More Preseason Musings
By Eric Reining
— Apparently Josh Hamilton made some recent remarks about Dallas-Fort Worth not being a “true sports town,” and how Rangers’ fans are “spoiled”. You can read the reactions from various beat writers here, here, and here.
If you are a fan of the Rangers, then you probably have an opinion of Josh Hamilton. I get that. To me we’re just dealing with C.J. Wilson, part deux. What Hamilton wants is a reaction. He likes to know that people are still listening. By shoveling mud in the faces of his former fan base, it’s par the course of most athletes who feel spurned by the organization that, quite honestly, just didn’t want him back. The more people talk about it on various websites and radio stations, the more he wins. So, beyond this, there’s just no reason to talk about him.
— Jamey Newberg wrote up a post almost a week ago, discussing his “Five Keys” to the Rangers 2013 season. The part I most agree with him on is this: “Right now this feels like Adrian Beltre’s team, or maybe Andrus’s, but if we get to the summer and the Texas Rangers appear to be Ian Kinsler’s team, then I’m going to say right now that 2013 will be damn special.”
I agree. I agree completely. I tend to think such entities like “leadership” or “intangibles” do not exist, which is why I didn’t much appreciate Michael Young‘s efforts over the last half-decade or so. Kinsler, on the other hand, is diametrically different. Young had his limits on the field (playing defense and taking walks, to name a couple) and was still considered the Face Of The Franchise; imagine how much more apropos that designation would be for a player of Kinsler’s skill set.
— Lastly, and I’m not sure if this even needs mentioning, Ron Washington said he definitely has his “mind set on which pitcher he wants starting Opening Day.”
I don’t mean to say this in a way that throws Matt Harrison under the bus but, c’mon, really? Was there ever a question as to who would start the first game of the season? That’s Yu Darvish, said every Rangers’ fan with a brain that works.
Darvish may win a strikeout title or six in his Major League career. Of all the starting pitchers on the team, and, well, mostly every other team in the league as well, Yu Darvish relies the least amount on his defense — telling from his 10.4 K’s/9 IP ratio in 2012, and 3.5-ish xFIP.
Anyway, his 5.1 fWAR rookie campaign more or less proved his capability of being a true #1 starter; this next season will be more about improving upon it. If he can limit his walks, as he showed more towards the backend of last season, he is a legitimate Cy Young frontrunner with 6.0 or 7.0 FIP-win potential.