Moreland cementing his place in Rangers' future
Credit: Getty Images
Mitch Moreland doesn't have the resume or recognition of Josh Hamilton or Nelson Cruz. But he may be slugging in the Rangers' lineup longer than either one. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
WFAA Sports Blogger
Posted on June 3, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Sunday, Jun 3 at 12:01 PM
Is it me or is Mitch Moreland getting kinda good? Yes, I realize he hasn't had a hit in five games. Talking big picture here. I've never been too hot on Mitch. Or cold really. Ambivalent. He did put one in the upper deck in game 5 of the world series, which I loudly shouted my approval of at my TV. We know he can make the ball go away far. We also know he builds a fine sand castle*. But he hasn’t, as yet, shown much more than glimpses of the hitting ability. For now though, it looks he's maybe finally finding his stride at the plate.
Beauty of being Mitch is that it's almost hard for him to suck; the bar is set pretty low. The Rangers don't need Prince Fielder's bat (or want his glove) in a first baseman. They have 5(!) guys who can hit 30 home runs. They need a warm body to hang out in the bottom third of the order. What they have is a guy who's 26 & inexpensive ( $491,00 this year). A left handed hitter in a candy store of a lefty park**, who hits at said park(.318avg/6hr/15rbi).
He can also play right field, which makes him almost as versatile as that first baseman we used to have (whose stats
, particularly run production, are eerily similar to Mitch's
) who saved a game on the mound
for that team managed by that guy who used to manage us
. What is that dude's name? We traded him for that bullpen guy with the 1.37 era who only gives up runs on solo home runs (Japanese Colby Lewis?).
Assuming Mitch plays 134 games like last year (safe bet, he's on pace for 131), he's on headed for 25.5 home runs (16 last year). He's also getting a run (21) and almost an RBI (20) every other game game he appears in. He's also pinch hit 8 times, which actually depresses the per-game averages. All while typically hitting ninth***.
Ninth. That's good. Not freakish Kevin Elster 1996 hitting 9th good (Yeah. Look it up
), but all told, very good. Imagine if he goes all Mike Napoli in the second half of last year. Granted, Nap Nap’s 2nd half last year would look nice on anybody. But you get the idea.
Or he could hit .240 the rest of the way. I don't know. But it looks like Mitch Moreland is starting to show (but don't ask what his due date is) some of the potential that his Rangers bosses see in him. We'll see.
*I made that up.
**looking at his hits chart, he goes opposite field more than I thought. If he became a dead pull hitter, he might develop mid-30's HR power.
***He hits 9th in about half of the Rangers’ games & 62% of the time he’s in the lineup.Consider the Rangers 9th place hitters compared to Boston's (the other AL team scoring big runs). Rangers:.284/7/28 to Boston:.208/3/16. Wow. Mitch Moreland is a big part of that.