2012 Organizational Rankings: #3 – Texas

Read the methodology behind the ratings here. Remember that the grading scale is 20-80, with 50 representing league average.

#30 – Baltimore
#29 – Houston
#28 – Oakland
#27 – Pittsburgh
#26 – San Diego
#25 – Minnesota
#24 – Chicago White Sox
#23 – Seattle
#22 – Kansas City
#21 – Cleveland
#20 – New York Mets
#19 – Los Angeles Dodgers
#18 – Colorado
#17 — Miami
#16 — Arizona
#15 — Cincinnati
#14 — Chicago Cubs
#13 — Milwaukee
#12 — San Francisco
#11 — Washington

#10 — Tampa Bay
#9 – Toronto
#8 – Atlanta
#7 – Detroit
#6 – St. Louis
#5 – Philadelphia

#4 – Anaheim

Texas 2011 Rating: #7

2012 Outlook: 68 (2nd)

The Rangers return most of a team that reached the World Series for a second straight year in 2011, and they replaced their only significant departure by bringing in Yu Darvish, billed as perhaps the best international free agent in history. There just isn’t an area of the game where the Rangers are deficient, as they have one of the league’s deepest pitching staffs, best defenses, and an offense that can score runs in bunches. They have a terrific, balanced roster, and they are very likely to contend for their third consecutive World Series appearance.

That said, there are some nits to pick, and when we’re splitting hairs between great teams, small things can often be the difference. The Rangers grade out as having just the second best roster for 2012 in part due to some positional depth issues and a lack of line-up balance. The Rangers regular line-up features six right-handed bats and just three left-handed hitters, with Josh Hamilton representing the only real significant weapon the team has from the left side of the plate. Hamilton’s frequent injury issues exacerbate this issue, as the middle of the order is almost exclusively right-handed when he’s not in the line-up. Given the expanding nature of Major League bullpens, many teams now carry right-handed specialists, and a string of RHBs makes the Rangers too easy to match up against in late game situations. This problem isn’t easily rectified, either, as the team is unlikely to trade any of the RHBs any time soon, so they’re just going to have to overcome this imbalance. A breakout year from Mitch Moreland would help significantly in this regard.

2013+ Outlook: 63 (2nd)

Not only do the Rangers have a lot of good players, they have a lot of good young Major League players, many of whom are under club control for years to come. While some chinks in the armor may develop after this season, especially if Hamilton and/or Napoli leave via free agency, Texas has the core of a long term contender in place, and a farm system that looks poised to add even more talent to the roster in the next few years.

Marc Hulet rated the Rangers farm system as the fifth best in the game on the strength of significant depth and a top-tier youngster in Jurickson Profar. The Rangers have also supplemented their current prospects with “drunken sailor” spending on the international market in recent years, dominating Latin America with large signing bonuses and adding big crops of young talent to the system. With the new CBA limiting what teams can spend on foreign prospects, this pipeline will be cut off going forward, but Texas made sure to extract all the value they could from it under the old rules. These deals should continue to provide the Rangers with a stream of talent for many years to come.

Financial Resources: 63 (6th)

The financial turnaround the team has made since being bought through a bankruptcy auction is nothing short of staggering, and a new television contract has provided them with the revenues necessary to make significant splashes in each of the last two off-seasons. That said, there’s still a pretty decent gap between what Texas is spending on their big league roster this year ($120 million) and what the true upper tier revenue clubs are spending ($175-$200 million). The Rangers certainly aren’t going to struggle for cash, but they don’t play in a market like NY or LA where there’s a seemingly endless pool of potential customers, and they’re likely going to settle in as a big spender that’s just a step down from the big city teams.

They’re also battling against the same problem that every successful contender runs into – their formerly good cheap players become more expensive, and they can’t keep the core together for the same price for eternity. With Hamilton looking likely headed for free agency, the Rangers are either going to lose their star outfielder or have to dedicate up to 15% of their payroll space in order to retain him. Likewise, Ian Kinsler is apparently asking for a large contract extension to stay in the fold, and the Rangers didn’t make any progress on a deal to keep Mike Napoli away from free agency at season’s end. The team probably can’t afford to keep this group together and still be able to fill holes that arise at other positions, so some tough decisions will have to be made.

Baseball Operations: 62 (5th)

The Rangers might be run by a young GM who got his degree from Cornell, but make no mistake, this is an organization that prides itself on placing a huge value on traditional scouting, and can credit almost all of their success to evaluations that were made based on the “old school” method of evaluation. They’ve just figured out how to blend that kind of process with a correct understanding of the value of player skills, and that has led them to targeting and developing players that are appreciated by both the scouting and statistical communities.

