It hasn’t been a good opening month of 2022 for the Texas Rangers. Point blank. We could stop the article after that sentence.
We won’t, of course! Instead, we’ll dive into some small sample sizes from the month of April.
Starting the season out slow isn’t what any Texas Rangers fan, player or coach had in mind after the team spent over $500 million in free agency during the off-season. Expectations were higher, but not quite at contention level. Rather, somewhere in the middle (70-80 wins). Those plans have gone awry so far.
Let’s give some overreactions to statistics from April.
Overreacting to these early Texas Rangers statistics
Marcus Semien’s .476 OPS
Look, it’s not pretty. One of the Texas Rangers’ newest superstars, signed to a mega seven-year contract worth $175 million, has not produced at his MVP-caliber level from last season to this point. That .476 OPS is the proof in the pudding. But we know Semien is better than that.
With a career OPS of .765, that .476 is bound to rise, especially as he keeps getting more at-bats. There isn’t a player on this team, if not in all of MLB, that works harder than Semien does. And while it might be difficult to replicate his MVP-type season with the Blue Jays last season, there’s no doubt Semien can rebound and become a potent bat for this lineup once again.
It’s just a matter of time.
Team ERA of 6.09
Yes, that number is real. Your eyes don’t deceive you. This pitching staff has been nothing short of horrendous to begin 2022. That 6.09 staff ERA is the worst in baseball. And unfortunately, things don’t seem to be getting much better.
For starters, top free agent addition Jon Gray has made just two starts, sandwiched in between an IL stint, and one forthcoming. Dane Dunning, Taylor Hearn, Spencer Howard and Martin Perez have also been lackluster, not only struggling to provide length in games, but also giving up gobs of runs, forcing an improved lineup to constantly have to play behind. That would explain a lot of this ugly start to the 2022 season for this Texas Rangers squad.
Making matters worse, the bullpen is prone to surrender any lead the lineup gives them. There’s just no sure thing on this pitching staff… well, except for maybe Brock Burke.
All I can say is that there’s no way this bad clip is sustainable all season, but maybe we shouldn’t expect much improvement anytime soon, either.
Jonah Heim: Better than Mitch Garver?
That’s not a question we would think to be asking at any point this season, but here we are. Jonah Heim is hitting better than Mitch Garver is so far.
Garver, of course, was acquired from the Minnesota Twins for Isiah Kiner-Falefa and pitching prospect Ronny Henriquez, as the Rangers sought to upgrade behind the plate. It’s early yet, but the offensive-minded catcher has an uninspiring .535 OPS so far. That’s in comparison to Jonah Heim’s 1.067 mark.
Heim is not only killing the ball right now, but he’s also an excellent defender and pitch framer. At age 26, maybe this is the year he puts it all together and becomes the catcher of the now and the future for the Texas Rangers…
The Rangers’ .250 winning percentage so far
No sugar-coating this one, Texas hasn’t done much winning to begin the year. But sitting at this low of a winning percentage? There’s simply too much talent on this team to believe they’ll stay this bad all season.
Corey Seager and Marcus Semien are two superstars who man the middle of this infield. This offense has guys that can hit. And the pitching staff, while vastly underperforming, will eventually get reinforcements like Jonathan Hernandez and Jose Leclerc in the bullpen and potentially adding prospect Cole Winn to the rotation down the line.
Maybe it was the shortened spring training that has messed with these players’ routines, but I have to imagine the Texas Rangers will eventually pick up the pace, to the point where they do meet their expected win total of around 70-75 games.