- ZiPS projection – 1.2 WAR
- Over/Under – Under
Mike Napoli is back for his third stint in Arlington and he is just what the doctor ordered for the Rangers lineup. A right-handed power bat with the ability to drive in runs.
Napoli would have thrived in the 80’s and 90’s. A time when hitting home runs was really the only thing that people cared about. A quick glance at his stat line in 2016 may lead one to believe that he was one of the games best players a season ago.
However, there is a thing called defense, and Napoli is not very good at it. His -17.3 defense rating was the fifth lowest in all of baseball. His -6.1 UZR/150 was the fifth lowest among first baseman. In case you were wondering, former Ranger Mitch Moreland led all first baseman in UZR/150 with 9.2.
With Shin-Soo Choo projected to see a lot of time as the designated hitter, Mike Napoli will see a large amount of playing time at first base. The drop off between him and Gold Glove winner, Mitch Moreland, will be noticeable.
However, the Rangers aren’t bringing Napoli in for his glove. The slugger set career highs in both home runs and RBI a season ago. At 35 years old it’s hard to imagine Napoli matching those numbers again.
If he can hover around the 100 RBI mark again all while providing protection in the middle of the lineup, it will be worth it for the Rangers.
Prediction – 1.0 WAR