Texas Rangers: A glaring statistic that might just call for a coaching change

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Rougned Odor
OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Rougned Odor /

It may be part of new era MLB, but there is a statistic that is getting out of hand for the Texas Rangers. Badly enough to where a coaching change may be warranted.

The game has changed. Strikeouts and OBP now carry less weight; home runs and slugging percentage now carry more weight. Today’s MLB accepts a player that strikeouts 200+ times in a season, as long as that player can hit 30+ homers. But, just because the MLB accepts, does that mean every team should? Should the Texas Rangers?

As of today, the Rangers lead Major League Baseball in team strikeouts with 396. Their 14 strikeouts in last night’s game against Houston Astros’ Charlie Morton didn’t help. Not to point any fingers, but Joey Gallo’s 55 strikeouts lead all of baseball. Plus, Robinson Chirinos (49 Ks), Drew Robinson (45 Ks) and Shin-Soo Choo (40 Ks) are also among MLB leaders in the embarrassing statistic.

Drew Robinson may be away from the team; however, I’m not exactly going out on a limb when saying Rougned Odor might contribute strikeout problems of his own.

Texas Rangers
ARLINGTON, TX – MAY 07: Shin-Soo Choo #17 of the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington on May 7, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

So, who is to blame? The guys with the mighty contracts? Unlikely. How about the guy that is supposed to be making better hitters of the guys with the mighty contracts? Much more likely.

The Texas Rangers named Anthony Iapoce their hitting coach in the 2016 offseason. In 2016, the Rangers ranked 24th in MLB in strikeouts with an impressive 1,220 count. They then took a 360º turn in 2017, striking out the 4th most times in baseball with 1,493. And you can assume what ranking the team is on track for in 2018.

The roster hasn’t changed that much. Of course, Joey Gallo is an everyday player now as opposed to in 2016. Losing Elvis Andrus doesn’t help either. Regardless, this whole strikeout spectacle is getting old fast. The fans certainly aren’t enjoying it.

I’m not a professional hitting coach, but it doesn’t take one to notice some of the basic hitting fundamentals that some of the Rangers’ hitters seem oblivious to.

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For example, putting the ball in play creates opportunities to reach base, whether by hit or by error. Also, whatever happened to the two-strike approach? It’s frustrating to watch Gallo, Odor and Chirinos take the same swing on an 0-2 count as they do on a 3-1 count.

There’s a reason players like Tony Gwynn and Derek Jeter hit over .300 practically every year—because they put the ball in play. Or how about Texas Rangers great, Michael Young? Perhaps he should come in and layout some wisdom. Perhaps full-time as a hitting coach (a topic for another time).

Point being, it may be time to make a change. The offense is league average in runs scored, though, they can’t rely on the long ball all season long. That approach will run its course; eventually the team will have to strike a couple of rallies.

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The Texas Rangers aren’t going to bench Choo and they’re not going to bench Gallo. Nor should they. Is it possible they will make a change within their coaching staff, however? It could happen and maybe it should happen. The change would be the hitting coach, not the manager. It’s unacceptable to lead Major League Baseball in strikeouts, period.