Heading Into Sunday —


– I’m not sure if it will come tomorrow or two months from now, but right now I am not yet comfortable assigning declarative statements to players who’ve either over- , or underachieved thus far into the season. So if you were waiting for my Coming To Jesus moment with regard to Derek Holland‘s brilliance, Mitch Moreland and David Murphy‘s ineptitude, or Ron Washington‘s perpetual managerial mistakes as an in-game tactician, then you’ll just have to wait. Okay, maybe not on that last part.

– With an uncharacteristically weak offense to this point, the strength of the Rangers has pretty clearly been the pitching staff. Heading into Sunday, the position players have generated 1.9 fWAR — 19th in baseball — which is also where they rank in team wRC+ (93); the team wOBA is 13th (.314).

Conversely, the pitching staff has been stellar. In all of baseball, only Detroit (+4.2) has provided more FIP-wins than Texas (+3.5); the Rangers rank 3rd in MLB in both ERA (2.72) and xFIP (3.40).

– In essence, both the offense and the pitching staff will experience regression to the mean, as the lineup is better than 19th in the league, and the pitching staff probably isn’t top-3 even with Matt Harrison, Colby Lewis, Joakim Soria and Neftali Feliz all in the mix.

– In the updated Cy Young Watch, Yu Darvish leads the American League in fWAR (+1.3) and strikeouts (38). At the moment his K:BB ratio is basically 5:1 (38 K’s to 8 BB’s). One ridiculous stat, which may illuminate his true dominance, is that his SwStr% (which basically shows how often the opposing hitter swings and misses) is 15.9%. Last season he was one of the most prolific strikeout pitchers in baseball, and his SwStr% was “only” 11.8%.

– To sum up that last stanza: Yu Darvish is really fucking good. His 2.03 ERA isn’t a fluke.

– Heading into Sunday the Rangers are 11-6, which is just a half-game behind Oakland not only for the best record in the AL West, but for the American League as a whole. In the micro, I don’t feel like Texas is anywhere near how good they should be playing, and that’s even before name’s like Lewis, Soria, Harrison and Feliz get back into the realm of discussion. Even without Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli and the “leadership” provided by The Face Of The Franchise — Michael Young — this is still one of the most talented teams in the American League. Especially if Jon Daniels can shore up the bullpen with an arm (or two) come trade deadline time.