Welcome to The Bullpen, a weekly collection of Rangers thoughts from Greg Tepper. Let him know what you think on Twitter, and please be gentle.
It’s the June 7th, 2017 edition of The Bullpen, the real reason Adam Rosales is a 19-time Ranger.
This is decidedly a Rangers-centric column, but any conversation about the Rangers has to start with how remarkably exciting and fun and good the Rangers’ division rival — the Houston Astros — are.
And in a roundabout way, the Astros can provide a blueprint for what could be a Rangers rebuild.
All MLB teams began playing 162-game seasons in 1962. Since then, there have been 69 100-loss seasons. That’s bad, when you lose 100 games in a season.
But we can narrow it down a little farther. Since 1972 — the year of Flood v. Kuhn, which basically created the idea of free agency and the modern baseball league — there have been 51 100-loss seasons. To reiterate: it’s bad when you lose 100 games in a season.
Now, a small caveat: 100 losses is a pretty arbitrary number. We like it because it ends in a zero, but it’s not that much worse than 99 losses, which is also very bad. But go with me here.
Anyway: there have only been three franchises to suffer three consecutive 100-loss seasons.
The first: Toronto, which lost 107, 102 and 109 games (respectively) from 1977 to 1979. Of course, Toronto was an expansion team in those three years, and six years later, they were within a game of an AL pennant.
The second: Kansas City, which lost 104, 106 and 100 games (respectively) from 2004 to 2006. This was a very dark period for the Royals, who would wallow in the depths of the baseball basement for another nine years before —surprise! — back-to-back AL pennants and the 2015 World Series title.
The third: Houston, which lost 106, 107 and 111 games (respectively) from 2011 to 2013.
Now, to be clear: I don’t want to take anything away from the Houston braintrust, which trusted The Process and used the 2012 draft alone to nab the likes of Carlos Correa and Lance McCullers. That’s not to mention the jettisoning of relatively useless veterans (at least, useless to a 100-loss team) to acquire players like Chris Devenski, Brad Peacock, Collin McHugh (waiver claim), Jake Marisnick, Evan Gattis, James Hoyt, Mike Fiers, Carlos Gomez, et cetera.
But let’s be real about something: the Astros tanked. The Astros tanked hard. And now look at them: the best team in baseball.
Tanking works. It’s not sexy, but it works. And if the Rangers want to tear it all down and start over, the blueprint has been drawn by Toronto, Kansas City and Houston.
23.9% — Texas’ strikeout percentage so far this season, up from 20% last year. Want to know why the Rangers’ offense is droughts and floods? They don’t put the ball in play enough.
4.6% — Rougned Odor’s walk percentage so far this season, which ranks 160th among 171 qualifying batters in baseball. A lower walk percentage than guys like Matt Kemp, who is still drawing a paycheck from … (googles) … the Braves!
37.5% — The percentage of fly balls that Sam Dyson allowed this season as a Ranger that went for home runs, which is so laughably high that I kind of feel bad for laughing.
Forgotten Ranger of the Week
Hey! Remember Marc Sagmoen? A 13th round pick by the Rangers in the 1993 draft after an All-American career at Nebraska, the corner outfielder-slash-corner infielder got the call to the Majors early in 1997, logging his first hit in his third game — a two-out inside-the-park homer down the right field line at Kauffman Stadium off of Kansas City’s Tim Belcher in the Rangers’ 5-1 win over KC on April 17, 1997. He’s one of five MLB players ever to hit an inside-the-park homer as his first hit.
That would be one of three hits he had in his initial stint in the majors, seeing his average plummet to .120 before getting sent back down to the minors. He was a late-season call-up that year, where he notched two more hits in ten more games to finish the year (and, unbeknownst to him at the time, his MLB career) with a .140 average and a .430 OPS. A inside-the-parker off of Belcher was his lone homer.
Perhaps most interestingly: he was the last Texas Ranger to wear the No. 42, as Jackie Robinson’s number was retired across all of baseball on April 15, 1997…the day Sagmoen made his Major League debut. Sagmoen was actually allowed to wear the number for the remainder of his MLB career, but declined out of respect for Robinson. He remains the last player in baseball history assigned No. 42.
Sagmoen bopped around the minors for a few more years, getting stints in the farm systems of Houston, St. Louis and Minnesota before retiring at age 30 in 2001.
Marc Sagmoen is a policeman in Seattle — his hometown — where he lives with his wife and two children. He also coaches a 16-and-under baseball team in the area, which includes his son, who wears No. 42.
Arbitrary Top 5
The top 5 Rangers’ career leaders in sacrifice flies:
5: Ivan Rodriguez (48)
4: Juan Gonzales (60)
3: Rafael Palmeiro (65)
2: Ruben Sierra (66)
1: Michael Young (70)
Ballpark Food of the Week
The Most Valuable Tamale, a two-foot long tamale covered in chili, nacho cheese and sour cream. We deserve to be destroyed. You can find this slap in God’s face outside Section 29.
Former Ranger Watch
Carlos Peguero played in 30 games for the Rangers in 2015, hitting .186 and mashing four homers in that time. He later went on that season to play in four garbage time games for Boston, where he hit .200.
These days, you can find him across the Pacific playing for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Japan Pacific League, where he’s leading the team with 12 homers and has teammates like Kaz Matsui (who is FORTY-ONE YEARS OLD AND STILL PLAYING).
Unrelated YouTube Video of the Week
Here is a very short, very catchy song about cleanliness.
Elvis Andrus Twitter Emoji Watch
Elvis Andrus loves emojis, so we’ll keep track of them by drawing a Tweet at random and counting the emojis.
And off course happy mother day to my wonderful fiancé I love u and our baby 👶🏽 on the way lil… https://t.co/AweZerTTu7— Elvis Andrus (@ElvisandrusSS1) May 14, 2017
Maybe married life is calming Elvis down. We have to go back to Mother’s Day, when he Tweeted about his then-girlfriend now-wife and future-mother of his child. He used one emoji — a baby.
Through seven weeks, the Elvis Andrus Emoji Count is at 27, averaging 3.8 emojis per sampled Tweet.
Words of Wisdom from Jose Canseco
Every week, we’ll close out The Bullpen by taking time to enjoy the thoughts of former Ranger Jose Canseco, because we have so much he can teach us.
“Sometimes I get strange flashes of the future and it always comes true” — Jose Canseco, via Twitter
See you next week in The Bullpen!
Greg is back from his self imposed Internet hiatus so be sure to pester him on Twitter @Tepper and welcome him back.