From Adrian Beltre to Yu Darvish, the team has invested heavily in guys who not only have strong tools but also strong performance track records, or have the kinds of skills that should play well in Texas’ park. They haven’t hit a home run on every move, but the Rangers a perfect example of what a team can do even without handing over the front office to a legion of number-crunchers. The Rangers lean heavily on their scouts, but their scouts understand what is valuable and what is not, and that is perhaps the best blend you can have.

Overall: 65 (3rd)

This is actually a virtual tie for second, as the overall score difference between the Rangers and the #2 franchise was a small fraction of a point. They’re a strong organization across the board, featuring a talented roster that’s ready to win and enough long term assets to keep winning in the future. Their organization is well run and they have significant resources. There really isn’t anything to criticize here. The Rangers have made a remarkable turnaround and are now a model franchise in baseball.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Max
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Max
4 years 2 months ago

…Leaving Boston and NYY as the top two franchises. Don’t like it, but can’t sat it’s a shock.

YanksFanInBeantown
Member
YanksFanInBeantown
4 years 2 months ago

(Leaving New York as the top franchise)

nik
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nik
4 years 2 months ago

I don’t think the Red Sox should be in top 2.. based on what exactly? Bad contracts? Aging players? Coach who’s already stirring up drama? Losing the best GM in their history?

28 this year
Guest
28 this year
4 years 2 months ago

I think due to their collapse, everyone went from overrating them to underrating them. They still have a strong core and a lot of good players. Coupled with a high payroll and money left for deadline upgrades, they are still a dangerous team. But I think the Rangers are slightly better only because of their farm system but financial reasons have the Red Sox way ahead still.

Mark
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Mark
4 years 2 months ago

It’s not just one collapse. They were pretty terrible in the beginning of the year too. I might be willing to chalk up one streak to luck, but two? That points to a team that’s more flawed than we gave it credit for.

CC was worse than anybody could have expected sure. But they downgraded SS fairly significantly, and as bad as the rotation was last year they they’ve got a LOOGY or #5 SP in Doubront and a set up reliever in Bard as the fourth/fifth starter. Beckett/Buchholz are likely to miss time as they have the past few years. The rotation is fairly vulnerable, the outfield is a mess (especially with CC out and Sweeney as the RF), Ellsbury is a regression candidate, Youk has missed 30 or so games in each of the past 2-3 years.

That’s a fairly flawed team. The bullpen isn’t that great either with Bailey out till August, leaving Melancon and Aceves as the only reliable guys.

They’re still an above average team, but they’re not some juggernaut that’s going to steam roll the AL. Especially since TB, LAA, NY, potentially Texas and the Tigers have all significantly upgraded.

RealTalk
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RealTalk
4 years 2 months ago

“It’s not just one collapse. They were pretty terrible in the beginning of the year too. I might be willing to chalk up one streak to luck, but two? That points to a team that’s more flawed than we gave it credit for.”

Um, they were also far and away the best team in baseball for the five months in between those streas, which is a pretty decent sample size. If you choose to think early April + September is more predictive than, say, mid April-August, well I disagree. So to recap, they sucked the first 12 games or so, and then were terrible the last month. By the last month, they had two starters get injuries that required TJ, one starter shut down with a back injury, Beckett and Lester pitched uncharacteristically terrible. They still scored the third most runs in baseball, and for as bad as they played that last month (and it was TERRIBLE) they still needed some absolutely flukey terrible luck to miss the playoffs.

All of this still ignores that this process isn’t solely about your 2012 prospects. It’s about your resources, front office (hint: Theo’s very smart, but he had an incredible staff), your 2012 outlook (at worst, they are a playoff contender in the toughest division in baseball), and 2013+, which is very good. Saying they “aren’t some juggernaut” misses the point, because the Yankees are going to be #1 and I don’t see them as some juggernaut either…I don’t see any current team as a juggernaut. Seems like an extreme strawman argument.

RealTalk
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RealTalk
4 years 2 months ago

I meant to say the Red Sox scored the third most runs in the AL during their September slump. They had some of the worst pitching in recent memory that month. Wakefield was pitching on fumes and Lackey was pitching hurt. It wasn’t a normal situation, any team that dealt with that many key injuries to their staff would’ve struggled mightily.

Jonathan
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Jonathan
4 years 2 months ago

@ RealTalk,

For all the talk of how bad the Sox were last year, they were so good for those five months that they literally could’ve made the playoffs by playing mere .300 ball in September. If they’d managed .500, they would’ve had the top record in the AL.

Yet for some reason, the one month sample size manages to trump the much larger sample size for the vast majority of people.

The current analysis of the Red Sox is a situation that manages to defy all potential logic.

