The Disabled List Texas Rangers.
By Lee Stitzel
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Much has been written about the Texas Rangers and their historic use of the disabled list. The Texas Rangers’ season has been lost to injury like no other season in Rangers’ history. This has been an incredibly tough season for the Texas Rangers. They are on pace to have their first 100 loss season since 1973, although they did have near misses in 1985 and 1982. The main hurdle for the Texas Rangers has been injuries but rookies and role players have not picked up the slack and few of the players who broke camp as starters, and are still regulars, have played up to expectations. Shin-Soo Choo, Alex Rios, and Elvis Andrus have all had down years despite Choo and Rios getting off to hot starts this year. It seems only Adrian Beltre and Yu Darvish have really excelled this year.
None the less, the single biggest reason the Texas Rangers are the worst team in baseball this year is the severity of the injuries they have suffered. While this phenomenon has been discussed at length, the discussion has focused on how that has impacted the performance of the team without pinning down exactly how hard injuries have hit the team.
The team is approaching several dubious records, including the record for most players used, most pitchers used, most rookies used in a year and most days spent on the disabled list. The team has used 31 hitters and 36 pitchers already this year, vaulting them past the 2002 Padres for most players used in a single season and the leaving them only one pitcher short of the record for most pitchers used. The team has used 9 positional rookies and 13 pitching rookies for a total of 22 rookies. The team has several records already and there are still two weeks before rosters are expanded for September. The Rangers should easily break each record. (All numbers per fangraphs)
Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
The Rangers on the disabled list are an impressive group of players. The first thing of interest is the amount of payroll the Texas Rangers have on the disabled list. The players on the disabled list have a total of $60,525,092 in salary from the Texas Rangers. If these players were made into their own team they would be getting paid more than the Houston Astros or Miami Marlins and would be roughly $17 million behind the Tampa Bay Rays. The Texas Rangers currently have $136,036,172 in salary, good for the 8th highest in the majors. If you cut out the disabled list players the Rangers would have only $75,511,080 in salary, which would drop them below the aforementioned Tampa Bay Rays.
So if we split the healthy Texas Rangers and the injured Texas Rangers how would each fare? Well the former is obvious. The healthy Texas Rangers are awful. They are the worst team in baseball; only challenged for that title by the Colorado Rockies. The DL Rangers (not to be confused with the DSL Rangers of the Dominican Summer League) would “only” have 20 players so some creative lineups would have to constructed. My proposed roster would look like this;
First Base—Prince Fielder
Second Base—Jake Smolinski
Short Stop—Jurickson Profar
Third Base—Kevin Kouzmanoff
Starting Pitcher—Yu Darvish
Long Relief—Matt Harrison
Middle Relief—Derek Holland
(Disabled List from ESPN)
Several of these choices are straight forward. Prince Fielder, Engle Beltre, Yu Darvish, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Tanner Scheppers are all able to play in their normal position or at close to it, in Scheppers’s case.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Other choices are not necessarily straight forward but certainly are not challenging. Jurickson Profar plays shortstop so Jake Smolinski can play second base. Profar has always been a shortstop so playing short is no challenge. The problem with the DL Rangers is the lack of a second middle infielder. Smolinski started as a secondbase man so he has enough experience there. This, of course creates a hole in the outfield because only Beltre and Smolinski are listed as outfielders. Mitch Moreland has played some outfield for the major league club so playing him in right field is an easy choice. Alexi Ogando is a converted outfielder so he lands the leftfield position. This leaves only the catcher position to solve. A few days ago Geovany Soto came off the disabled list, making this a difficult position to fill. I will opt for Martin Perez even though he is a lefty because I guess he is the most athletic of the remaining pitchers. I considered Derek Holland of course but Perez is shorter and stockier which must help with catching. The only remaining right handed pitcher was Tanner Scheppers but putting the 6’ 4” Scheppers behind the plate seems like a bad idea.
Given this lineup I would opt for the following batting order.
Of course the bottom third of our lineup is all pitchers so not much pop there but the top two thirds of our lineup is perhaps only a shade below average. Beltre will probably never pan out at the major league level and Smolinski will never be better than a utility player. Kouzmanoff was raking at the time of his injury. Fielder is a top hitter in the majors when healthy. Moreland is a serviceable if underwhelming player. Profar has a chance to be an above average hitter. With a couple more solid additions to the DL Rangers they could be a solid team, perhaps even better than the major league Texas Rangers.