And by Rangers, I mean the Texas offense, which has the potential to be absurd this year. Let’s take a look at the Ranger’s possible starting nine, (last years numbers are provided).
SS: Elvis Andrus (.265 AVG, 0 HR, 35 RBI, .342 OBP, .301 SLG, 32 SB)
2B: Ian Kinsler (.286, 9, 45, .382, .412)
1B: Jorge Cantu: (.256, 11, 56, .304, .392)
3B: Adrian Beltre (.321, 28, 102, .365, .553)
C: Bengie Molina (.249, 5, 36, .297, .326)
OF: Josh Hamilton (.359, 32, 100, .411, .633)
OF: Nelson Cruz (.318, 22, 78, .374, .567)
OF: David Murphy (.291, 12, 65, .358, .449)
DH: Michael Young (.284, 21, 91, .330, .440)
Other than Molina, those numbers are insane. Plus, Beltre’s numbers were from when he was playing for the Red Sox last year. What the Rangers lost with Cliff Lee in terms of pitching, they made up for in offense with Beltre. It should be noted that the Rangers put up those numbers without him in the lineup. If Beltre produces like he did last year, the Rangers are going to be an offensive force and with the sixth-highest park factor in the majors, the offensive numbers should continue.
While there are some obvious players to draft on this team (Hamilton, Beltre, Cruz) the lesser players like Young and Murphy should also put up better numbers with all the star power around them. Pitchers will be worn out after facing the Rangers 1-5, allowing ample opportunity for the bottom of the order to produce some big numbers.
Especially in deeper leagues, look for the likes of Young in the middle rounds (who will have added value because he will be eligible at multiple positions and will also be forgotten about because of Beltre) and Murphy in the later rounds. Another player to watch this year will be Taylor Teagarden. Due to Molina’s age (36) and lack of offensive production (see above) Teagarden might get a legitament shot this year, and could succeed without so much pressure. (The same goes for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but that is for another post).