Texas Rangers preview

Good news: This preview is going to follow a similar theme as the last one – the Yankees are playing a bad team and should win 3 of the 4 games this weekend (although Texas isn’t quite as quadruple A as the White Sox are.)  Better news:  That theme is going to be repeated often through the rest of August, as most of the Yankees remaining summer schedule is against bad teams or teams that have thrown in the towel.

But don’t get too giddy about it: Beginning September 3rd, 12 of their last 24 games are against Oakland, Seattle and Boston.

Enough of cart before horse.  Let’s go over what interesting matters Texas brings to us.

The only things that stick out about the Rangers offensively are they are 2nd best in the AL in BB%, 2nd worst in K% and 2nd best in base running (according to Fangraphs BsR).  So expect long at bats and expect them to take extra bases when they can.

Looking at matchups specifically against the Yankees however, here’s what I found interesting and what might be worth noting as the series goes on:

Texas’ pitching is the 3rd worst in the AL in wFB (runs above or below league average on fastballs thrown).  The Yankees are by FAR, the best fastball hitting team in the AL.  If Texas throws number ones near the center of the zone, it’s going to be a long weekend for them and a fun one to watch for us.

Here’s something else you may not know about the Rangers:  They have one of the more underrated players in baseball – Shin-Soo Choo.

Not sure if you saw my last blog about Jayson Werth (…?)  Choo, like Werth has analytics to thank for the $130 million contract he signed prior to the 2014 season.  After coming off a 21 HR, 54 RBI season in 2013 the Rangers set Choo up for life financially due to his value that isn’t shown by traditional stats.  Here’s hoping he doesn’t get angry one day and rail against nerds without noticing the irony, like Werth.

For over a decade, Choo has been a plus base runner and an on base machine with power.  In fact, among MLB outfielders since 2008, Choo is…

  • 3rd in OBP (about to be 2nd, he’ll pass Bryce Harper any day the way they’re both playing)
  • 8th in runs
  • 9th in OPS+ (ahead of Cespedes)
  • 10th in wRC+ (ahead of Josh Hamilton)
  • 11th in WAR

And here’s a trivia question for you:  Who has the highest career OPS+ among Choo, Ryan Howard and Joe Mauer?

Answer: They all have career 125 OPS+.

So when Simpleton Summer Camp (the YES network) notes Choo’s unimpressive .270 batting average and 54 RBI tonight, know he is a MUCH better player than that.  Whether or not they note that is a different discussion.  (Paging David Cone…)

Glad to see Mike Minor is having a pretty good season.  Good to see a guy who missed two entire seasons due to a torn labrum make a great comeback.  He quietly had a very good season for the Royals in 2017 and is doing pretty well for the Rangers this season.

Among AL starters with a minimum of 117 innings pitched, his ERA+ is the same as Yankees’ J.A. Happ, and his BB% is better than that of Porcello, Severino, Sale and Paxton.

The Yankees will see Minor Friday night when he squares off with Masahiro Tanaka.

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