The Texas Rangers have officially announced that Chris Woodward will be at the helm again in 2022. What does this mean for the organization going forward?
Woodward signed a three-year deal with Texas after the 2018 season, replacing the fiery, but bad communicator Jeff Bannister.
After two losing seasons, the addition of Chris Woodward was supposed to boost the Texas Rangers back into the playoffs again, but he has yet to lead the team there after numerous players struggles, injuries and bad luck on the free agent market.
Instead, after a 100-122 start to Woodward’s managerial career, the Texas Rangers are in the midst of another rebuild after almost a decade of playoff baseball.
Picking up his option is great for the Rangers, removing any uncertainty from the leadership of the team, as well as maintaining something constant during a tumultuous rebuild.
The Texas Rangers picked up Chris Woodward’s contract option for 2022
From a fan’s perspective, though, what does that signify as far as seeing playoff baseball again in Arlington?
Woodward’s contract signifies to me that he is the right fit. A forward-thinking, analytically-driven manager that the game of baseball and the Texas Rangers are turning towards nowadays.
The likes of Tommy Lasorda, Tony LaRussa and Johnny Oates are all but gone in the game. The hard-nosed, purely baseball managers that led the league’s best teams every year since the game’s awakening in the 1800’s.
Woody’s analytical mindset not only proves that the numbers don’t lie, but that the previously named managers are a dying breed. The eye-test is all but gone because of analytics.
The game of baseball is dictated by numbers, and the Texas Rangers believe that Woody is their guy.
Chris Woodward has been a good fit as Texas Rangers skipper, even if the numbers don’t show it
Now, don’t misunderstand me. The eye-test and seeing raw talent in person will forever be an awe-inspiring sight, but it’s shifted to using analytics to make the awe-inspiring players better and better.
The quality and quantity of elite athletes in the game far surmounts the players we’ve seen in the past, rarely finding a Nolan Ryan, Ken Griffey Jr. and others.
Of course, we see superstar athletes every year. This year alone, the Rangers are looking at three superstar players to take in the first round of the MLB draft.
Jack Leiter, Kumar Rocker and Jordan Lawlar are a different breed of athlete, that dive into analytics to skyrocket their level of play.
What does this mean for the Texas Rangers going forward with Chris Woodward, though?
Well, look at how Joey Gallo has gone about his game the last few seasons. How about Willie Calhoun’s excellent 2019 season? Danny Santana’s name comes to mind, especially after his breakout season in the final year at Globe Life Park.
Gallo went from swing-and-miss and homers to high on-base, high walk rate and one of the greatest power threats in the game.
The adjustments and willingness to dive into the numbers have allowed the Rangers’ Gold Glove right fielder to take another step in his development, including an incredible spring aided by a new bat.
Even Gallo’s choice to get a newly weighted bat is driven by analytics, as having his bat too top heavy slowed his swing down, and now look at the damage he’s doing with a balanced bat.
Danny Santana prior to 2019 was considered a subpar utility player after being one of the game’s top prospects with Twins, in what seems like ages ago.
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He took to those numbers and had a season high 28 home runs, while winning the Rangers’ team MVP award in 2019.
On the pitching side, every pitcher is looking to analytics to alter their pitches and fine-tune their mechanics.
The two best examples of that are Wes Benjamin and Lance Lynn.
Lynn’s absolute dominance with solely heaters in incredible, but ranks as one of the best pitchers in the league in spin-rate.
As for Wes Benjamin, he has bought into the idea of “pitch design” and has seen great success this spring, earning his spot on the Opening Day roster.
A Driveline Baseball representative, Benjamin went from a struggling lefty to a viable major league option looking for elongated success.
His buying into the analytics have allowed him to find efficiency, effectiveness and elite ball movement that has taken the league by storm. The Texas Rangers even put it as a statistic on the new big board in Globe Life Field.
Globe Life Field is centered around analytics, built for the players by what the players have specified. They want to further their games, and I believe that mindset was started by Woody upon his arrival.
All that to say is that Chris Woodward’s players have bought into the idea that analytics will improve their game, and makes the future much brighter and much sooner.
Woody’s contract also signifies that the organization believes he deserves to have the opportunity to compete, and picking his option up only furthers that point.
The Rangers have made a run at Anthony Rendon and Zack Wheeler and are expected to make runs at some of the bigger free agents in the next free agent class.
Ranger fans should buy into what the team and Chris Woodward are doing in Arlington.
The losing seasons are no fun, that’s as real as it gets.
But if you demonstrate patience and a true devotion to the team, Chris Woodward and the front office will pay off in the long run, which hopefully is closer to the near future.
Analytics and a shifting game only play into Woody’s hands as he begins to see and develop, mature and encourage the shift among his clubhouse and throughout the minor leagues.
With a farm system that is highly underrated and a core of young, talented big leaguers, the Texas Rangers are arguably the best they’ve ever been under the careful and caring watch of Chris Woodward.
If they can buy into it, the fans can, too. I believe that we’ll be rewarded for our patience sooner rather than later, and it should come at the leadership of Chris Woodward, who deserves it more than anyone.