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Series Preview: Texas Rangers @ Oakland Athletics - Draft Memories


The first round of the MLB draft begins in a couple of hours or so. That should keep us nice and distracted with the Rangers playing a late game on the West Coast.

Last year, when the Rangers drafted a Georgia high school pitcher named Kevin Matthews, to a collective Michael Bluth-esque "Who?", I was at the ballpark trying to follow the draft thread on this website via my phone using The Ballpark's notoriously horrible data coverage. I gave up on the thread and just let's draft tracker auto-refresh. Man, I really wanted Tyler Beede or Blake Swihart or maybe by some miracle the Rangers would draft Josh Bell.

Instead, as I watched Colby Lewis give up four Detroit Tiger home runs and allow nine total earned runs in the 2011 version of the Seattle Slaughter, I saw Matthews selected by the Rangers. "Him?" That was followed by the Rangers selecting another Georgia product that no one had really heard of in UGA outfielder Zach Cone. I was just hoping to see one of the guys Adam had profiled in his draft previews. It was then that I decided it was maybe time that I exit the gut-reaction to the Major League Baseball Draft game. Sitting there soured by a miserable Rangers game, I remembered the draft night from the year before.

It's been two years now since that fateful dirkatron meltdown draft. On the evening of the 2010 draft, Adam was at the game. That was also a terrible contest. Ron Washington send out his B unit against Cliff Lee's Seattle Mariners and the Rangers dropped to second place for the last time in the 2010 season. This was a weird, wild time when the Rangers were still in bankruptcy court limbo and Joaquin Arias was playing 1B. The Rangers were broke and Justin Smoak was making Derek Holland seem intelligent in the face. Our frustration over potentially blowing a good thing we had going boiled over that night. The June 7, 2010 PGT/Draft grousing thread became legendary.

Not to toot my own horn or anything--I really wasn't in favor of the Rangers drafting Mike Olt. "A converted shortstop college Jr from the Northeast? Really?", were my thoughts--but this seems funny two years later:

"Remember when we all...

hated Olt, guys? hahaha what a bunch of miserable pricks we were."

by ghostofErikThompson on Jun 7, 2010 10:24 PM CDT

Olt, of course, is now destroying Double-A ball while being regarded as a potential Gold Glove caliber third baseman. As Scott Lucas emailed this morning, "Olt is batting .727/.769/2.364 in June." On the season, Olt is batting .314, has an OPS of 1.031, and leads Double-A with 15 home runs. But, collectively, we weren't very happy when he was drafted. Sandwiched between two more players drafted from Georgia (Jake Skole and Jordan Akins), Olt is as good an example for not knee-jerking on draft night as any. Sometimes, it seems, they know what they're doing. Or at the very least, ceilings can be reached.

So, tonight, when you see whichever player you've never heard of drafted by the Rangers, please yell about it and go insane so that it is amusing in retrospect, but also realize that the they might still be a good baseball player yet. Or maybe they're John Mayberry, Jr. and you were right to go insane all along.

Oh yeah, the Rangers also play the A's a few times over the next several days. I hope the Rangers win.

Monday, June 4 9:05: RHP Jarrod Parker vs. RHP Scott Feldman

Tuesday, June 5 9:05: LHP Travis Blackley vs. LHP Derek Holland

Wednesday, June 6 9:05: RHP Bartolo Colon vs. RHP Colby Lewis

Thursday, June 7 2:35: LHP Brandon McCarthy vs. RHP Yu Darvish

Here's a breakdown of the pitching match-ups against the Oaktown Physically Fit Gentlemen:

  • Scott Feldman: 0-3, 4.13 K/9, 4.50 BB/9, .241 BABIP, 60.4% LOB, 5.24 FIP, 5.39 xFIP, 0.0 WAR - Last three starts: 7 runs allowed in 13.2 innings
  • Jarrod Parker: 1-2, 6.42 K/9, 4.65 BB/9, .270 BABIP, 78.8% LOB, 3.54 FIP, 4.73 xFIP, 0.7 WAR - Last three starts: 7 runs allowed in 15.0 innings

Advantage: Jarrod Parker is a pretty talented pitcher over hey, Roy Oswalt looked pretty good in Round Rock.

