Texas Rangers — Predicted Finish: Third Place, AL West
The Texas Rangers are at a crossroads. They were the class of the American League in 2010 and 2011. While 2012 was a good year in Arlington, they failed to make it past the Wild Card game. Worse for 2013 is that they lost perhaps their most recognizable player, Josh Hamilton, to free agency, to a division rival, no less.
Their starting pitching is inexperienced and average, at best. Their lineup lost Hamilton and two more above-average hitting contributors in Mike Napoli and Michael Young. On the bright side, they are also sitting on two heavily hyped prospects in Mike Olt and Jurickson Profar. But with the addition of free agent Lance Berkman, it appears that the lineup is set to be without those two young bats to start the season.
So where does that put the Rangers? Well as we take a look at their potential opening day lineup, it honestly baffles me that they would slide Berkman in and hold out Olt and Profar. As you can see, we have them placing third in their own division, which they could do with those ywo prospects and gain them valuable at bats. Over the past three plus years, the Rangers have been one of the better lineups to draft onto your fantasy team, however, this year they might not be as safe a bet.
|Mike Olt||3B (1B)||24||R||226||28||11||39||2||.269|
|Jurickson Profar||2B (SS)||20||S||479||54||14||59||18||.265|
Crackerjack Fantasy Options: Andrus, Kinsler, Beltre, Cruz, Murphy
Clearly there is enough with this lineup to keep Washington busy for the next few months. They need to figure out their lineup and they need to do so fast, as the AL West is getting tougher to compete in. Looking at their options, it appears to me that they do not have a clear cut three-hole option. The fact of the matter is Berkman has had two injury ridden seasons in the past three and will be 37 on opening day. By my numbers, he doesn’t stand to exceed 300 at bats. In case you were wondering, Berkman batting third comes from Drew Davison of the Star-Telegram.
|1 Starter||Yu Darvish||26||R||215||88||11||248||0||3.30||1.24|
|2 Starter||Derek Holland||26||L||185||58||10||153||0||4.28||1.29|
|3 Starter||Matt Harrison||27||L||200||59||12||126||0||3.65||1.34|
Crackerjacks Fantasy Options: Everyone listed.
The Rangers pitching staff leaves a lot to be desired, Yu Darvish should be a fine pitcher on any staff, however don’t be deceived by him being a number one starter; he won’t be a fantasy ace. This rotation and bullpen is filled with guys that should be second, third, and fourth tier guys on your team’s staff.
Fantasy Star: Ian Kinsler
Kinsler is just an elite player, at a thin position, and is a lock for a 20/20 season. What I suspect is that perhaps Kinsler can finally make his way to the heart of the order this season. If he does, then he will bring up his RBI total to an absolute star level. Think of 90-20-90-20 season from Kinsler. I can see Clave salivating at the thought. A
lso, I think with Kinsler it is far better to trust his good plate discipline rather than his inconsistent average. If you add a .280 average with that stat line above, that is your number one second baseman. However, there are a lot of moving parts to that outcome.
Fantasy Bust: Lance Berkman
I guess if your expectations for Berkman are like mine above, then he really isn’t a bust candidate. However, I just want to make sure that if I have to eat crow, I REALLY have to eat crow! So I cannot imagine you will get worst stats from any other opening day 3 hitter than you will Berkman.
Fantasy Sleeper: Olt and Profar
Much like Berkman, these guys don’t really fit their given titles here. They are hyped prospects that should live up to their potential if given the at bats. This will most likely happen for them with the injury potential on this Rangers club. I would certainly draft either of those guys and stash them on my bench, Profar preferably then Olt. I think it is always wise to make room on your bench for at least one prospect, especially if they are as highly touted as these kids.
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