The MLB All-Star break is right around the corner, and while most of us are celebrating Shin-Soo Choo as the lone representative All-Star from the Texas Rangers, others would rather assess the first half of the season.
We are going to take this time to go into some first-half player power rankings by seeding the top 10 most notable and valuable Rangers. Today, we will exclude pitchers in this list just to save that piece for another day. These rankings will be based on each player’s individual value to the team and their statistical contributions for the first half of the 2018 season.
Let’s go ahead and dive right in, because who doesn’t love a good list of power rankings?
- Robinson Chirinos: .203 BA, .312 OBP, 43 H, 36 RBI, 26 R in 212 AB.
At number 10, comes an important role player to this squad: catcher, Robinson Chirinos. Sure, he hasn’t quite performed what we had all hoped for with his bat, but he has been reliable and consistent defensively. His ability to frame pitches from our shrew of inconsistency in pitching has been phenomenal and he’s a veteran leader in our clubhouse so it is nice to have that in a catcher. That is why he cracks my top 10. He’s a veteran teammate and by the way, don’t run him over at the plate, he will get right back up and in your face, Matt Kemp.
- Ronald Guzman: .255 BA, .329 OBP, 52 H, 33 RBI, 23 R in 204 AB.
This guy has surprised many with his play up to date. The moment Guzman was called up from the minors, he took full advantage of the opportunity and ran with it. He looks comfortable, which is rare for a rookie, and he has been dominant at first base with his lethal stretches and digs in the dirt.
Apart from his defense, his time at the plate has been above reproach as he is extremely disciplined for a guy his age. His composure at the plate actually reminds me of Nomar Mazara. Guz knows when to take a walk and he knows when to come in the clutch late in games as we have seen him seal a game with his bat three times – more than any other Ranger this year.
- Isiah Kiner-Falefa: .254 BA, .325 OBP, 57 H, 24 RBI, 32 R in 224 AB.
Much like Guz, Kiner-Falefa has impressed many with his maturity and composure from his switch to the majors this year. Plaguing injuries at the beginning of the year gave IKF a lot of opportunities, and to say the least, he has given manager Jeff Banister some tough decisions to make in the infield as the starters have gotten healthy again. IKF has been a spark for the squad this year, and much like Delino DeShields, will put the ball in play and punish you on the bases. He’s top five on the team in hits and is third in stolen bases.
Beyond the statistics, IKF is a true utility player as he can and has played every infield position at least once for this team including catcher which brings a whole other aspect of value. Banister may not know what to do with IKF for the future because of the crowded infield situation but at least he is here to stay for the meantime, and that is a good problem to have.
- Joey Gallo: .188 BA, .294 OBP, 56 H, 48 RBI, 46 R in 298 AB.
Mr. Moonshot is what I like to call this man. Not only is he leading the team in homers with 21, but this guy is a team player. Gallo is ready and willing to play wherever the team needs. While starting out the season playing first, he found some consistency with his bat, but as we all saw, that didn’t last very long. Injuries and the rise of the rookie, Ronald Guzman at first base, has Gallo “bouncing around” positionally just as he was last year.
Sure, Gallo strikes out a lot given that he is top five in that category throughout the league, however, his home runs and runs batted in totals outweigh the strikeout numbers, which is why he remains in the lineup nearly every day. Also, why he is ranked where he is on this list.
- Elvis Andrus: .256 BA, .324 OBP, 32 H, 9 RBI, 14 R in 125 AB.
Our shortstop, and arguably the team’s fan favorite, falls to sixth on my player power rankings. Obviously due to the elbow injury, he is this low on this list. However, unlike Odor and his injury, Andrus still makes the cut due to his value for this team. The moment he came back was when the Rangers went on their longest win streak of the season at seven games back in June. He simply makes everyone else’s job easier on both offense and defense.
This is Andrus’ first time in a long time that he had to sit out for a period of time due to injury, and because of that, we have seen his statistics dwindle a bit. Much like a Chirinos, Andrus is another veteran that knows how and when to bounce back – yet another teammate who typically has a better second-half to a season.
- Jurickson Profar: .247 BA, .326 OBP, 73 H, 46 RBI, 49 R in 296 AB.
