Texas Rangers Being Left Behind by Youth Movement

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2015 Major League Baseball Opening Day has come and gone. The Red Sox hit five homers, the Astros beat a Cy Young Award Winner, the new looking Padres lost to the also new looking Los Angeles Dodgers and hey, Mike Trout homered and Felix Hernandez was dominant.

However, in Texas Rangers territory, they were 1-hit in Oakland by Sonny Gray (8 IP) and Evan Scribner.

The decisive AB’s came from one of Oakland’s many new acquisitions, everything-man Ben Zobrist, whose two-run homer in the first off Yovani Gallardo set the tone for an Athletics blowout.

All around the field, there was new blood for the A’s. Marcus Semien had an RBI and Brett Lawrie added a base knock, more new players for this A’s team.

As for the Rangers, they trotted out a mostly similar lineup to the year before. Instead of Alex Rios, J.P. Arencibia and Josh Wilson we had Rougned Odor, Robinson Chirinos and Ryan Rua. Rua had the Rangers lone hit to lead off the 8th inning against Gray.

Photo Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

But looking around baseball, and seeing good Opening Day performances from first timers like Dalton Pompey, Micah Johnson, Joc Pederson and Jake Lamb showed that a lot of Major League teams have what the Rangers don’t: a young core.

That’s not to say the Rangers don’t have young talent. MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo ranks Texas’ farm system 6th in the league and ESPN’s Keith Law 11th. So, still a very good system, but one without impact players on the horizon.

You know the names, heck, there hasn’t been one article since I delved into some of those names, and there’s reason to be excited. But as for the current product that you’re paying to see and watching on your T.V., it’s an older bunch that –aside from Prince Fielder potentially bouncing back and Elvis Andrus maybe discovering how to hit again– sort of is what it is.

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Rougned Odor has room to grow, so does Ryan Rua and maybe a healthy Shin-Soo Choo can be an All-Star caliber player. But there’s no high value young talent in the pitching rotation (sorry, Nick Martinez) and the batting lineup is a skeleton of it’s former self, one that was full of veterans anyway, like Josh Hamilton and Michael Young and Ian Kinsler.

Most of baseball’s contenders welcomed a new name to the group, like the ones above or the Opening Day Start baptism of Kansas City’s Yordano Ventura or Red Sox leadoff hitter Mookie Betts.

The last couple Texas Rangers prospects to graduate into the Major Leagues have gotten hurt (Jurickson Profar, Martin Perez), were traded (Mike OltRobbie ErlinNeil Ramirez) fizzled out (Cody Buckel, Jake Skole) or graduated but without high honors (Tanner Scheppers, Leonys Martin).

The fact is, the Rangers got one-hit last night in an uninspiring effort leaving fans dreaming about a past that seems like forever ago or a future that can’t come soon enough.

Only the hardcore fans have something to be excited about. And that’s the optimism speaking, because young and old (veteran, to be more polite and truthfully accurate) there are just too many teams around the league (heck, division!) passing the Rangers by.

There’s an oncoming wave of young talent that just are not ready yet and continue to develop their games in Hickory or Frisco or somewhere else, but for now the Texas Rangers are being left behind.

Next: Rangers Fans React to First Loss

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