Texas Rangers: Grading the 2014 Third Basemen


Texas Rangers fans are all too aware of the not-so-amazing records set by our favorite team in 2014. For instance, the Rangers are now proud owners of the major league records for players (64) and pitchers (40) used in a single season. Our Texas Rangers also lead the majors in overall disabled list uses with 26.

Luckily, third base was one of the least abused positions during the season, with only have 7 different players used. Personally, I felt that we only had two different players at third all season.

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Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre was placed on the disabled list early in the season (4/9-24), and the Rangers called up Kevin Kouzmanoff to fill in at third. The fans were worried knowing that you can’t replace Adrian Beltre, but no one was more aware of that than Kevin Kouzmanoff himself.

But, once we saw what Kouzmanoff was capable of Texas Rangers fans everywhere let out a collective sigh of relief.

Although Kevin Kouzmanoff played at third base for only 12 games, he left a lasting impression. Kouz had 16 hits, 8 runs, two doubles, two home runs, 10 RBI with a slash line of .348/.400/.609. In the short time he played he was named American League Player of the Week.

Kevin Kouzmanoff knew it would be tough to replace Adrian Beltre, but he did a phenomenal job. Unfortunately, Kouzmanoff left the April 22 game at Oakland Athletics for back stiffness. He was placed on the 15-Day disabled list, but eventually had surgery to repair a herniated L5-S1 disc in his lower back. The Texas Rangers outrighted Kevin Kouzmanoff on October 6 to Round Rock Express. On October 8, Kouzmanoff declined and opted for Free Agency.

When Adrian Beltre was placed on the DL for a left quad strain my immediate thought was “Oh my goodness, not again.” Well, that is putting it in PG terms. And, as much as I enjoyed watching Kouz, I was excited to have Beltre back. The 35-year old just can’t be replaced.

Beltre played 136 games at third base, and played what could be one of his best seasons ever. Adrian Beltre even made his way into a few major league records.

If there was a grade higher than an A+ I would most certainly give it to Adrian Beltre. I mean, giving Beltre high marks really is a no-brainer. I realize that he is turning 36 next season (April 7) and that he can’t play the game at third base forever, as much as we all would like him to. But, it is going to be a difficult task to get him to stop. I think it will be even more difficult to replace him. Adrian Beltre’s 2014 final stat line at third base: 136 G, 72 R, 168 H, 30 2B, 1 3B, 16 HR, 65 RBI, 1 SB, 1 CS, and a batting line of .331/.397/.489.

As I previously stated there were a total of 7 players at third this season, but it really does only feel like two.

HONORABLE MENTIONS (in order of how many games played at 3B):
Adam Rosales: 7 G, 2 R, 6 H, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 SB, and batting line of .316/.381/.421
Luis Sardinas: 6 G, 2 R, 3 H, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 SB, and batting line of .200/.200/.267
Donnie Murphy: 4 G, 7 AB, NO HITS
Josh Wilson: 4 G, 1 R, 4 H, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 SB, and batting line of .400/.400/.500
Guilder Rodriguez: 2 G, 1 R, 2 H, 1 RBI, and batting line of .500/.500/.500

Adrian Beltre is signed with the Texas Rangers through 2015 with a vesting option in 2016. So, for now we can breathe a little easier knowing that the Texas Rangers have Beltre through next season. And, since he stayed healthy (no jinx, no jinx) this season, I’m confident that he’ll come through again in 2015. Which gives Joey Gallo a little breathing room to develop into a better third baseman, and not just a batting monster.