This is part 4 of 6 of The Yankee U’s preview of the 2010 American League Championship Series. Part 1 examined CJ Wilson and Colby Lewis. Part 2 looked at Cliff Lee and Tommy Hunter. Part 3 examined Texas’ offense.
Texas has a solid bullpen with a lot of decent parts. I’ve prepared a chart with all vital data, and we’ll start with that.
I’ve highlighted in teal blue the numbers I find to be the most interesting. You can peruse the chart for yourself, but I’m going to take a guided tour of the most relevant data. Neftali Feliz and Darren Oliver are alike in several key respects. They both have great strikeout stuff with fantastic K/BB ratios. Their underlying statistics confirm their low ERAs, Oliver registering low marks across the board. Feliz has a great WXRL score, meaning that he’s done well in high leverage spots in 2010. The Yankees have touched Feliz before, but he’s been a very good reliever for the Rangers this year and throws 98 mph fastballs like it’s just no thing. Interestingly, Feliz has a reverse split. He’s been far tougher on lefties than righties in 2010, holding them to an OPS-against of .409. It’s a very small sample (131 plate appearances), so it’s something to watch going forward. Oliver also has two unique skills: getting groundballs and pitching to lefty hitters. His GB/FB ratio is the highest amongst all Texas relievers, and he’ll be used primarily in the seventh and eighth innings, particularly to face lefties.
Another notable reliever is Darren O’Day, who is particularly adept at limiting walks. He’s also likely to see time in the seventh and eighth innings, especially to face right-handed hitters. Other relievers are lower on the totem pole, but it will be interesting to see how the Rangers utilize Derek Holland. He’s been tough on lefties in 2010, but often struggles with his command.
Note: after this preview was completed I learned that the Rangers had made two roster changes, adding LHPs Kirkman and Rapada. Dustin Nippert and Esteban German were removed. You can learn about Kirkman and Rapada here and here. Nippert is no great loss for Texas, and Kirkman and Rapada are no great gains. I hope you’ll forgive me for not updating the chart. If you won’t forgive me for not updating the chart then you can go make your own chart.
I’ve also prepared a chart with relevant data for the Rangers’ bench.
All the relevant data is there, the PA, tripleslash, wOBA and HR. I’ve also included a column called Special Skill. Each one of these players has a special purpose on the Rangers’ lineup. The Special Skill is why.
Jorge Cantu’s special skill is twofold. For one, he can play both first and third base. He’s primarily a first baseman, but he’s essentially their corner infielder backup. Secondly, I’ve listed “0.446” for his Special Skill. 0.446 is his lifetime SLG percentage, showing that Cantu has a history of having a bit of pop in the bat. He’s certainly having a down year in 2010, but his track record suggests a decent amount of power, not a bad thing for someone who could possibly pinch-hit in late innings.
Julio Borbon’s Special Skill is “15”, which represents the number of stolen bases he’s accumulated in 2010. This number would most assuredly be higher if he had any way of getting on base with any regularity. Since he doesn’t, he’ll be used primarily as a backup outfielder and pinch runner. He’s fast, and he’d be a tough out on the basepaths.
Andres Blanco is the other backup infielder on the Rangers’ roster, and for that reason I’ve listed his Special Skill as “IF”. Blanco can play 2B, SS or 3B, and he doesn’t have much use with the bat.
The fourth bench bat for the Rangers is Matt Treanor, and his special skill is “C”. Treanor’s the backup catcher, and his skills involve being the backup catcher and being married to Misty May Treanor.
Last and definitely least, is Jeff “Smiley McChuckleface” Francoeur. I’ve listed his Special Skill as ” :)” because Francoeur is known to woo local media members with the power of his smile, leading them to write articles like this. So, this is the part of my ALCS preview where I refuse to acknowledge that Francouer has limited use as a platoon player hitting left-handed pitchers, and simply assert the following: Jeff Francoeur is a replacement-level player who gets love from the media simply because he smiles at reporters. He’s awful and everything you need to know about Jeff Francoeur you can find in this quote from him while he played in Atlanta, a quote that has been seared permanently into my memory:
The best part of all?
That’s the scoreboard at Turner Field. See that OBP section?
Oh Jeff. May you find your rightful place in indy ball ever so soon.
This concludes part 4 of The Yankee U’s 2010 American League Championship Series preview. Come back later for part 5, when Moshe examines Texas’ defense. Following that will be Part 6: Summary and Prediction.