Mark
Guest
Mark
4 years 2 months ago

But they weren’t the best team in baseball during a 5 month stretch. That’s the point. They had a sub 500 record for 2 months, so that makes it impossible for them to be the best team over a 5 month stretch. They had a 423 wpct in April and 259 in September.

They did have 4 excellent months. Nobody is saying otherwise. But the fact of the matter is, they’re a flawed team. A lot of people just assumed they’d steam roll everybody to the World Series, and in the process overlooked some weaknesses on the Red Sox. Some of those weaknesses still exist today. The pitching, which let them down in April and September, has gotten worse, and not better. Papelbon and Bard were the only reliable relievers in the pen from 2011 – and both are out of the bullpen in 2012. Aceves is still there, but now he’s the closer since Bailey is gone. Think we can all agree that’s not a great situation for them. Lester and Beckett are the only reliable members of the rotation – that hasn’t changed.

Buchholz is a good pitcher, but given the injury concerns and the fact he’s thrown what, > 100 innings one time in the majors, he can’t be expected to throw a ton of innings in 2012. Which is an issue, given that Bard and Doubront aren’t the most experienced (or, let’s face, it, good starting pitching options). And the guys after that aren’t exactly inspiring, as most of the options have career 5 FIP when used as starters (Aceves, Miller, etc).

Yes, the Red Sox scored a shitload of runs in 2012. But in the short term they’ve downgraded SS from Scutaro to Aviles, the OF is worse than last year with Ross/Ellsbury/Sweeney over CC/Ellsbury/Drew (and his replacements). Wrist injuries are nasty, so I wouldn’t expect CC to rebound when he returns. I think that’s a fair assumption.

And as I said before, I don’t expect Ellsbury to hit like one of the best players in the league. And if he doesn’t, then that’s a fairly big blow to the Sox offence. One that’s likely going to take a hit when Youkilis goes on his annual DL trip. He missed 40 games last year, 60 the year before that, and another 26 in 2009.

I never said to ignore the fact the Sox won over the 4 months. I was arguing you can’t or shouldn’t do what you’re doing, which is to say the Sox were dominant over 4 months and that’s a better representation of their talent level. We can’t simply ignore the losing streaks.

And I’m quite aware that this grading goes far beyond the 2012 team, but the front office, which I’ve grown less impressed by, from moves like trading away Scutaro and using that money to get Cody Ross. And their inability to accurately judge talent in FA resulting in spending millions and getting nothing of value in return. Think about all the money they had wasted last year because of ineffectiveness – Drew, CC, Lackey, Dice-K and Jenks for starters. That’s gotta be what, $50M in payroll wasted on poor free agent selection. They’ve been great at trading and drafting, but for some reason they’re just missing on just about every key FA signing here.

They’re also judged on the 2012 outlook (which I don’t think is nearly as strong as you do, as I feel they’re a 90 win team), the 2013 outlook (of which they’re generally ranked between 9-18 for their farm system, which is either slightly above average to slightly below average depending on which talent evaluator you prefer), and strong financial resources.

Put it all together, and they have a good ranking here. I’m not disagreeing with that. I just think they’re a fairly overrated team in 2012, and the result is that they’re more likely to be third in the AL East. Maybe that gets them a shot at the second Wild Card. I just don’t think that they’ll be better than the 90 wins they had last year.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan
4 years 2 months ago

@Mark

“The pitching, which let them down in April and September, has gotten worse, and not better.”

How? People say this constantly but HOW has it gotten worse? Our 3-5 last year was Wakefield, Lackey in need of TJ surgery and Andrew Miller. There is physically nowhere to go from there but up!

“he OF is worse than last year with Ross/Ellsbury/Sweeney over CC/Ellsbury/Drew (and his replacements)”

Again, how? CC put up a career worst year and Drew was our RF for all of like two weeks and our various replacements were among the league worst at the position. You go off on how Ellsbury is going to regress, but completely dismiss the possibility Crawford is just as likely to rebound to career norms as Ellsbury is to regress to career norms and Crawford and Ellsbury combined at career norms beats Ellsbury on a career year.

“I just think they’re a fairly overrated team in 2012”

Something like 5% of all analysts are picking them to make the playoffs and a good chunk of folks have gone out on a limb and said the Blue Jays may make a run for third. How is that overrated?

The Red Sox have lost ONE major contributor in Papelbon and that’s about the extent of it. The rest is addition by subtraction. The problem is that most people are basing the Sox this year on the expectations from last March combined with the the results in September while ignoring the fact that the massive disparity between those two points is NOT NORMAL. The reality is somewhere in between, the Sox weren’t the 105 win team some analysts made them out to be, nor were they (From a talent level perspective) the 90 win team they finished the season as. The reality was somewhere in between.

