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Let’s talk about the Rangers offense

The Texas Rangers offense has been pretty damn good in 2023

Los Angeles Angels v Texas Rangers Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Let’s talk about the 2023 Texas Rangers’ offense.

Its been good!

The end.


No, not really.

I mean, yes, its been good. It has been really good! I think we all know that.

I wanted to take a few minutes to look at how good, though, it has been so far this season.

The 2023 Texas Rangers are currently second in the majors in runs per game.

They are second in OPS. They are second in batting average. They are second in on base percentage. They are second in slugging percentage. They are second in OPS+.

In each of these categories they are trailing the Atlanta Braves, who are currently teabagging the rest of the N.L. East.

More fun stats...the Rangers are second in the majors in doubles, behind only the Boston Red Sox. They are tied for fifth in homers. They are fifth in walks drawn.

Flipping things around, in terms of strikeouts, the Rangers are 16th, with 1019, one more than the league average of 1018. Texas has just 66 GIDPs, tied with Kansas City, and only Pittsburgh has fewer GIDPs on the season. This is mildly surprising, given that the Rangers have so many baserunners, but also would seem to help explain why the Rangers are third in the majors in runners left on base, with 842, 42 more than league average.*

* (The Toronto Blue Jays are leading the league in runners left on base, with 877. They also have the second most GIDPs in the majors, with 100. That would probably help explain why they have a below-average number of runs per game despite being ninth in the majors in OPS.)

Categories where they are trailing? Well, Texas is tied for 25th in HBPs, with just 37. And if it weren’t for Josh Smith, who has 8 HBPs, the Rangers would be tied with the Detroit Tigers for last. Texas is also tied for 26th in stolen bases, although only three teams have fewer caught stealings (caughts stealing? caught stealinges?) than Texas.

So yeah, the Rangers offense has been really good. To help put this into context, prior to this year, only two teams put up an OPS+ of higher than 118 over the course of a full 162 game season* — the 2017 Houston Astros** and the 2019 Houston Astros. If we go back to WWII, we get a few more teams included, legendarily potent offensive clubs — the 1976 Cincinnati Reds, the 1982 Harvey’s Wallbangers Milwaukee Brewers, the 1997 Seattle Mariners.

* I’m not including the 60 game COVID season or strike shortened seasons.

** The Asterisk Astros, who, appropriately enough, get two asterisks here.

So, let’s now look at how they are performing compared to the expected numbers. The Rangers second in the majors in wOBA (which, unlike OPS+ and wRC+, is not park- or league-adjusted). The Rangers are third in the majors in xwOBA, which is what Statcast calculates one would expect one’s wOBA to be based on walks, Ks, and quality of contact on the individual batted balls in play.

To illustrate how the Rangers compare to the rest of the league, let’s look at this handy dandy chart:

Here we have each team’s wOBA on the X axis, and each team’s xwOBA on the Y axis. Each team’s data point is labeled with their xwOBA this year. Way, way up in the right hand corner, by its lonesome, with a .364 xwOBA? That’s the Atlanta Braves. They’ve been the best offensive team in baseball this year.

Then we see three other teams separated from the rest of the pack. Those are the Los Angeles Dodgers (.347 xwOBA), the Texas Rangers (.341 xwOBA), and the St. Louis Cardinals (.340 xwOBA).

The Rangers aren’t just getting lucky with runners in scoring position. They aren’t just having some fluky hits fall in. Both in expected and actual performance, the Texas Rangers have been one of the best offensive teams in baseball this year.

They aren’t the Atlanta Braves, who are on their own planet right now. But they are one of the small handful of teams that are head and shoulders ahead of the rest of MLB this year.