Monday, May 31, 2010

Checking the Batting Order

After sitting through a silly weekend of Rangers offensive baseball, I hatched this idea in my head that I had to do some serious research this morning regarding how the Rangers are generating and not generating their offense. It is too easy to say they aren't hitting or aren't getting key hits.

We also have our suspicions on who is getting it done and who is not, but if one thing is becoming clear, it is that the bottom 3rd of the lineup is resembling a weak NL 7-8-9. That says something.

If we are to wonder aloud where the Rangers took a wrong turn, it would seem that it starts with allowing 1B, CF, and C to be such question marks. But, because of lack of money (Marlon Byrd) and perhaps too much optimism, the Rangers were ready to roll with Chris Davis, Julio Borbon, Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden, and if needed, Justin Smoak. These homegrown studs will be ready to advance just like Elvis Andrus, right?

Not yet, anyway. Not even close.

First, let's look at Batting Average. This is done by position in the batting order. Later, we will define who is most responsible for which spot, but for now, just now that the #8 hitter of the Rangers means the cumulative total of anyone in that spot versus the major leagues:

SpotTex RankAL Leader
1st.259 (9th).342 (Sea)
2nd.314 (1st).314 (Tex)
3rd.257 (10th).340 (KC)
4th.327 (3rd).358 (Det)
5th.308 (2nd).359 (NY)
6th.257 (6th).323 (Balt)
7th.179 (14th).292 (Ana)
8th.211 (10th).294 (NY)
9th.279 (1st).279 (Tex)

HTML Tables

The major issues here appear to be 1st, 3rd, 7th, and 8th. What is interesting is that lead-off has been great since Elvis moved there, which might mean that 9th is now the issue. 3rd has just not been right as everyone has waited for Josh Hamilton to get going. But, 7th and 8th? Horrid, and no help in sight unless Smoak figures it out. He did have a 4 hit week, but 4-17 is not going to get us too excited.

Now, on to OBP:

SpotTex RankAL Leader
1st.330 (8th).393 (Sea)
2nd.373 (3rd).397 (Oak)
3rd.321 (13th).409 (Min)
4th.357 (6th).453 (Min)
5th.390 (2nd).401 (NY)
6th.324 (6th).377 (NY)
7th.244 (14th).397 (NY)
8th.309 (6th).372 (NY)
9th.330 (3rd).346 (Oak)

HTML Tables

OBP observations include 3rd is not great again. This is an interesting way of calculating numbers because Hamilton's OBP of .335 is right about the AL Average. But, compared to #3 hitters, the 3rd position (primarily Hamilton and Kinsler) in Texas has been 2nd to last. Hamilton's 2008 OBP of .371 seems a long ways away. And of course, a .244 OBP from the 7th hole is so bad it is silly.

Also, have any Yankees' envy when looking at the chart? #1 for the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th spot in their lineup? Amazing. And those #3 and #4 hitters in Minnesota seem pretty salty, too.

Now, let's check the boomsticks:

SpotTex RankAL Leader
1st.289 (13th).441 (Det)
2nd.461 (4th).491 (Balt)
3rd.455 (5th).490 (TB)
4th.541 (5th).684 (Det)
5th.557 (2nd).601 (NY)
6th.465 (5th).552 (Balt)
7th.250 (14th).630 (Tor)
8th.247 (14th).524 (Tor)
9th.335 (6th).441 (Tor)

HTML Tables

I cannot imagine you can have a great American League offense if you have 3 slots in your batting order that are slugging below .300. That just seems impossible.

Now, I listed the 3 charts above in one easy box. Now, you can see each slot by ranking.

SpotTex RankAL Leader

HTML Tables

Perhaps the story that keeps this team from being a complete disaster is that Vladimir Guerrero was found for almost no money, and is not only having a nice year, but also actually holding his own with the American League's finest clean-up hitters.

Now, to define who is responsible for which spot, I tried to break it down by AB for each batting slot so you can see who we are talking about when we give credit or place blame:

1stAndrus 148Borbon 36
2ndYoung 203None
3rdHamilton 143Kinsler 47
4thGuerrero 191None
5thCruz 66Kinsler 56, Ham 43
6thMurphy 61Davis 48, Cruz 33
7thSmoak 81Treanor 33, Arias 24
8thTreanor 57Blanco 27, Arias 25
9thBorbon 102Andrus 31

HTML Tables

Conclusion: Michael Young, Andrus, Guerrero, Cruz, and Kinsler have been just what we expected, or in Vlad's case - better. Hamilton has been decent. But all of those hopeful spots below have been failed bits. With very few solutions to these problems apparent, and with Nelson Cruz headed back to the DL, we might be finding out that it may not be time, yet.


Dethnight said...

All I know is Larry Byrd is so much Better than Dirk NoWinSki because the Celtics are in the Finals.

P1 Steven said...

The pitching staff is just about where we expected. Out only hope is Salty getting his head back together. I can ride out Smoak & Burbon. My suggestion for Salty?? Remember in Major League 2 the rookie catcher could not throw the ball back to the mound. Tom Berenger's character (the veteran catcher/ coach) came up with a solution. He had the rookie recite stats from Nudy magazines & lingerie catalogs while he threw the ball back to the mound. His problem was solved, and they went on to beat the sox in a playoff series!!