Again, had the Sox gone a mere .300 over that final month, they’d have made the playoffs. They’re pythag was 94-68. They’re a worse team than they were in June, but they’re a better team than they were in September. 90 wins IS a possibility if EVERYTHING goes wrong for a third year in a row, but this is a team that has gotten marginally worse from a group that had to implode in record setting fashion to miss the playoffs. You are MASSIVELY underselling them.

Mark
Guest
Mark
4 years 2 months ago

@ Jonathan

“How? People say this constantly but HOW has it gotten worse? Our 3-5 last year was Wakefield, Lackey in need of TJ surgery and Andrew Miller. There is physically nowhere to go from there but up!”

Miller wasn’t top 5 for games started, that would be Buchholz. But Buchholz would make up the starts by Miller either way, assuming he’s healthy. So it’s replacing Lackey/Wakefield with Doubront/Bard. I don’t expect Bard to be much better than Wakefield in the rotation, and while ST stats are fairly meaningless it’s not like his K:BB showed that he knew where the ball was going. I have little faith in Doubront, as he hasn’t been that successful in the minors. 7.8 K/9 and a 3.3 BB/9 in AAA don’t inspire a world of confidence here.

The bigger issue is the lack of innings that’s going to be thrown. Beckett’s not giving you 200, I doubt Buchholz does, and Bard/Doubront definitely aren’t. They’re probably on pace for 150 or so, right? So even if I’m wrong and the starters do better than I expect, the Sox are going to need to use guys like Miller or someone else to make up for the lack of innings pitched by Doubront/Bard etc. And their replacements aren’t very good. Miller has a career 4.69 FIP as a starter, and what are the other options? Aaron Cook? Aceves (career 4.94 FIP as a SP). This is a fairly big weakness here. And that’s assuming everybody stays healthy. Beckett or Lester go down for any meaningful period of time, and the pitching staff has Bard/Doubront/Miller in it at the same time. And that’s not an unlikely scenario, as most teams need to use several other starters over the course of a season.

“Again, how? CC put up a career worst year and Drew was our RF for all of like two weeks and our various replacements were among the league worst at the position. You go off on how Ellsbury is going to regress, but completely dismiss the possibility Crawford is just as likely to rebound to career norms as Ellsbury is to regress to career norms and Crawford and Ellsbury combined at career norms beats Ellsbury on a career year.”

CC is also coming off a wrist injury, and you can’t predict a bounceback season as guys who injure their wrist often don’t have their power back when they return. As for RF, Reddick played at least 50 games there and he hit above league average, so let’s drop this nonsense about everybody who played there was terrible. Drew was terrible for 65 or so games in right, not two weeks. It’s not like Sweeney is this big upgrade here. Better than Drew was last year, sure, but again, Reddick was pretty solid and it’s not like Sweeney is this productive player.

And there’s a difference between Ellsbury and Crawford. Crawford is missing at least one month this season and is coming off a wrist injury. Expecting him to bounceback after both missing time AND being injured isn’t realistic. Ellsbury hit better than he has at any point in his career, and it’s unlikely he hits at the same level.

I didn’t say Crawford wouldn’t go back to his career numbers because I don’t like the Red Sox. I said he’s unlikely to revert because he’s coming off a wrist injury, which often saps power from hitters. This isn’t some new concept here. Wrist injuries linger even after a guy is able to play again.

“Something like 5% of all analysts are picking them to make the playoffs and a good chunk of folks have gone out on a limb and said the Blue Jays may make a run for third. How is that overrated?”

Because of arguments like yours.

“The Red Sox have lost ONE major contributor in Papelbon and that’s about the extent of it. The rest is addition by subtraction.”

Their second best reliever was Daniel Bard and he’s not in the bullpen. So technically, they lost two major contributors. Both of whom had a sub 3 FIP last year in the pen. That’s not a minor thing.

“The problem is that most people are basing the Sox this year on the expectations from last March combined with the the results in September while ignoring the fact that the massive disparity between those two points is NOT NORMAL. The reality is somewhere in between, the Sox weren’t the 105 win team some analysts made them out to be, nor were they (From a talent level perspective) the 90 win team they finished the season as. The reality was somewhere in between.”

And this is what I keep pointing out. They’re not somewhere between the 90 win team they were last year and the unrealistic 105 win team that pundits had them at. The Red Sox were an 89 win team in 2010 and a 90 win team in 2011. They had virtually the exact same team, with the major difference between that Beltre and V-Mart were replaced by CC and Gonzalez. In 2010 the excuse was that everybody was injured. In 2011 the excuses were that the team collapsed.