What? Are you telling me Profar is the answer to the infield clutter with this seeding? No, well maybe, but not intentionally. He is seeded higher than any infielder (apart from Adrian Beltre) on this list, but again, I’m just grading their performance and value based on this first-half season. Profar has surely made a statement within that infield whether he remains at second, short or third in the future.
Back when the Rangers were plagued with injuries, Profar was an everyday player. Once he had that consistency, he caught fire with his bat and remained that way literally until Odor and Andrus returned to the lineups, and now he’s back to his average self. For a while back in May, Profar was near the top of the league in hits and doubles. He sits right behind Choo for the team lead in runs scored.
- Delino DeShields: .222 BA, .319 OBP, 55 H, 18 RBI, 42 R in 248 AB.
This ranking may be surprising to many, but his performance this season has been beyond surprising so this supplements it. DeShields’ defensive wins above replacement, (WAR) is No. two in the majors right now at 1.8 only behind Matt Chapman of the Oakland Athletics. That speaks volumes about his play in the outfield and we all can testify to that. Everytime he gets up and snags a home run, I get just as hyped as he does. However, that statistic also goes to say how deep we are in the outfield position – not very deep at all with guys like Carlos Tocci and Ryan Rua.
Aside from his defense in center, DeShields is eighth in the majors in steals which leads the team and is top five in runs scored on the team. The guy knows how to get on base and knows how to score when put on. Up to date this year, DeShields is my most improved player overall from last season.
- Adrian Beltre: .295 BA, .358 OBP, 62 H, 26 RBI, 20 R in 210 AB.
Another fan favorite and certainly valuable player to this team. Arguably one of the greatest third baseman of all time – Adrian Beltre. Our main man is really good and seems to always be that way even when nursing a couple of terrible, hindering hamstrings. Since being back from the DL, he continues to lead his team to a better win percentage and a contagiously healthy locker room.
Sure, he may be gone at the trade deadline, but the Ranger’s organization is going to take full advantage of his skill and expertise in the meantime. Regardless of if he gets traded or not, he wants to play here in 2019, so why not send him off for a couple of months to try and win elsewhere? Might as well get something in return for our future, right?
- Nomar Mazara: .269 BA, .332 OBP, 90 H, 56 RBI, 45 R in 334 AB.
Mazara could very well be the face of the future for the Rangers, as our very own, Kyle Youmans wrote about a couple months back. He has made this evident more than ever this season as he has seen to be more comfortable and mature consistently both at the plate and in right field.
“I think Nomar has all of the qualities to be as great of a player as he wants to be,” manager Jeff Banister said about him back before the season started. “As soon as he learns the league and settles in more to his approach and who he is, he will be a special player in this league.” He certainly has been settling in more to his approach this season.
- Shin-Soo Choo: .293 BA, .399 OBP, 98 H, 42 RBI, 52 R in 330 AB.
I’m on the “Choo-Choo” train as you all should be too. Shin-Soo Choo has now beaten Julio Franco’s record for the longest on-base streak in Texas Rangers history. This guy not only possesses the league lead for consecutive games on-base, (now at 47) but he also is officially our lone representative in this year’s All-Star game. In fact, he’s the first ever Korean-born position player to be named to the event.
This season, Choo is at the top of the league with guys like Jose Altuve and Mike Trout for reaching on base. Apart from getting on base, he also is top 10 in the league in runs created while leading the team in run totals. With all of that to say, Choo is indeed my MVP for the Texas Rangers halfway through the season.
Some may argue, “Why isn’t Odor on this list – he should be!” or “Andrus is seeded too high for being out so many games!” These are all valid points to this list. When it comes to value to the team, specific players like Andrus or Beltre will always be high on my list. Not only do they make everyone else around them better, but the culture becomes fun and exciting which carries on to the win column. Odor has been hot as of late with an excellent month of June, however, consistency is another factor to these guys on this list. If he can stay consistent, he will definitely make this list when we do it again in October.
Let me know personally what you think about this player power rankings. Find me on Twitter @Darienclark5 and message me your thoughts or concerns. Am I missing someone completely? Should one of these teammates be higher/lower?
The first half of the season has been a rough ride to say the least, but this Ranger’s team won’t give up. The future is bright for this ball club.
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