Welcome to a new weekly series, as we’ll take a look at a few Rangers who are on heaters and more who are ice cold in something we’ll call “Who’s Hot? Who’s Not?”
So, today’s afternoon tilt in Oakland will mark two things: The first start of the season for everyone’s favorite bull rider and the official start to the second week of the 162-game season. So far, not so good for the Rangers, who have won twice. The pitching was a huge question mark coming into the year, but we all thought the Rangers would score runs. So far, that hasn’t really happened. Good thing we’re seven games into the 162-game schedule.
So, without further delay, let’s look at “Who’s Hot? Who’s Not?” through the season’s first week.
Elvis Andrus — Man, what can you say about this guy? We all thought he was done a few years ago and we all prayed SOMEONE would take on his albatross of a contract and give the Rangers SOMETHING in return. Now, that contract is arguably one of the best values in baseball for a shortstop, and Andrus has picked up where he left off after a banner offensive year in 2017. Through the first week of the year, he’s hitting at a .346/.414/.538 slash to go with two doubles and a bomb. He has three walks and zero strikeouts — an “are you kidding me?” stat for this particular lineup. To put it simply, he’s been strong to quite strong.
Nomar Mazara — The youngster has taken kindly to being dropped in the lineup a bit from his usual spot last season, and he’s off to a hot start. Keep in mind, he also got off to a roaring start a year ago before falling off drastically, but let’s enjoy it while it’s going. He’s hitting .333/.407/.500 with a double and a homer, and he leads the team with five runs scored. Also, he pulled a sweet fake-out on Wednesday when he purposely misplayed* a ball to bait Marcus Semien into going for third, only to throw him out.
*I mean, right?
Bartolo Colon — Look, I’ll be honest. There are several pitchers who could’ve fit in here (Jose Leclerc, Keone Kela, to name a couple) but how can you not give the nod here to Big Sexy? There’s a greater-than-zero chance the man isn’t a Ranger anymore after today when Martin Perez comes off the disabled list, which is a heartbreaking thought, but in his one start with Texas, he went six innings, allowed one run and fanned four in a tough-luck loss. Thanks, Bart.
Adrian Beltre — It hurts my sports heart to write this, but Beltre has been bad, so far. We can go back and preface that by saying, “a notoriously slow starter, Beltre has been bad.” Yeah, that’s better. The future Hall of Famer and sports love of my life, as well as birthday twin (Happy birthday to me and “the better AB” on Saturday), is hitting just .192/.222/.269. So yeah, that’s pretty awful. But again, it’s nothing out of the ordinary for Beltre. Hold tight.
Jake Diekman — It might take a trip to the minors for Diekman to be fully ready after a pretty substantial weight gain. He hasn’t gone all Bart on us, but he did re-gain a good amount of healthy weight as a result of being healthy now following his colon surgery last year, and he’s trying to learn how to pitch again with some more meat on his bones. He’s worked just 2⁄3 of an inning in two games so far, and he’s allowed a hit and three walks. He’ll get right, but it might take him a little bit.