Maybe we should stop making excuses for them, and recognize that they’re a 90 win team.

Psst
Guest
Psst
4 years 2 months ago

I think it will become apparent in the near future that those top two franchise have been hamstrung more than we knew by this new CBA. That 189 ceiling looks pretty low when you realize how much money they currently or soon will have tied up in long contracts

Boston has bargains in Pedroia, Lester, and Bard everyone else is market rate or soon will be in the case of guys like Ellesbury. AGon may very well end up being a bargain but that has as much to do with other teams driving up the price of elite hitters as anything else even if it is a bargain it is still 20+ million AAV.
New York has bargains in Gardner, Pineda, Nova, as well as Granderson, Cano, Swisher but those three will be getting expensive soon. Both teams will be relying more than ever on their farm system but with the changed draft rules they won’t be having anymore 6 picks in the top 100.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan
4 years 2 months ago

All this is going to result in is a more hardline stance in contracts.

The Yankees, by all accounts, outbid the next highest team for Sabathia by something like $40MM in 2008. They probably won’t do that again.

$189 may seem like a little, but it’s still a lot and it’s going to go up in due course. As their more expensive players roll off, they will be replaced by lower priced players as the big market teams adapt to a newly diminished market.

Then again, I could be completely off base and the whole thing could level out due to the sudden insanely aggressive spending of mid-market teams like the Reds and maybe everyone will just kind of normalize. That’s good for the game in the end, though.

RealTalk
Guest
RealTalk
4 years 2 months ago

They only have to get under the 189 ceiling one season to reset the tax, and then they’ll probably load up again for 2-3 seasons, and then reset it again. I doubt the Yankees operate under the budget year in and year out moving foward.

Psst
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Psst
4 years 2 months ago

You two may be right but as big as the revenues for those two are I think the other teams will work to make that harder to translate in to direct payroll.

Jonathan
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Jonathan
4 years 2 months ago

@Psst,

They can work all they want, it’s not going to make a huge difference. The Yankees and Red Sox have such a massive revenue stream that the only people that can bring down their potential as an organization is themselves. Just look back historically over the last few decades, the only time either team did poorly for an extended period of time was due to incompetence in the front office rather than lack of resources. As long as these two teams have vaguely competent front offices, they’ll be around the top of the class.

Psst
Guest
Psst
4 years 2 months ago

What you are failing to realize is that whatever advantage the BoSox once had in Payroll is slipping away, there is little reason to think that with these revenues streams begining to flow that 180-200 million dollar window will no longer just be the playground for those top two. PHI, TOR, WSN, CHC, LAA, LAD, HOU, TEX, MIA, and STL could all conceiveably join them at that level in the next ten years, certainly in the 150-200 window.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan
4 years 2 months ago

One other thing I forgot to note on that one:

Assuming a team who spent an entire month playing sub .300 ball and STILL finished with 90 wins is not capable of topping 90 wins is a remarkable lapse in judgment.

ausmax
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ausmax
4 years 2 months ago

couldn’t you just as easily argue that a team that is capable of playing sub .300 ball for an entire month is going to struggle to win more than 90 games?

NS
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NS
4 years 2 months ago

Not just as easily, no. That’s exactly the error (“lapse”) he is referring to.

John
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John
4 years 2 months ago

Losing their best GM in the Sox history isn’t really that big of an accomplishment. It’s not like he was doing any good the last 3 years. People are down on the Sox because of the collapse and for the first time in awhile they didn’t spend big in free agency. Everyone gives Theo credit for the rings but Duquette really laid the foundation for a winning team.

28 this year
Guest
28 this year
4 years 2 months ago

When this series is done, do you think you could post a google doc or whatever with the list of each category in order from top to bottom? I would love to take a look at that and it becomes difficult to continuously keep track of those rankings. Thanks a bunch, much fewer qualms with this years organizational rankings. Everything seems very similar to perception and there aren’t any egregious over or under ranks. Great job this year.

Phrozen
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Phrozen
4 years 2 months ago

This!

lonestarball
Guest
lonestarball
4 years 2 months ago

Toronto’s baseball operations are superior to the Rangers’ baseball operations? Okay then…

YanksFanInBeantown
Member
YanksFanInBeantown
4 years 2 months ago

Alex Anthopoulos is a beast.

Taylor
Guest
Taylor
4 years 2 months ago

Napoli for Francisco

Phil
Guest
Phil
4 years 2 months ago

Dustin McGowan extension

Frank
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Frank
4 years 2 months ago

As with most minor league system rankings, the difference between the 2nd place ranking and the 5th place ranking is probably not very much and could easily be argued the other way around.

