It’s no secret that the offense of the Texas Rangers has been lackluster to start the season, outside of Prince Fielder. As a team they’re hitting .201 and rank 18th in runs scored with 41, which is a much lower output than we were hoping for, especially with the offensive stars returning from last season’s injuries. While the season is still young, if the Rangers hope to gain some momentum, they’ll need to start putting up more runs than the 3.41 that they’re averaging now.
The team ranks 21st in on-base percentage (.284), 21st in home runs (9), but 9th in doubles (21). While Leonys Martin is only batting.184 with a .231 OBP, he should stick atop the lineup as a traditional leadoff hitter. Martin is three for his last ten at-bats, and his speed could be utilized from the lead-off slot.
There is a new trend around baseball, where managers are having their best hitter bat second. Mike Trout is doing it, so everyone should, right? The best all-around hitter in Texas is Adrian Beltre, and even though he’s starting the year in a slump, having him hit behind the team’s hottest hitter in Fielder is a rally killer at this point. Having him hit in front of Fielder could lead to Beltre seeing more pitches to hit as well.
Fielder stays in the three-hole, as he’s batting .383 with a .442 OBP through the first two weeks. Here is where things get a bit dicey. With Mitch Moreland likely to miss a couple of weeks, we could see more of Shin-Soo Choo in the DH role while Fielder takes over first base duties more regularly. If this is the case, we’ll see Jake Smolinski and Carlos Peguero in the lineup more often, covering the corners in the outfield. With Peguero being among the team leaders in average (.294) and tied for the team lead with three doubles, would it be so bad if he hit cleanup? Obviously this isn’t a long-term solution by any means, but with the lineup struggling as much as they are, it’s worth a shot, no?
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The other crazy idea I’m working with is having Rougned Odor, Elvis Andrus and Choo fill out the order seven through nine. The trio would act as a second one-two-three combo in the lineup, and would set up the Martin-Beltre-Fielder combo at the top.
This would leave just the fifth and six spots in the order. Let’s assume that Moreland is out of the lineup, which means Smolinski is likely in, and on any given day Robinson Chirinos is catching. I’m putting Chirinos (.208, 2 HR, 2 2B) fifth and Smolinski (.059, 2B) sixth.
Trust me, I know this is crazy, but let’s look at the lineup with some early season stats.
While Chirinos is barely above the Mendoza Line, he does lead the team in home runs. Why not let him run into one with the team’s leaders in OBP hitting ahead of him? Smolinski’s batting average is atrocious thus far, but his OBP is third in this group of players, so having him hit sixth isn’t entirely nuts. The bottom trio will need some work to maximize their potential, and obviously if Choo begins getting on base at a higher clip he should be moved up in the order, but for now we’re going with the numbers.
When Moreland comes back, he’ll slot fifth with Chirinos in the sixth spot, Fielder at the DH and Choo in right. For now, with how the Texas Rangers sluggers have been performing, this is my humble suggestion. Yes, it’s a bit off-the-wall, but could it produce much less than the traditional lineup they’ve been implementing?