Well, as I've said before, being a Ranger fan is like being married to a drunken abusive spouse. Every year you think it will be different, and every year they break your heart. As you will recall, we posted our community projections for the everyday players before the season started, and Adam asked me to compare the projections to reality. I also included the ZiPS projections, too, so we could see what some of the other expectations were.
Blalock was finally having the season a lot of people thought he could have, posting a .901 OPS in an injury shortened season. Small sample aside, he performed reasonably well against left handers, posting a .370 OBP in 47 AB's (vs. a .281 OBP against lefties last year). Our projection was a little rosier than ZiPS, but he outperformed both. Maybe the solution to Blalock's dismal second halves is to perform major surgery on him shortly after the all-star break every season. Anyway, here's hoping that the rib they removed wasn't his "slugging" rib.
Ours: .301/.369/.442, 435 PA's
Reality: .260/.337/.444, 377 PA's
Well, maybe giving Frankie the Cat the Billy Martin treatment wasn't the best idea, but he's back and I have fond memories of the time that he first played for the Rangers, when Adam I lived together and got into semi-frequent fistfights. The Cat had a miserable start to the season, posting a .230 BA and Sosa-esque .309 OBP in the first half, though the .228 first half BAbip would seem to indicate that wretched luck had something to do with it. The rough times at the plate, coupled with his grandmotherly arm in left field, had a lot of us sodomizing Cat in effigy when draft time rolled around (well, maybe that was just me). However, he finished the season strong with an .840 second half OPS, good for a 117 OPS+. I look forward to him playing first base next season, when most of the action his throwing arm will get is when he hands the ball to the first base coach to throw back to the pitcher.
Ours: .267/.329/.463, 443 PA's
Reality: .235/.287/.384, 377 PA's
You know, if you're a toolsy corner outfielder and you're outslugged by Michael Young, you should go sit in the corner wearing a funny hat. But, hey, I hear he smacks the shit out of the ball in batting practice! You know how Cahill feels about the Texas Rangers (and puppies, rainbows, kittens, etc.) or Sharky feels about Adam? That's how I feel about Nelson Cruz. I think it's about time we get him and his bat cancer out of the organization before it becomes contagious. Our projection was remarkably close to ZiPS, meaning both were equally distant from cold, hard reality.
I don't have a lot to say about Ian Kinsler. He's funny looking, and I listened to a conversation between him and John Danks at the Newberg book release event where Danks was asking Kinsler why he hadn't called him, and Kinsler said he'd tried to call him but his number must have changed, and Danks said he'd had the same number since high school so that was a bunch of crap. So the next time I see Hindman say that Grady Fuson referred to a good pitch to hit as a "cookie" in his presence, I'm going to say that I saw Ian Kinsler give John Danks a "I had to wash my hair" excuse. Also, Kinsler only hit .239 vs. righthanders, which I thought was interesting.
Ours: .276/.334/.440, 482 PA's
Brad Ausmus? .235/.318/.324. Congratulations, Gerald Laird, you were outhit by Brad Ausmus. And you barely had a better OPS than Adam Everett. Obviously, like Nelson Cruz, the community saw good things for Laird and he kicked us in the balls. The only good thing to say about Gerry's season is that it was comparable to Rod Barajas' production in Philly, but we didn't have to pay $2.5 million for it. Interestingly, Laird had one of the smallest standard deviations in the projection list, meaning there was relatively little spread in what we thought he would do.
Ours: .287/.357/.401, 433 PA's
Reality: .296/.367/.414, 559 PA's
Kenny Lofton had a nice run in Texas, posting a .303/.380/.438 line prior to being traded to Cleveland. He didn't do quite as well once he got to Cleveland, which is satisfying in a way, for the same reason that when you give someone a lottery ticket as a gift you don't really want it to be a winner. Still, he did well in the ALDS against the Yankees. Probably ten years ago, Adam and I went to a game at The Ballpark against the Indians. There was this obnoxious woman sitting in front of us who just would not shut up. Anyway, Sean Rooks showed up in the middle innings and was in our section, apparently because he used to play with Kenny Lofton. Since people were asking him for his autograph, the aforementioned obnoxious woman went and got one, too. When she got back to her seat, she asked her companion whose autograph it was, and he told her, and she said, "oh, darn, I thought it was Wesley Snipes." Here's a picture of Wesley Snipes. Here's one of Sean Rooks. Fucking idiots.
