We’ve hit November. The offseason for all thirty teams begins, individual players declared free agency, and the journey to the next World Series Champion begins. However, before we start the road to 2020, let’s take one closer look before the book closes on 2019 (theoretically). I am presenting the player awards for the 2019 Texas Rangers, where hitters, starters, relievers, and rookies get some love.
2019 Texas Rangers Player Awards
Offensive Player of the Year
Winner: Willie Calhoun
2. Hunter Pence
3. Joey Gallo
From the start of the year, and I mean in January, Willie’s goal was to be an everyday player and prove the naysayers that he could be successful in the big leagues on each day lineup. With countless pushbacks, including a demotion in July, Calhoun’s determination put out an excellent product on the field. I mean, the team won six of the first seven games Willie played in 2019, including scoring 6.8 runs per game in those six games.
Now some may ask why not Hunter Pence, Danny Santana or Joey Gallo? Well first, Willie’s offensive output is similar to Pence and Santana, and Gallo’s production limited to seventy games. Second, Willie tore up AAA after Spring Training and even after he got sent down in July. The adjustment made from AAA pitching to big league pitching (and there is a gap) makes the offensive output even more impressive. Chris Woodward talked about Willie always wanting to learn to become a better all-around player, and the response has and will pay dividends.
Starting Pitcher of the Year
Winner: Mike Minor (MVP)
2. Lance Lynn
3. Kolby Allard
Yes, Minor is my pick for Rangers MVP. If you subtract a rocky July, Minor had an ERA of 3.23 (even with a not that great September too). When the Rangers were exhausting their bullpen and needed a stone-hard starter to eat innings, Minor was there to take the hit and provide quality innings. The best instance that comes to mind was his start on June 20 against the Indians. The Rangers bullpen got used a lot and begged for an innings-eater to rest the bullpen. What was Minor’s response? How about eight innings of one-run baseball against a good Cleveland offense on a hot Thursday afternoon.
Minor celebrated his first All-Star game in Cleveland in 2019 (though he did not pitch). He also finished fifth in the AL this past season in overall player WAR (wins above replacement) at 7.6, second in pitcher WAR, and sixth in the AL in ERA. The bottom line, it was an incredible year for Mike Minor and deserving of an MVP type award. For those that oppose, I’ll just revert to a Mike Minor response, “ask me if I care, Pete”.
Reliever of the Year
Winner: Jesse Chavez
2. Rafael Montero
3. Chris Martin
It’s maybe a bit unfair to give Chavez the reliever of the year when he spent a portion of time as a starter. However, if you have eighteen straight scoreless outings (22.2 innings) all as a reliever, it’s impressive regardless of which type of pitcher you are. The stretch became more impressive considering Chavez allowed fourteen runs in fourteen and a third innings in March and April. Unfortunately, his season got cut short in August due to an injury to his right elbow, causing for surgery in September. If you subtract the first month of the year, Jesse Chavez had a 2.17 ERA in 33.2 as a reliever. Regardless if it’s his twelfth big league season or not, the dominance is mighty impressive. Oh and don’t forget, he’s the only Rangers pitcher with a hit in 2019 and the only Rangers player that hit .500 (1 for 2).
— FOX Sports Southwest (@FOXSportsSW) June 15, 2019
Rookie of the Year
Winner: Nick Solak
2. Emmanuel Clase
3. Jose Trevino
It’s funny how that at the start of 2019, Nick Solak was in Durham playing for the Durham Bulls in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. It’s even weirder seeing Solak play in thirty-three games with the Texas Rangers and becoming a fan favorite, with good reason. The Rangers have a lot of up and coming rookies, but Solak injected himself into the lineup right away, reaching base in his first eleven games of his big league career. You’d think after that stretch; he’d cool off. Well, not exactly. Nick Solak slugged .500 in September and drove in thirteen runs with four home runs. Solak’s power was on full display, and the Rangers have some thinking to do this offseason with their infield thanks to the production of Nick Solak.
July 13, 2019: The Rangers trade Pete Fairbanks for Nick Solak.
— SportsDay Rangers (@dmn_rangers) September 13, 2019
The awards are just getting started; I’ve got the best Rangers plays and season awards coming up. There’s no doubt that the team heads into the right direction, and 2020 could end up being what 2019 didn’t have, a happily-ever-after fairy tale ending.
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