Sleight of Hand Pro
Guest
Sleight of Hand Pro
4 years 2 months ago

honestly, the front office rankings should be taken out of this whole equation for next years rankings. we know so little of whats going on and who is responsible for what… no amount of speculating paragraphs from the FG authors can change my opinion that none of them really know what theyre talking about in this regard.

and if they are going to do it, it damn sure shouldnt weigh the same as 2013+ Outlook. give it 5% or dont do it.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
4 years 2 months ago

Wow! You are 180 degrees wrong.
First, I’d rather have the front office rankings and none of the other stuff rather than the other way around. That’s the only part of these rankings that is really interesting.
Second, what difference does it make who in the FO makes the decisions or how they go about it? All that matters is what decisions they actually make.

Sleight of Hand Pro
Guest
Sleight of Hand Pro
4 years 2 months ago

it would be really interesting if i thought the writers had extensive knowledge of the front office workings, but i dont believe thats the case. i work in marketing for an NFL team, i have good friends in the scouting dept and coaching staff of said team, and i still have very little knowledge of anything they do or their reasoning behind it.

Richie
Member
Richie
4 years 2 months ago

Off the top of my head, I’d guess 6 right-handed bats and 3 left-handed bats in a regular lineup to be the single most common distribution. I can’t imagine that it’s unusual.

Baseball Bob
Guest
4 years 2 months ago

Because of switch hitters, many teams have a better left/right balance against all types of pitching. If you have no switch-hitters, 6/3 seems pretty normal.

Baltar
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Baltar
4 years 2 months ago

This lefty-righty thing was always way overblown by managers and it has become overblown in FanGraphs.
Handedness only makes about a 10% variation in performance, and the number of PA’s against LOOGIES and ROOGIES is a small percentage of all PA’s.
Just get the best 9 players and forget the truly trivial.

Prashanth Francis
Guest
4 years 2 months ago

Yeah, it doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal to me.

jscape2000
Guest
4 years 2 months ago

I think it’s a bigger deal when all your top mashers share and handedness (so that a specialist can face them all in an inning). 6-3 isn’t an issue, it’s the managers lineup construction that puts 3 or 4 RHB in a row.

Prashanth Francis
Guest
4 years 2 months ago

Also, it seems like a good bet that at some point this season at least one of Julio Borbon or Leonys Martin are on the bench as a 4th/5th OF type, in which case they would have another LHB.

Ira
Guest
Ira
4 years 2 months ago

When you’re biggest complaint about the lineup is that its too right handed, that’s not much.

Not too many teams sport 30 home run power from second base, center field, right field, third base, and catcher. add in some power potential from left field and first base, and 30 steal ability from second base and shortstop, and that’s a pretty stacked lineup. (with a speed guy on the bench as well).

to put it another way, 5 Rangers played 100 games and had an ISO of .2 or more. (Kinsler, Napoli, Cruz, Beltre, and Hamilton).

johnorpheus
Guest
johnorpheus
4 years 2 months ago

Boston above Texas is criminal for me. There have been a lot of rankings I don’t agree with, but this one just plan sucks. Unproven GM, aging roster, some bad contracts, and a middle of the pack farm system over a perennial powerhouse in Texas.

Basically, this ranking system has turned into who has the most cash. I don’t like it at all. I thought ESPN did a much better job with their org future rankings.

jon
Guest
jon
4 years 2 months ago

Perennial powerhouse? They have made the playoffs twice this century

Yes they are a very good team but lets not go crazy, now that the angles dont suck they might not even make the playoffs

RealTalk
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RealTalk
4 years 2 months ago

I think

A) You overrate the GM. Boston’s staff lost no one other than Theo. I’m sorry, but Theo is not solely responsible for that show, they remain one of the best and most innovative front offices in baseball.

B) They don’t have an aging roster. Their oldest starter is Beckett (31 years old), their bullpen options are all youngish (Melancon, Aceves, Bailey), and other than Ortiz and Youk all their starters are firmly in their prime. This isn’t an old team at all.

C) Middle of the pack farm system comment v. perennial power house in Texas. They ranked in the top 10 in multiple outlets, and their farm system is quite deep. I’d give Texas the edge, but it’s much closer than the difference in resources. Also, the Red Sox farm system has produced enough talent the past decade to qualify for power house status…Hanley, Masterson, Buchholz, Lester, Bard, Ellsbury, Pedroia, Youk, etc. The Red Sox have been a player development machine for a long time, much longer than Texas.

