Thursday Morning Rumblings
By Eric Reining
Are you tired of the Cardinals winning? And how about that whole Alex Rodriguez potentially getting traded to the Marlins stuff? WOW holy schnikes there’s so much to talk about at this time of the year!
Just, kind of. Kind of, but not really.
– Richard Durrett continues his half-takes on how players performed in 2012 and projecting what that all means heading into next year. Today he asks if Alexi Ogando is better suited for the rotation or bullpen next season.
– Lonestarball acknowledges David Murphy “outperformed his projections by more than any other Rangers position player” in 2012, which, he did, more than doubling his career best (1.9) fWAR this season (4.0).
– Yesterday the DMN’s Evan Grant posited whether the Rangers should replace their hitting coach due to “offensive inefficiency, particularly late in the year,” or, as he mentions, do what some other teams are doing by employing an assistant hitting coach.
– Also, if you haven’t checked it out, I’d recommend taking a peek at Jamey Newberg’s definitive article fully encompassing the fall of the Rangers, and, more specifically, the fall of Josh Hamilton. Newberg really dives deep looking at a Rangers team who came up one win short.
– I guess if I’m looking at things objectively, I don’t mind the idea of Alexi Ogando starting next year, but it’s contingent on a couple things. First, if the Rangers happen to sign a guy like Zach Greinke (who is realistically the only free agent starter who could drastically improve the rotation), then the top four of Greinke/Darvish/Harrison/Holland might allow the Rangers to ease 22 year-old Martin Perez into the 5th spot, which leads me to contingency #2. Maybe Perez gets dealt as part of a trade to acquire a middle-of-the-order bat or top-of-the-rotation pitcher. Again, in such a case, if it’s for another pitcher, Ogando becomes less necessary in the rotation; for a big bat, he becomes more necessary.
If you ask me, Alexi Ogando is most effective coming out of the bullpen. A lot like Neftali Feliz, what Ogando offers with his plus fastball he’s lacked in the development of his off-speed pitches. His slider looked especially promising in the 2011 postseason, then wasn’t utilized very often in 2012. To have longevity as a starter Ogando needs to incorporate his slider more to complement his fastball, and must find a way to reinvent/improve his change up.
– David Murphy did have a very good season. He was third on the team — behind only Adrian Beltre and Josh Hamilton — in terms of wRC+ (127) and wOBA (.369). A big part of his transformation from 4th outfielder to everyday left fielder was how well he hit lefties this season (.347), aided by a ridiculous BABIP of .433. Now, I don’t find his 2012 production to be sustainable moving forward, but he is a decent option to have occupying an outfield spot. If we acquire an outfield replacement for Josh Hamilton, I find David Murphy to be an expendable commodity, but I can appreciate the intensity he’s consistently delivered in his 5 years with the Rangers.
– I am not in favor of replacing Scott Coolbaugh, though, I do think if there’s a coaching shakeup, he has to be the favorite to go. The Rangers remained as the most productive offensive team in baseball in 2012, but took a pretty sharp decline down the stretch. The 2011 Rangers generated a wRC+ of 112; 2012 was down to just 104.