The Texas Rangers have all of two players that are considered starters with an OPS+ over seventy this season. Shin-Soo Choo has an OPS+ of 23, a number that Rafael Belliard would be embarrassed by, and Belliard posted an OPS+ of two (yes, two) in 1996. Needless to say, they cannot afford to lose either of their productive players for any length of time.
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However, that is exactly what the injury plagued Rangers are facing now that Mitch Moreland is going to undergo surgery to have the bone spurs removed from his left elbow. Moreland, who has produced a .304/.393/.457 batting line and a 137 OPS+, will be out for two to three weeks following the procedure.
This is just about the worst news that the Texas Rangers could receive right now. Along with Prince Fielder, Moreland was the only player in the Rangers lineup that looked like a competent major league bat. Now, the Rangers, who rank 26th with a .619 OPS and last with a .322 slugging percentage and a .212 batting average, will be without the player who could arguably have been considered their best hitter thus far.
Obviously, the Rangers offense cannot continue to be this putrid. Choo will stop with his Belliardian production, and should be some facsimile of the player he was. Adrian Beltre likely has not fallen completely off of a cliff. Elvis Andrus is not nearly this bad with the bat. Josh Hamilton could help produce some punch to a lineup that has been atrocious. Eventually, the Rangers offense will wake up.
At least, that is the expectation. At some point, the Rangers offense will pick itself up and produce at the level that we all expect. The dismal start to the 2015 season will be nothing more than a horrid memory, and April will be that month that we all try to forget happened. Yet, missing Moreland for those two to three weeks, and then factoring in how he will need to get reacclimated to being in the lineup, certainly will not help.
It is always difficult for a team that is struggling on offense to be losing one of their few bright spots. It is also difficult to lose a player right when it seems as though they may be about to be having that breakout performance. Unfortunately, the Texas Rangers will need to hope that Mitch Moreland can come back with a hot bat once he is healed up.