|Fantasy Take: The 2006 Texas Rangers||| Print ||
Written by Daniel Paulling (Contact & Archive) on March 14, 2006
For years, the Rangers’ offense has provided fantasy players with bountiful, first round talent. What pitching, outside of Johan Santana, would you take in the first round, anyway? Here’s a look at the best the 2006 Rangers have to offer, and it is plenty.
The Top Tier
1B Mark Teixeira – Nicknamed Big Tex, this 6-3 first baseman has a ton of power. Last year, he was fourth in the American League in homers with 43, behind A-Rod, Manny, and Big Papi. His 144 RBIs were good enough for second in the Majors, behind only David Ortiz. This season, he’ll be 26, so we should expect an upward climb in his stats to 46-48 homers, 150 RBIs, a .310 average, and an insane number of runs scored. That’s what you get when you pick fourth in mixed league drafts.
SS Michael Young – When someone told me that Michael Young put up stats close to Miguel Tejada last season, I nearly laughed. Just to humor them, I went back and researched the numbers. Here’s a comparison:
As you can see, the Rangers’ shortstop outplayed Tejada -- who underperformed anyway -- in two categories by so much, that the difference in power numbers means nothing. You should remember Young’s name in the middle of the first round.
The Second Tier
C Rod Barajas – Barajas isn’t the catcher of the future -- Gerald Laird holds that distinction -- but he can still hit at age 31. Last season, the Rangers’ everyday guy hit 21 homers and drove in 60 runs, all while scoring 53 runs. Expect a repeat of those numbers. However, you will have to stomach a bad batting average (.254 last year), but that’s not too bad for middle to late round talent.
3B Hank Blalock – This third round talent started the year off with a bang, hitting .305 and .287 the first two months with plenty o’ power. Sadly, this future star slumped in the second half, which brought his batting average all the way down to .263. This year, I’m betting on a rebound, to .270/25/90/2/90. Just don’t start Blalock against left-handed pitchers!
OF David Dellucci – I don’t really know where last season came from, so it might be considered a slight fluke. However, left-handed batters get that jet stream in Ameriquest Field out to left-center, and they’ll put up the power numbers. Given an entire season’s worth of ABs, Dellucci should rack up thirty bombs very easily; however, he’ll pull down your team’s batting average.
OF Kevin Mench – Just what the Rangers needed: another young player who can put up the home run numbers. For the previous two seasons, Mench has 51 taters. The power is there. Expect a .270/25/80 year from him, as he will be given the everyday job in right field.
OF Brad Wilkerson – In what can only be termed “highway robbery,” the Rangers picked up Wilkerson from the Nationals for Alfonso Soriano. Look for Wilkerson’s numbers to skyrocket (and Soriano’s to dwindle, but that’s a future article). Last year, his numbers were meek, but this season, we should expect a .270 batting average, 20-25 homers, 60-65 RBIs, 10 stolen bases, and a lot of runs scored. He’s an all around good player.
The Third Tier
RP Francisco Cordero – He definitely deserves to be in the second tier, but I’m a little wary of this pitcher. His ERA has been going up ever since he became a closer; he blows plenty of save opportunities -- eight last year, 28 in his career. Plus, the Rangers use him a lot, so his arm has seen a ton of mileage, even at the tender age of 31. Expect some decent numbers, but if you could steer clear, I would suggest doing so.
SP Kevin Millwood – Now that he has cashed in on a big deal, the Scott Boras client will probably see a worsening of his stats. Guesses for his ERA next year are around the 3.90-4.00 mark, and that seems about right. You won’t get many strikeouts, but 200 innings and sixteen-seventeen wins are entirely possible. Be careful, because he’s only a two category pitcher (IP and W’s).
The Question Marks
SP Adam Eaton – After injuring his hand last year, Eaton fell apart, unable to throw his curveball with any effectiveness. This left him for dead every time he went out there. However, he gave it his all, and that should be commended. The right hander is still very young and working for a brand new contract, so we could expect good things from him next season. The only thing I don’t like is that he’s leaving PETCO Park and moving into a severe hitter’s stadium. If you draft him, play matchups, because he could be very valuable, but don’t start him every time out there.
2B Ian Kinsler – I’m fairly certain that you’ve memorized these numbers, but I’ll repeat them for those who haven’t: .274/23/94/102/19. That’s what he put up in Triple A last season. Should we expect a seamless transition to the Major Leagues? That’s my only question concerning Kinsler.
1B/DH Phil Nevin – As I’ve said earlier, Nevin is only one year removed from a 29 homer season in PETCO Park. That means he could easily reach that number this year, given a full slate of ABs. Sadly, he looked lost at the plate last year, and might be on that final decline of his career. I’d be willing to take a chance on him, however, if the time was right in your draft.
SP Vicente Padilla – If you wanted a definition of someone who has electric stuff, look no further than Vicente Padilla, the new number three starter for the Rangers. He’s reaching his peak seasons, and has two good seasons under his belt (2002 and 2003). This right hander is worth drafting, and should be good enough for matchups throughout the season. Don’t pass over him because of the injuries that have been bothering him lately.