We are 40 games into the 2023 season, and the Texas Rangers hitters are hitting. A lot.
The Rangers are first in the majors in runs per game, at 6.35. They are fourth in the majors in OBP and in slugging. They are second in the majors in wRC+ and OPS+.
Which is kind of remarkable, given that, heading into the season, there was much discussion about the lack of upgrades to an offense that was pretty middling in 2022. The consensus was that the upgrades to the rotation made starting pitching a strength, but there were questions about the offense (and, of course, the bullpen).
How are they doing it? Well, let’s take a look at the Statcast data and examine wOBAs, xwOBAs, and the like for the individual hitters thusfar:
|Smith, Josh H.||350||0.210||0.145||0.297||0.355||0.347||0.350||0.196|
In perusing the data, something that jumps out at me is that there are not a whole bunch of guys outperforming their expected performance (based on batted ball data). Marcus Semien and Leody Taveras are exceeding their xwOBA by a good-sized margin, and Travis Jankowski, not surprisingly, doesn’t have the peripheral data to support his hot start.
On the flip side, Adolis Garcia and Nathaniel Lowe, despite performing well in their actual numbers, are underperforming somewhat, compared to the expected data. So is Brad Miller, whose xwOBA isn’t good, but is still 43 points better than his actual outcomes.
What jumps out at me in particular is that two guys who are off to surprisingly good starts, Jonah Heim and Ezequiel Duran, are not benefiting from particularly good fortune. Heim, with a 905 OPS, and Duran, at 830, would seem to be guys you’d expect to see putting up a big spread between actual and expected wOBA. Instead, both are slightly (very slightly) under their expected results. That’s a positive sign, as far as sustainability of performance goes.