Inadequacies and Regression
“Water, water every where, Nor any drop to drink.”
Imagine a balloon. This balloon is attached to a flimsy string, which is staked firmly in the ground. Suddenly, the wind blows and this balloon correspondingly teeters in every such direction as dictated by the meandering air, but as the winds subside, the balloon steadily returns to its original position.
This balloon of course is the Texas Rangers, and episodes of winds always occur along the timeline of a season. Whether these winds teeter a team in a positive or negative direction, these winds always arrive. It is inevitable. Many times, a season can hinge on this proverbial flimsy string and the degree to which such winds are resisted.
Now, this does not mean that a team cannot strengthen its resistance to such winds, because they most certainly can.
It is unmistakable that the Rangers are currently playing a rather awful brand of baseball. Untimely injuries, together with poor in-game managing and a putrid offense have effectively blown the Rangers’ season backwards, whereas on a gust, the A’s, have swooshed past to overtake first place.
So what exactly can be done to alter this current course of events?
To begin, the return of Ian Kinsler from the DL was ultimately important. A healthy Kinsler would stand a strong chance lead the team in fWAR by position players by season’s end. Also, getting Mitch Moreland back from the DL would not hurt the offense either. In 216 PA thus far in 2013, Moreland has posted a 137 wRC+ and a .382 wOBA, which is great.
On the contrary, seeing less of David Murphy would be addition by subtraction. In 243 PA, Murphy has posted a pathetic 67 wRC+ and a wOBA of .280, which is remarkably awful (remarkable for the fact that he is an everyday starter).
At the moment, Jeff Baker is on the DL (go figure), but he has been undeniably fantastic in 2013. In 92 PA, Baker has 9 HR to go along with a 190 wRC+ and a .459 wOBA. Having Baker supersede Murphy as the everyday LF would prove to be a modest upgrade to the offense indeed.
Lastly, Elvis Andrus must begin to hit. Aside from Leury Garcia, Elvis Andrus has been the Rangers’ worst player offensively (57 wRC+ and a .266 wOBA to go along with a .291 BABIP, so his offensive inadequacies are not due to bad luck). Andrus will never be a plus-hitter, but an average (or near-average) season with the bat should not be too much to ask for. Should Andrus at least flip his season and perform at an average level with the bat from here on out, that would prove to be an effective boost to the lineup.
It is unmistakable that the Rangers are struggling, but there do exist reasonable, internal options to regress to more expected means. Regression can be reversed, as can inadequacies, but can is not always indicative of will. The Rangers are in a tough spot, but based on the reasonable expectations of the sum of the whole when healthy, this team will be fine.