I wouldn’t be mad if Texas ranked above Boston, but if you think this is “criminal”, well, you might just be a biased Texas fan..because I can assure you this is extremely reasonable.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan
4 years 2 months ago

“Unproven GM”

The guy’s been with the franchise’s front office since before Epstein showed up. He worked closely with Epstein for Epstein’s entire tenure and has been involved heavily with the franchise for more than a decade. As far as “unproven” guys go, he’s pretty proven. On top of that, as interim GM in ’05/’06, he green lit the trade that basically got us the 2007 WS.

“aging roster”

Funny story. This may have changed recently, but last I checked, the Red Sox roster is actually lower than the Rays in average age. The majority of their top producers (Gonzalez, Pedroia, Ellsbury, Lester, Buchholz) are under thirty and their oldest players (Ortiz, Youkilis) are likely to be replaced in the next two years by younger options like Lavarnway and Middlebrooks.

Compare that to Texas (Whom you are arguing should be ranked higher), who have plenty of aging players themselves; a great deal of their prime talent (Beltre, Napoli, Cruz, Hamilton, Lewis, Nathan) are already 30 or over.

“some bad contracts”

This I’ll give you, but nothing crippling to a team with their payroll. Matsuzaka, Ortiz and Youkilis all potentially come off of the books (Youkilis has a club option which may or may not be exercised depending on his 2012 performance). Guys like Lester, Buchholz, Gonzalez and Pedroia are all signed to long term deals and likely aren’t going to elicit many “bad” contract complaints and Beckett’s long term deal isn’t better than market value, but still not really a bad deal. That leaves us with Lackey (Clear cut bad contract) and debatably Crawford (Overpay, but how severe it is is a situation of great debate). So we have one, MAYBE two bad contracts, both of which are more than offset by extremely team friendly deals to Lester, Buchholz, Gonzalez and Pedroia. They’ve basically got, at worst, $34MM ($20MM for Crawford assuming he’s garbage forever and $14MM for Lackey after his injury clause kicked in) locked into bad contracts and $14 million of that is gone in three years.

“a middle of the pack farm system”

A middle of the pack farm system with a lot of admitted upside. Anyone who cites their farm as middle of the pack readily states that there’s a ton of potential talent in the low to mid minors, meaning they could make a huge leap forward really quickly. They could probably place anywhere from top ten to bottom ten come midseason. Sure, their farm system isn’t nearly as good as the Rangers’, but the massive disparity in financial capabilities more than offsets that advantage.

As indicated by others, the Red Sox are as underrated this year as they were overrated last year (Maybe even moreso, a lot of people question them being even a third place team in their division when they’re clearly a potential playoff contender). One bad season doesn’t suddenly turn a franchise from powerhouse to mediocre franchise. Things like their collective age and their albatross contracts are MASSIVELY overblown.

Contrary to popular belief amongst people who want to crown a team that’s been good for a whopping two years now, the Red Sox are still probably in the second best shape going forward in the MLB.

Matt
Guest
Matt
4 years 2 months ago

Ive never heard Colby or Nathan described as part of our “prime talent” before. Also hamilton is likely gone after this year anyway. Admittedly that is a problem in its own right but we have A) a starting staff of Holland(25), Yu(25), Harrison(26), Feliz(23-soon to be 24) for at least the next 3 years plus they have Ogando, Martin Perez and Neil Ramirez who should all be capable of filling the other rotation spot on the cheap for the next few years. Its odd because of the history of the Rangers but our strength now is our young pitching.

Throw in a farm system what will boast the odds on favorite to be the number 1 prospect in baseball going into next year along with incredible depth and its not hard to see why people expect the rangers to be good long term. The Red Sox? Their future ranking is entirely based on money.

Jonathan
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Jonathan
4 years 2 months ago

Again, I never said the Rangers didn’t have a better farm, what I said is that the massive disparity in revenue stream and financial capability essentially negates the comparatively lower difference in farm quality.

Matt
Guest
Matt
4 years 2 months ago

The thing is, that money isn’t as huge as you make it out to be unless you truly believe the rangers are going to stay at 120 when they are making over $100 mil a year from cable. That’s just foolish. We also have significantly less in the way of bad contracts. The entirety of the financial disparity is eaten up by CC and Lackey. (note I’m not saying its a given that CC sucks in forever)

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan
4 years 2 months ago

@Matt,

As stated below, this is operating under the assumptions that:

1. The luxury tax will never rise
2. The Red Sox will adamantly refuse to utilize their financial advantage should teams like the Rangers further close the gap on them in terms of payroll.

Neither of those two things is in the realm of probability. If it looks like their biggest advantage is disappearing, the Red Sox will blow by the luxury tax, because they can afford to. The Rangers cannot.

