Now that the “first half” of the season has ended, the Rangers sit in last place in the division, looking for a glimmer of hope, a sign that not all is lost. Good thing I’m here to shine some light on this rain storm by figuring out exactly who is the MVP of the Rangers so far. I’m going to grade them on their first half performance, taking into consideration batting average, HR and other statistics compared to the impact they have on the team, then you can decide for yourself, so let’s dive in.
Keona Kela: A
Kela has been a revelation this year, going 23 for 23 in his save opportunities thus far. In 33 innings, he has racked up 40 Ks while holding a solid 3.27 ERA as the closer of this Ranger team. Just 25 years old, he’s under contract through the next 2 years, holding tremendous value whether the Rangers would like to sign him to an extension, or look for a trade partner willing to spend on a young stud closer. But why would we trade someone like Kela? He’s easily the best pitcher on this pitching staff, especially the bullpen, and could be a cornerstone of this team for the future that they are so desperately hoping to rebuild.
Shin Soo-Choo: B+
Everyone knows the Shin-Soo Choo Express has been chugging through the first half of the season. We have seen him set a franchise on base record at 51 until baseball resumes play after the All Star break, and he has a chance to further extend his record. His first half numbers don’t jump off the page, but hitting .293 with 18 HR and 43 RBI, he’s still a solid piece to this team even with his defense slowly becoming a liability. He’s currently on pace to reach a career high in home runs, as well his highest batting average since 2010. His On-Base percentage (OBP), is also at .405 so far, the highest in his tenure as a Texas Ranger and the highest since he recorded a .423 in 2013. So mainly hitting in the DH spot, he has only appeared in the OF in 29 games this season, primarily letting him focus on his plate approach. Choo is having a great year, but he will have to stay healthy to continue his success in the 2nd half.
Nomar Mazara: B+
A player that doesn’t get enough praise is Nomar Mazara. Sitting at 15 HR and 58 RBI at the All Star Break, he is on pace for career highs in batting avg, HR, RBI, Slugging, and On Base percentage. The past 2 seasons, he has hit 20 HR each year, reaching the 100 RBI mark last year as well. Maz is quietly and consistently turning into one of the better all-around players on the roster, only committing 2 fielding errors this season, on pace for a new career low. We have all been waiting for Nomar’s breakout season, and maybe this 2nd half will answer our question. He has developed into an everyday player with a very high ceiling, and he should definitely be considered to be the Rangers first half MVP.
All in all, the Rangers first half has gone as expected by some. They have some young roster pieces in place with Kela and Maz, but the Rangers will need some improvement from Odor, Gallo, and Profar in order to have confidence in this young roster. Let us know who you think should be the Rangers first half MVP by voting at dalsportsnation.com!!