The Rangers have now played 31 games, close to 1/5th of the schedule. While it is still early and small sample size caveats still apply, I thought it would be worthwhile to look at where the Rangers rank, relative to the rest of the A.L., in OPS by position.
First Base -- 828 OPS, 5th in the A.L. (788 average)
Well, well, what have we here? Mitch Moreland got off to an awful start that had many (including me) talking about potential first base trade targets while demanding Moreland be platooned. He's heated up as of late, however, and is now rocking a .282/.336/.466 line as a first baseman. Jeff Baker, meanwhile, has contributed mightily in his 6 ABs from the first base position, putting up a .333/.429/.833 line to help raise the overall level to 828. I don't expect Moreland to keep hitting like this, but if he does, the Rangers don't need to be shopping for a rental first baseman in July.
Second Base -- 948 OPS, 2nd in the A.L. (701 average)
Ian Kinsler is tearing it up thusfar, with a .333/.401/.545 line that has the Rangers trailing just the Yankees in second base production in the A.L. And the margin between Cano and Kinsler compared to the rest of the A.L. is huge...Tampa Bay is getting an 815 OPS from their second basemen, and no one else in the A.L. is above 800 at the position.
Third Base -- 790 OPS, 7th in the A.L. (747 average)
I was surprised to see this, given the attention Adrian Beltre's early struggles have gotten, but Beltre is hitting .259/.312/.466 as a third baseman, while Jeff Baker has two hits and a walk in five plate appearances as a third baseman, so Texas is at least in the middle of the pack right now.
Shortstop -- 590 OPS, 11th in the A.L. (661 average)
Well, this is ugly. Elvis Andrus hasn't hit this season, and he has 123 of the 130 ABs for the Rangers at the shortstop position (Leury Garcia has the other 7), so the Rangers, not surprisingly, are near the bottom in SS OPS. Oakland shortstops are sporting an 899 OPS -- no one else is above 762 -- while the M's shortstops are posting a .129/.212/.129 line on the year. Yes, the M's have yet to get an XBH from a shortstop in 2013.
Left Field -- 641 OPS, 12th in the A.L. (714 average)
Another ugly one. David Murphy's struggles at the plate this season have been well documented, and he's picked up 96 of the 116 ABs Ranger left fielders have recorded, with a .177/.233/.292 line. What saves Texas from being last, behind the 593 OPS that Toronto and Oakland LFers have put up, is once again Jeff Baker, who has a 1245 OPS as a left field in 17 at bats.
Center Field -- 738 OPS, 8th in the A.L. (760 average)
I'm a little surprised that the Rangers' OPS here is so high, given the early season struggles of Leonys Martin and Craig Gentry, who have picked up every one of the 98 ABs from the position. The performance is a little below average, but given the defense you get from Leonys and Gentry, a little below average offense still likely makes you
below around average overall at the position.
Right Field -- 900 OPS, 1st in the A.L. (743 average)
This really surprised me. I knew that Nelson Cruz was off to a hot start, but I didn't expect the Rangers to be #1 overall in right field OPS. And they are #1 by a fair margin, with Detroit (864) and Cleveland (845) the next two teams, and only the ChiSox and Seattle also being over 800. Cruz has all but one of the Rangers' ABs in right field, and has an 897 OPS in right. Jeff Baker has the other PAs, and has a 667 OPS. The team's OPS in right field is higher than Cruz's or Baker's individually. 10 internet points for whoever knows how that is possible.
Designated Hitter -- 817 OPS, 6th in the A.L. (765 average)
I thought Texas would be higher, but Boston and Cleveland are both getting insane production from their DHs, and Oakland, the Yankees and Seattle are ahead of Texas as well. Lance Berkman's 891 OPS in 89 at bats at DH would put the Rangers third in the A.L., but the rest of the DHs have just 1 hit and 1 walk in 13 plate appearances.
Catcher -- 670 OPS, 10th in the A.L. (730 average)
Yes, catchers are hitting better than left fielders this season, which I suspect will not be the case by season's end. The boost is mostly due to Carlos Santana, who has the Indians' catcher OPS at 1031 -- 203 points higher than the Astros, who are #2 in the A.L. As for the Rangers, A.J. Piezynski has cooled off and his OPS is now just 708, while Geovany Soto is even worse, at 507.