April 2009 - Texas Rangers Outlook
Mid-April Report – Texas Rangers by staff of baseballhistorian.com
After a 79-83 record in 2008, many in the media are predicting another below .500 baseball record for Texas in 2009. However, we’ll say this – ‘as of what we saw of the Rangers team by April 22 that they will field a highly competitive team in 2009’. In fact they could very while make the AL playoffs.
Brandon McCarthy broke into professional baseball in the minors for the White Sox in the Arizona League in 2002. He worked his way up with stops in Great Falls of the Pioneer League where he posted a 9-4 record in 2003. Then pitched for 3 teams in ’04 - Kannapolis of South Atlantic League, Winston Salem and then for Birmingham. In 2005 after working 119.1 innings for Charlotte of the International League he joined the majors with the Chicago White Sox late in ’05 and was 3-2 with a 4.03 ERA in 67 innings spanning 12 games.
The long-armed Brandon McCarthy, 6 ft 7 inches, 190 lbs, delivers the baseball with a long-motion, over-head delivery that seems to overwhelm some opposing batsmen. His pitching arsenal includes a fastball, a down-and-over the plate curveball and a changeup. A right-handed pitcher, Brandon McCarthy was rated can’t miss by many scouts as he was working his way up thru the minors. However, injuries, including a stress fracture in his right shoulder blade in 2006, and prior soreness in pitching arm held him back. During his first 2 seasons with the Texas Rangers, Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan has guided Brandon McCarthy for some mechanical adjustments in his delivery. In 2007 McCarthy was 5-10 for the last place Rangers. In ’08 injuries held him to just 20 innings in majors.
Ian Kinsler, if injury-free, could very well be an All-Star second baseman in the near future. He joined pro ball as a shortstop in 2003 with Spokane of the Northwest League and produced some hefty stats in the minors, including a .401 batting average for Clinton of the Midwest League in 2004. Ian Kinsler switched to second base in 2005 while playing with Oklahoma of the P.C. League Triple-A baseball.
For the Texas Rangers as a rookie in the majors in 2006 Ian Kinsler batted .286 with 27 doubles, 14 home runs, and 55 RBIs. Lindy’s Baseball Magazine 2008 Preview say’s this, “Ian Kinsler has an usual swing. Back-foot hitter. Likes the ball belt-high and up and lifts it with power from center field to the left field foul pole. Runs well, steal bases. Below average fielder, had hard hands. Displays good range going to his left.”
As we look back at 2008 and the start of 2009, our manager at baseball historian says this, “Ian Kinsler works hard on his batting, studies pitchers and it shows with his clutch-hitting.
Josh Hamilton, a centerfielder, played in the majors for various teams starting at age 18 from 1999 thru mid-2007 when he debuted with the Cincinnati Reds at age 26. In late 2007 on December 21 the reds traded Josh Hamilton to the Rangers for a pair of pitchers, Danny Herrera and Edinson Voloquez.
Josh Hamilton had a solid first season for Texas in 2008. He certainly could have been selected an MVP as his stats included a very fine .304 batting average with 35 doubles, 5 triples and 32 homers, 98 runs scored and he led the American League with 130 RBIs. The left-handed Josh Hamilton has a level swing and can power the baseball from any part of home plate. Defensively he covers the centerfield position very well and has a quick, and accurate throwing arm. He’s our pick as an All-Star centerfielder for 2009.