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Joseph's Rangers thoughts: The Astros series (5/21)

Joseph's Rangers thoughts: The Astros series (5/21)

Credit: Getty Images

HOUSTON,TX- MAY 20: Relief pitcher Robbie Ross #46 of the Texas Rangers pitches in the 9th inning against the Houston Astros on May 20, 2012 during interleague play at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. Rangers won 6 to 1.(Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)


WFAA Sports Blogger

Posted on May 21, 2012 at 5:01 PM

Updated Monday, May 21 at 6:39 PM

  • So the Rangers take 2 of 3, on the road, playing games with silly, imaginary rules that make pitchers go to bat. That's not bad. But that one loss? Another one-run loss, and another loss in which they scored five runs. I very, very much dislike losses in either of those categories.

Speaking of pitchers batting, they're normally very, very terrible at it. When 11 percent of your workstaff is forced into doing a job they are horrible at doing, and have no real way of getting to be much better than horrible at, your product is going to suffer, isn't it? This is why the American League is better.

  • Of course, since pitchers are normally bad at hitting, it becomes noteworthey when one goes out and hits at a rate that is better than bad. Colby Lewis did this Sunday, getting two hits that resulted in two RBI. That gave him a .092 WPA as a batter. Since he pitched eight innings and only allowed five baserunners, he had a high WPA from pitching, too - .168 (remember, since total WPA for a winning team adds up to .5, this is very, very high) Added together, this means .260 - or 52 percent - of the team's total .5 were contributed by Colby. Pretty good game, there, and one the team definetely needed, as the non-Yu starting pitching has been in a shared rough patch of late.
  • Other than Colby, the rest of the Rangers pitchers (and pinch hitters that subbed in for pitchers) went 0-for-the-series. A designated hitter would not have done that. DH's also don't invite overmanaging the way pitchers batting does.
  • I guess what I'm saying here is the American League just better win the All-Star Game this year.
  • The series was also incredible for  this happening, but we should be used to Adrian Beltre's entertainingness by now.
  • Prospect starter Cody Buckel was featured as's Prospect of the Day Monday, which is worth a read. Buckel is also very much a prospect worth knowing about - the 19 year old is outclassing Hi-A baseball right now, and should be in AA around the end of this month or beginning of next, a move that will happen while he's still a teenager (turns 20 on June 18). He's a true pitcher, rather than a thrower who hasn't learned to pitch yet, who can have a high mortality rate as prospects in AA. But Buckel should have enough athleticism, intelligence and pitchability to survive up to the Majors.
  • Also notable on the farm this week was High-A Myrtle Beach RHP prospect Nick Tepesch pitching a no-hitter (with the help of reliever Jimmy Reyes). That was the franchises' first nine-inning no hitter in 19 years. Tepesch is a very good prospect himself, and he should see AA at some point this season as well.
  • Mike Napoli seems different this year. Last year, he walked in 13.4 percent of his plate appearances and struck out in 19.7 percent. This year, those numbers are 9.5 percent and 30.6 percent. There are only four qualified batters with a higher rate of strikeouts than Napoli. Whereas Napoli has generally been one of the best 5-10 hitters in baseball over the last five years when facing left-handed pitchers, he's been awful against them this year - .184 AVG, .255 OBP, .265 wOBA, 58 wRC+ (for his career, he's been .284/.388/.496/145 in the same four metrics, in the same order).  It's generally wise not to trust small samples, but especially so when given RH/LH splits - so this is something to set aside for now, but that bears watching as the season develops.

If you view blogging as his job, then tweeting is pretty much 11 percent of Joseph Ursery's job. If you head over to twitter and find @thejoeursery on there, you'll have unfettered access to find out if he's good at it or not.