The Rangers defense could be the deciding factor between a World Series contender, and another bust season. Manager Jeff Banister has not been thrilled with how the team is playing defense, and this could be a problem.
In Saturday’s game against the Reds, the Texas Rangers committed five errors. According to T.R. Sullivan, Rangers manager Jeff Banister had this to say after the game “There were a couple of situations where the urgency and intensity level weren’t where they should be,” “We need to be a premium defensive team.”
To be fair the errors were committed by Joey Gallo, Brett Hayes, Andy Ibanez, Jason Martinson, and Wesley Wright. All these players are unlikely to make the Opening Day roster, but that doesn’t matter to the Rangers skipper. He wants everyone to play quality defense whether you’re on the Major League roster or not.
Many of the Rangers stars are away for the World Baseball Classic, but Banister wants defense to be the top priority this spring. According to T.R. Sullivan, the Rangers entered Sunday’s game with 25 errors this spring.
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That is tied for sixth most in the Major Leagues. Even more frustrating is that those 25 errors led to 20 unearned runs, which is tied for second most in the Majors. Last season the Rangers committed the second most errors in the American League with 97.
Those errors led to 57 unearned runs, which was fourth most in the American League. Banister continues to tell Sullivan, “We’ve probably spent more time on defense than anybody,” “You are not going to eliminate errors. Nobody is ever going to do that. But it’s not the initial run you let in, but also the number of pitches and extra outs that are added to the pitching staff and the stress that creates. That became problematic for us last year.”
The Rangers defense is going to need to improve if they want to legitimately contend for the World Series in 2017. Banister had this about making the routine play and his obsession with improving defense “There are a lot of things that go into it, but we talk about cherishing the baseball and handling the baseball, we’ve got to be better at it. There is no way around it, we have to be better at it up and down.”