clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Grading the 2017 Texas Rangers players, Part I

New, comments

Taking a look at the performances of the 2017 Texas Rangers players

Texas Rangers v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

This morning, we kick off a series where we issue grades and review the 2017 seasons for each Texas Rangers player. We are going to start with the positional players and go in alphabetical order, then move to the pitchers, doing several players per day.

Elvis Andrus -- A

In a year with a lot of disappointing performances, Elvis Andrus did exactly what the Rangers wanted Elvis Andrus to do. For the second year in a row he posted an 800+ OPS (slashing .297/.337/.471). He was consistent -- he had an 816 OPS in the first half and an 800 OPS in the second half, a 798 OPS v. RHPs and an 845 OPS v. LHPs, an 808 OPS at home and an 809 OPS on the road. He played basically every day — 158 games in 2017. And he put to rest concerns that 1) 2016 was a fluke, and 2) that he wasn’t worth the 8 year, $120 million contract he’s currently on.

In fact, on the heels of putting up career highs in bWAR and fWAR, the concern about Elvis’s contract is no longer that the Rangers are stuck with it, but that they may not be stuck with it long enough. Elvis has opt-outs after 2018 and 2019, and another year in 2018 like the past two would probably result in him being able to get significant more than the 4/$60 remaining on his deal after next year. Elvis has seemingly been around forever, but he just turned 29, and has expressed a desire to be a Ranger for life...and with Adrian Beltre likely riding into the sunset in a year or two, the Rangers are probably motivated to keep Elvis around to assume the mental of veteran team leader with the group of young position players the team has coming up. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were discussion this winter on an extension that eliminates the opt-outs and keeps Elvis in Texas for a while.

Adrian Beltre -- B+

The only reason Beltre gets a B+ rather than an A is because of the time spent on the disabled list. Beltre has battled hamstring issues for years, but it was a calf strain that slowed him in spring training. Despite talk that he might still start the year on the Opening Day roster, the Rangers opted to play it safe with him and have him begin the season on the d.l., with Joey Gallo at third base. When Beltre aggravated the injury the first weekend of the season, his timeline for returning went from “the first date he’s eligible to be back” to “late May.” A hamstring strain at the end of August put him back on the shelf, and while he once again defied the odds by getting back on the field in just 12 days — after it was said he was expected to miss the rest of the season -- he was limited to mostly DH duty, and was shut back down once the team was eliminated.

When Beltre was on the field, he was Adrian Beltre — terrific defender at third base, impact bat in the middle of the order. His 915 OPS (.312/.383/.532) was the fourth highest OPS of his career, though that was in the fewest games he’s played in a season since he was a 19 year old rookie. He also logged his 3000th career hit and his 450th career home run, and, one would think, eliminated any doubt that he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame the first year he is eligible.

Beltre is under contract for 2018, and his presence is no doubt a factor in the organization’s decision to try to win next year. While some have argued Beltre should be dealt now and the team should focus on rebuilding in 2018, I think it is fair to say the organization wants Beltre here as long as Beltre wants to play, and Beltre is going to want to be here as long as he feels like he can win here. Having the young guys who are breaking in see Adrian Beltre in the clubhouse every day, having them see how he goes about his business and prepares, is part of what the team feels will make the Joey Gallos and the Nomar Mazaras and the Willie Calhouns better going forward.

Willie Calhoun — C

The prize of the Yu Darvish trade, Willie Calhoun come over from the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 31 when the Rangers shipped their ace out west. Calhoun spent the rest of the minor league season toiling in Round Rock, and was initially not going to be promoted for September. A Mike Napoli injury opened the door for Calhoun to get playing time, and he was called up, but it was only a few days before Adrian Beltre forced his way back into the lineup, squeezing Calhoun back out of the mix until the final few games of the season.

Calhoun put up a .265/.324/.353 slash line in 37 plate appearances, and looked pretty solid over the final few games. While he was originally a second baseman, he played primarily left field for the Dodgers this year, and the Rangers see him as either a left fielder or a DH going forward. That means he’s going to have to hit a lot to stick in the majors, but there appear to be few doubts about the bat. The consensus is he will hit, with the question being whether he will hit enough to be just okay, or good, or great.