21 days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training for the Texas Rangers.
Is Ruben Sierra a success story? He came to the majors in 1986, and seemingly had superstar written all over him. He had a 5.9 bWAR season as a 23 year old and a 5.0 bWAR season as a 25 year old...and then after that, did basically nothing. Well, he ended up hanging around in the majors until he was 40, but he was basically a replacement level player from that point on. When the Rangers sent Sierra to Oakland, along with Bobby Witt and Jeff Russell, in the deal that brought Jose Canseco to Texas on August 31, 1992, Sierra had accumulated 20.4 bWAR in his major league career. After 1992, he accumulated -3.8 bWAR in 1126 games, from 1993-2006. There's a huge spread between what we thought Ruben could do -- should do -- and what he did for most of his career.
I wonder if the #21 is cursed for the Rangers. Mike Hargrove wore that number for five years, and Sierra had it while he was with Texas.
But before Hargrove, Lenny Randle wore #21 for Texas. He's the guy who got suspended for beating up his manager while with Texas. After Hargrove, there was Dan Duran, Doug Flynn, Odell Jones, Duane Walker...a group of forgettables. Then Eddie Correa wore it, posted a 7.59 ERA, and never pitched in the majors again, a potential ace who was undone by shoulder injuries at the age of...21.
Running through the list...more guys just passing through: John Dettmer, Jack Voigt, Candy Maldonado, Warren Newson. Then there was Ruben Mateo, another guy with sky-high potential, whose career ended up being a massive disappointment.
Then Craig Monroe, Reynaldo Garcia, Calvin Murray, Todd Hollandsworth, Jason Jones, Steve Karsay, Adam Eaton, Sammy Sosa (the old, post-Cubs version). Guys who were busts, were just passing through, or were both.
Milton Bradley wore #21 in 2008, and was good...but then Jarrod Saltalamacchia took the number over, and disappointed, to the point he ended up being traded. After Salty, the list of mediocrities just passing through picks up again...Jeff Francoeur, Brett Tomko, Brandon Snyder, Chris McGuiness, Carlos Pena.
Kyuji Fujikawa is listed as having #21 for the 2015 Rangers. Hopefully, he can break this curse.