It is an overstatement to say that the Texas Rangers struggled in May. Basically, the whole team struggled to be a decently consistent offense and the pitching staff was what it’s been all season. However, the Rangers were 13-16 averaging 4.7 runs scored a game in the month of May. Is this team turning around or is this 2016’s fools gold? I’m of the opinion that it’s both cases. Here’s 3 pros and 3 cons about the month of May.
Pro: Is Cole Hamels back?
Cole Hamels had for starts in May had 4 starts. In those 4 starts he went 2-1 with a 3.20 ERA. The one start Cole Hamels struggled in was against the Royals where he gave up 5 runs. Before the Royals game Hamels had given up just 4 runs over 19 innings. While Hamels has seemed like a wildcard this season, it now seems like has found some consistency with his pitching arsenal. Cole Hamels is the Ace of this team and if Cole Hamels can consistently pitch like a number 1 or 2 starter then the Rangers are in a better spot than they seemed.
Pro: Is Shin-Soo Choo being overlooked?
Choo had an incredibly consistent bat during May. Choo batted .290 with 4 homers in 100 at bats. Choo drew a total of 21 walks and had on OBP of .418 which is about 60 points higher than the next qualifying Ranger (Nomar Mazara .357). Choo didn’t have the power or crazy hitting stats to back up a noticeable successful month for a batter, but it was his ability to just get on base that makes him important to this lineup. Choo kept innings alive and scored 16 runs in May. Choo was so consistent this season he had at least one hit in 22 of 27 games in May and now is riding a 9-game hit streak. Choo is the most overlooked position player in the lineup. The month of May saw Ronald Guzman hit 4 homeruns in 5 days, the offensive emergence of Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Nomar Mazara out homering Joey Gallo (10-7). If Choo can keep being consistent and filling this supporting role then the Rangers are in a good spot.
Pro: Are Ronald Guzman and I. Kiner-Falefa the answer?
Ronald Guzman and I. Kiner-Falefa are two of the Rangers bright spots on this roster. Both are rookies who have been having great success so far in their young careers. Guzman is on a rein of terror over his last 12 games. Over his last 12 games Guzman has batted .325 (13-40), 4 homeruns in 5 games, and had his first career 4 hit game against the Seattle Mariners. Ronald Guzman has ended May on a streak and hopefully this can continue for some time. I. Kiner-Falefa on the other hand is batting .236 over his last 10 games. Don’t let batting average fool you on how great Kiner-Falefa has been. Kiner-Falefa at the age of 23 has only struck out 8 times in 96 at bats and has walked 11 times. Kiner-Falefa’s ability to get on base is really what this Rangers lineup needs from a young prospect. Much like Choo, Kiner-Falefa is doing small things to impress baseball fans and Rangers fans need to jump on the Kiner-Falefa train!
Now it’s time for the saddest part of the article, the worst of May. May for some Rangers has been beyond bad and Rangers fan should be worried about how badly some players have performed.
Con: What happened to hitting?
The month of May was not kind to Delino DeShields is an important piece to this Rangers lineup. He’s the only CF the Rangers can rely on and he’s proven in the past that he deserves to be a starting CF. DeShields ended May with a .202 batting average (23-114) while hitting 2 homeruns and walking 13 times. DeShields is supposed to be this decent contact hitter with good speed. He’s been disappointing for almost the entire season. DeShields inconsistent at bat is a problem on for this Rangers team and it shows that something is going wrong for him. DeShields has been benched a few games in May and still nothing has worked on him. DeShields has the trend of having a decent season, then the following season having a bad season. Is this the trend we are seeing in DeShields still? The Rangers don’t have a decent replacement for DeShields meaning this makes it harder to not have a struggling DeShields in the lineup.
Con: Do I need to say it?
Matt Moore has been beyond terrible since becoming a Ranger. He ended May with an ERA over 10 and gave up 26 runs in 21.2 innings. Finding something good to say about Matt Moore is literally looking for a needle in a haystack. Matt Moore being on the pitching rotation over Austin Bibens-Dirkx (who isn’t good either) is sad. There’s no reason to continue this experiment of Matt Moore on this rotation. He’s going to be a free agent this offseason and the Rangers should just release him like Boston releasing Hanley Ramirez. Like I stated there’s absolutely no reason Matt Moore is still on this pitching rotation over other 5th starters the Rangers have. Trading for Matt Moore was a bad decision and a worthless trade. Matt Moore struggled with the S.F. Giants in a pitcher friendly ballpark with a 5.52 ERA, the thought of bringing Matt Moore to a hitter friendly ballpark was a bad decision to begin win.
Con: Why is Mike Minor a starter?
Mike Minor is not a starting pitcher anymore. Years after struggling with injuries has lost Mike Minor the role of being a starting pitcher in the big leagues. Mike Minor hadn’t started a game before the 2018 season since 2014. Mike Minor had no start went over 3 years without starting in the big leagues and spent 2 seasons on the disabled list before being converted as a reliever with the Royals last season. As a reliever Mike Minor pitched 77.2 innings, struck out 88, had a1.02 WHIP, a 2.8 WAR, and lastly had a 2.55ERA. The Rangers should have kept Mike Minor has a reliever. In the month of May Mike Minor has posted a 6.96ERA and has went 32.1 innings while giving up 9 homeruns. Did I mention that he hasn’t started in 3 years prior to this season and is already 30? Mike Minor doesn’t have what it takes at his age to comeback and be a starter anymore. The Rangers/JD need to stop with the ‘catching lightening in a bottle” strategy and be more realistic with the roster we do have.
Overall this Rangers team looks like a solid team for the future. That’s a great thing for Ranger fans or MLB fans. It’s surprising that Ronald Guzman and Isiah Kiner-Falefa are as good as they are now. Expectations going in was to just let them develop into decent hitters. They’re exceeding expectations and that’s a great thing to look forward to every day. Cole Hamels and Shin Soo Choo hopefully can continue to be consistent and hopefully this Rangers rotation can pitch to their potential. If the Rangers are going to be successful, the Rangers are without a doubt going to need Delino DeShields to play better and be the leadoff hitter the Rangers need.