They hit .212, finishing second-to-last in that category (only the Mariners were worse). But manager Ron Washington preached working with the pitching staff and playing solid defense and his catchers did that in 2010.

But something happened when the postseason began. Bengie Molina morphed into a real threat at the bottom of the order and Matt Treanor figured out ways to keep getting on base -- he was even hit in the same spot twice by Tampa Bay pitchers in one ALDS game to get on the basepaths.

Ranger catchers have combined to hit .324 in 11 games with three homers and nine RBIs. They've accounted for 22 total bases. It's made a tremendous difference in the balance of the Rangers' lineup, giving the bottom part of the order more production.

Molina and Treanor have also done a nice job behind the plate, calling games and making solid defensive plays. That's a critical component of playoff success.

We'll have more in the coming days on Molina, who gets to play against the team that traded him in June in the World Series. It's a deal that worked out for everyone. Buster Posey became the unquestioned starter for the Giants and has blossomed. Molina has become an important veteran presence and playoff producer for Texas.



Colby Lewis
10 5.18 133 170
BAA. Beltre .324
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182