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Fangraphs on Santana, Clase and Choo

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This week Fangraphs has had three different articles highlighting positive developments for Rangers players

MLB: JUL 30 Mariners at Rangers Photo by Steve Nurenberg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Texas Rangers players Shin-Soo Choo, Danny Santana and Emmanuel Clase are each the subject of different Fangraphs articles that have gone up in the past few days.

On Choo, Tony Wolfe wrote about him “turning back the clock” with his performance in 2019, putting up quality offensive numbers while being among the leaders in hard-hit rate this year. Choo’s arc in Texas has been weird...the thought was that he would be really good early in his contract and fall apart late, though I think the Rangers believed Choo was a player who, like Adrian Beltre, would age gracefully and provide value into his late 30s with his bat and his clubhouse presence.

As it turned out, the early years of Choo’s deal were disappointing, but he has aged fairly well, and the back end of his contract doesn’t look nearly as bad as was feared. We think about the Choo deal stretching on into perpetuity, but he’s just here for one more year — 2020, at $21 million. And while we’ve clamored for the Rangers to pay down his deal in order to move him, at this point, the Rangers likely are better off just hanging onto him rather than paying a big chunk of his salary to send him elsewhere.

Jay Jaffe wrote about Danny Santana on Wednesday, looking at his excellent 2019 campaign, which, along with his quality 2014 season, bookends a bad four year run from 2014-18. I have been a vocal Santana skeptic much of this season, and am still hesitant about assuming he’s going to be a quality regular going forward, but I am coming around to the view that he’s not just a flash-in-the-pan. Jaffe looks at some video on his swing change as well as the numbers, and it probably won’t surprise anyone to learn that Santana’s increased success is coming at the same time he is hitting the ball in the air a lot more.

Finally, today, Ben Clemens has a paean to Emmanuel Clase — and specifically, to Clase’s fastball, which Clemens notes is probably more correctly classified as a cutter, given its glove-side run and relative lack of vertical movement. There’s all sorts of charts and videos that show how unique Clase is that you should check out.