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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Who are these guys? And can they go anywhere?

Well, if you're like me and you've been following how this 25-man is shaping up for Opening Day, then you might be in a state of minor panic...

Nick Tepesch?  Leury Garcia? Who are these guys?  Are they any good?

Let's start with Tepesch, the Rangers new 5th starter.  He's a 6'4, 225-pound righty, born in KC in the late 80's;  1988 to be exact.  Why does that sound so damn recent?

Anyway, most of that is not what you were wondering.  Here is what you DO want to know:

Tepesch spent the last two years in A ball and AA ball.  That's it.  That's all he's got.  A little addition to the "panic factor" is that his ERA was 4.28 in Frisco last year, although that was his first real shot at AA hitters.  To be positive, the Rangers drafted Tepesch in '10 after playing college ball at the University of Missouri - Columbia; and college ball usually helps pitchers.  And I like that he's 24/25 and not 21/22...21/22 usually doesn't bode well unless you're Elvis Andrus; almost never for a pitcher.

Leury Garcia, on the other hand is only 22 years old.  Born in 1991!  I think I was leaving elementary school at that point!  Anyway, Garcia is not as big a concern as Tepesch because he's our utility infielder, so all we really need is for him to be able to catch and throw the ball on occasion.  Although, he did hit .292 in about 400 at-bats in Frisco last year, so maybe he'll surprise us.  Of course, like any fan, I hope we only see Garcia on the random off-day for our starters, day game after a night game, etc.  God forbid anything happen to Kins or Elvis.  That would just be terrible.

Another surprise at the close of camp was Jeff Baker...the 31-year old from Germany, (finally, an adult!), who, after an incredible spring, made the team as a back-up for Beltre at 3B and Murphy in left.

So here you have it my friends, your Texas Rangers depth chart for the 2013 season as of 3/27/13, courtesy of www.TexasRangers.com:


Now, if you're looking at this depth chart with a little concern regarding the starting rotation, I'll remind you that Colby Lewis is expected back in May.  So, Tepesch's big league shot may be limited to a 6-8 week trial run.  Other positives include Mike Olt and Jurickson Profar being sent down to the minors.  Both are chock full of potential, especially Profar.  But, if we have enough talent at the MLB level to help us avoid a potential David Clyde redux, then why the heck wouldn't we?

The real cause for concern here may be our lack of power.  Hamilton's gone.  Napoli's gone.  Now, I know we've added Berkman and Pierzynski, but I'm going to need a little proof (at Berkman's age especially) before I jump on that bandwagon.  And not that Michael Young was a power guy, but he added 200 hits to our lineup up every year since God knows when (God says it was 2003).  Many of those hits were doubles, and we're going to miss that.

In my opinion, there's a fix here.  Maybe not a permanent solution, but a nice little fix to start 2013.

Doesn't that uppercut scream 6-hole to you?


I have defended Ian Kinsler in the lead-off spot many a time.  Good base stealer, good bat control, walks a lot...that adds up to one hell of a top-of-the order guy, right?  Well, if you watch half as many games as we do (which is about 81 games a year), you know that Kins hits for average OR he hits for power.  It's usually, and by usually I mean 95% of the time, not both.  It's 30/30 and he hits .250 or a nice .285-.300 avg with 10-20 home runs.  It's as if he has Rickey Henderson on one shoulder telling him to use his speed and he's got Willie Mays Hayes on the other shoulder telling him to hit it as high and far as he can.

If only Wash would make Kins drop and do 20 every time he popped up...
So I say, let Elvis lead-off and put Kins in the 6-hole.  Then he can swing for the fences as much as he wants. Berkman, Beltre, Cruz, Kins.  Not bad, right?

We are almost there...

3 Days.  






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