Ours: .246/.310/.452, 332 PA's
Reality: .252/.271/.468, 454 PA's
Well, what we can see from the above is that no one really expected much from Sammy, and Sammy obliged by not providing much except folksy Dominican charm, billybobisdrunk, XXMuscleFag, and entertainment for those who derive some sort of enjoyment from Adam blowing his gaskets. Moving on...
Remember the first couple of months of the season, when someone slipped our offense some Roofies and then made sweet, sweet rape to it? Well, Teixeira wasn't exactly a shining diamond stuck in a pile of Jagermeister vomit and hooker poop, putting up a .686 OPS in April and March while the team did to our playoff hopes what Joran Van der Sloot did to Natalee Holloway. Allegedly. Or something. Still, Tex did everything that could be expected of a superlative player on a non-contending team in rebuilding mode, which is publicly gripe about management and then bring a great return at the trade deadline. He posted > 1.000 OPS for the Braves, fat lot of good it did them. Incidentally, the reason Jagermeister makes an appearance in Teixeira's blurb is because someone who shall remain nameless once told me that he looks like a frat guy who would threaten to beat you up when his drunk girlfriend showed you her boobs.
Ours: .250/.343/.431, 418 PA's
Reality: .234/.319/.467, 389
You know how it feels when you've been dating a girl, and you really like her, but she treats you like shit, and you think she's going to change but she keeps sleeping with your boss and giving your herpes and then totaling your car? That's how I feel about Brad Wilkerson. No, that's never happened to me, it was just a hypothetical.
Young, like Tex and, I dunno, everyone else on the roster, was a big part of the Van der Slooting of the offense early in the season, posting a sterling .582 OPS in March and April, and with his power numbers virtually non-existant for much of the season. My theory? I'm no expert on swing mechanics, but I think that when Young was hit in the head by a pitch in spring training, it knocked his hitting ability out of his body which then lodged in Hank Blalock. Young's ability to hit then festered inside Hank Blalock's body, becoming an extra rib which had to be removed. Hopefully, they're both back to normal now.
Ours: 13 wins, 173 IP, 4.57 ERA
ZiPS: 143 IP, 4.19 ERA
Reality: 5 wins, 101.7 IP, 4.87 ERA
Overall, it was a decent season for McCarthy, good for a 93 ERA+ in his first full season as a starter in the majors. One would think that if he's able to stay healthy and actually pitch past the sixth inning, we can expect improvement. It's worth noting that for all the gnashing of teeth over Danks early success, McCarthy finished the season with a .783 OPS against, and Danks .862. For those that wonder about the apparent insanity of having McCarthy pitch with shoulder pain, my inside source with management tells me that a shaman was consulted initially who said the pain was being caused by "shoulder trolls," which resulted in the stress fracture not being discovered until later. However, I understand that with the ARod money coming off the books, the medical staff is being upgraded from "a computer with access to WebMD" to "a not-trained woman who gives injections." You heard it here first!
Ours: 17 wins, 208 IP, 4.18 ERA
ZiPS: 189 IP, 4.19 ERA
Reality: 10 wins, 172.7 IP, 5.16 ERA
Well, our projections and ZiPS seemed to agree, but you know what that is speedbagging on your nuts? That's reality. Thanks, Kevin Millwood. Like everyone else on the team, Millwood had a horrible first half. However, if you throw that out, he posted a 4.29 ERA, which is close to what we predicted! Get in shape, slacker!
Ours: 15 wins, 197 IP, 4.35 ERA
ZiPS: 168 IP, 4.55 ERA
Reality: 6 wins, 120.3 IP, 5.76 ERA
Well, he was injured. And apparently he's crazy. But you know what? He hit 17 batters in 2006 and only 9 in 2007. I call that progress! Hey, I still like the guy. Just like Eckstein gives short people a baseball player to root for, and Matt Kata gives people who don't play baseball very well a player to root for, Padzilla gives the emotionally unstable a player to root for. Go, Padilla! (shut up, voice in my head, or I'll take two pills)
Ours: 10 wins, 151 IP, 4.84 ERA
ZiPS: 114 IP, 5.68 ERA
Reality: 5 wins, 95.3 IP, 6.61 ERA
Well, he pitched a great home opener. Or I think he did, maybe I hallucinated it. There was also a stealth bomber and a bald eagle was flying around, so maybe I was hallucinating. Anyway, I don't know what's wrong with him, but I think he's out of options and has to clear waivers, so maybe he won't be around next season to cocktease us again.