  • Derek Holland: 4-4, 8.32 K/9, 3.21 BB/9, .283 BABIP, 60.8% LOB, 4.15 FIP, 4.00 xFIP, 0.9 WAR - Last three appearances: 15 runs allowed in 14.0 innings
  • Travis Blackley: 0-0, 5.06 K/9, 1.69 BB/9, .245 BABIP, 57.1% LOB, 3.28 FIP, 3.98 xFIP, 0.1 WAR - Last three appearances: 1 run allowed in 10.0 innings (Has made one start this season)

Advantage: Look, Derek Holland is better Major League starting pitcher. But 15 runs in 14 innings? Come on, Derek. Also, holy crap, Travis Blackley is still a thing?!

  • Colby Lewis: 4-4, 8.00 K/9, 1.25 BB/9, .279 BABIP, 76.8% LOB, 4.40 FIP, 3.91 xFIP, 0.9 WAR - Last three appearances: 7 runs allowed in 20.0 innings
  • Bartolo Colon: 4-6, 5.30 K/9, 1.45 BB/9, .305 BABIP, 72.9% LOB, 4.11 FIP, 4.26 xFIP, 0.8 WAR - Last three starts: 10 runs allowed in 18.0 innings

Advantage: These two average less walks per nine than C.J. Wilson gives up per inning, probably. Colby Lewis was made to pitch at the Coliseum over holy crap, Bartolo Colon is still a thing.

  • Yu Darvish: 7-3, 9.76 K/9, 5.08 BB/9, .298 BABIP, 77.7% LOB, 3.70 FIP, 3.83 xFIP, 1.4 WAR - Last three appearances: 9 runs allowed in 15.1 innings
  • Brandon McCarthy: 4-3, 5.91 K/9, 2.53 BB/9, .310 BABIP, 79.5% LOB, 3.67 FIP, 4.23 xFIP, 1.1 WAR - Last three starts: 6 runs allowed in 18.1 innings (Only one start since mid-May)

Advantage: This is a pretty good match-up in a pitchers park. Yu's had a better season so far but McCarthy was hurt for a couple of weeks in May. I like Yu Darvish pitching over I like Brandon McCarthy tweeting.


Oakland A's (23-31, 4th Place AL West)

Rangers Record vs. Oakland: 1-1 (All at Ballpark in Arlington)

Oakland's Recent Results: 1-2 series loss against the Kansas City Royals

Oakland's Home Record: 10-15

O.Co Coliseum Park Factors (LHB/RHB): HR: 89/80 - wOBA: 95/94

SB Nation A's Blog: Athletics Nation

Match-up: (as of 06/03) Rangers A's Advantage
Batting (RAR) 49.7 (2nd) -52.2 (29th) Rangers
Base Running (RAR) -0.7 (19th) 3.4 (4th) A's
Starters (RAR) 30.5 26.5 Rangers
Bullpen (RAR) 26.0 (1st) 8.1 (16th) Rangers
Defense (UZR) 21.1 (1st) 1.5 (14th) Rangers
Overall (UZR + RAR) 126.6 -12.7 Rangers

Questions to Answer:

  • What's your favorite Brandon McCarthy memory?
  • Who is your Return of the McLemore Approved Player to Watch in this series? (I can't wait to see Yu Darvish will all that foul ground.)
  • Over/Under: 3.5 errors committed by the Texas Rangers in this series?
  • Who allows more walks in their start in this series: Colby Lewis or Bartolo Colon?
  • How mad are you going to be when the Rangers draft someone you've never heard of from Georgia with the 29th pick?