Andy
Guest
Andy
4 years 2 months ago

Cannot afford to? You don’t know that. The fact the Rangers haven’t spent $50m more this year doesn’t mean they don’t have it. They’re very choosy when it comes to opening the coffers. Won’t? Probably true. Can’t? Probably not.

Will
Guest
Will
4 years 2 months ago

“The Rangers certainly aren’t going to struggle for cash, but they don’t play in a market like NY or LA where there’s a seemingly endless pool of potential customers, and they’re likely going to settle in as a big spender that’s just a step down from the big city teams.”

While the Rangers don’t have the same historical ties to their fanbase, I think you’re underestimating the size of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. DFW is the 4th largest metro area in the US (6.4mil people), but doesn’t have to share the market with another team like LA and NY do. In theory, that means that the Rangers’ fan base is just as large as the Dodgers or Angels (LA metro population is 12.8mil), and larger than everyone else but the Yankees and Mets.

Well-Beered Englishman
Guest
Well-Beered Englishman
4 years 2 months ago

In practice, the Rangers also get roughly half the rest of Texas, although Astros fandom is pretty prevalent in my area (around San Antonio – the largest American city without an MLB team).

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan
4 years 2 months ago

Size of market =/= baseball market. Toronto is one of the largest markets population wise in North America (And considering they’re the only Canadian team, they basically get a country to themselves “potential” market-wise) but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they have a very minimal market for baseball currently and will never touch areas like New York or Boston in terms of popularity of the sport.

While DFW is a huge population area, it’s also pretty much dominated by football and to a lesser extent (Due to the history of the Texas Triangle) basketball. You really can’t compare the Rangers to the big guns of revenue.

philkid3
Member
4 years 2 months ago

While it will always be football first, DFW is mostly just sports crazy. Give them a winner — and that’s what’s happening — and I guarantee you they will happily become a baseball town. Not ahead of football, but it’s not like they have to choose one or the other.

Sleight of Hand Pro
Guest
Sleight of Hand Pro
4 years 2 months ago

for the love of god, fix the darryl philbin ad!

Matt
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Matt
4 years 2 months ago

They are better now, they have better future talent and a better front office than the red sox. How exactly does a small advantage in resources(and it is fairly small make up for that) I can see ny ahead of them but Boston makes no sense

RealTalk
Guest
RealTalk
4 years 2 months ago

Because the “better future talent” and “better front office” is debatable, and either way the difference is smaller than the “small” difference in resources.

It seems like a lot of Texas fans are a bit delusional today. I get that two straight WS appearances can do that, but damn…

Matt
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Matt
4 years 2 months ago

How exactly is future talent debatable?

Jonathan
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Jonathan
4 years 2 months ago

Ummm, are you being serious? Did you actually just ask how WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE is not debatable?

Unless you’re Nostradamus, you may want to rethink that question.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan
4 years 2 months ago

Here’s an example of why farm rankings are debateable:

The A’s and Orioles both had top ten farm systems in 2009.

Both teams still stink out loud, despite not having actually traded away any of their top talent. The Marlins managed to go from top three to bottom three in only two years.

Farm rankings are not always dependable.

Matt
Guest
Matt
4 years 2 months ago

We are talking future expectations of current players/prospects. Is it possible that the sox outperform the rangers in the future? Sure, but based on the information available now, the rangers future is significantly brighter especially since financial issues shouldn’t be considered in that category

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan
4 years 2 months ago

“Small advantage in resources” is essentially the understatement of the decade.

Boston’s been a big baseball market since the early twentieth century and it’s been a massive baseball market since 1967.

Texas has been fond of baseball for about two years now.

The difference in resources is extremely large.

Matt
Guest
Matt
4 years 2 months ago

The resources of both are essentially capped at 189 mil a year(for all the talk that the Red Sox can exceed the cap, they traded a 3 win SS for nothing and will be lucky to get replacement level production there now. Either it was monetarily driven, or they are stupid.

The rangers payroll is at 120 BEFORE the tv revenue kicks in. If we can support a $120 mil payroll pre TV deal, we can hit 189 if need be. So yes, the financial differential is small.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan
4 years 2 months ago

@Matt,

The Rangers have said that they plan to maintain a payroll in its current range and you’re ignoring the fact that the luxury tax WILL increase over time. Again, the revenue streams are not even close to comparable. If teams like the Rangers start getting closer in payroll, the big markets WILL start blowing past the luxury tax again because it’s where their competitive advantage lies. The Sox have said before that while they want to get below the tax, they will go over if they deem necessary. Scutaro was traded because the actual talent level tradeoff between Scutaro and Aviles is really not that large. The Sox didn’t spend big this year because nothing on the market really met their needs at anything approaching a reasonable price (Injury aside, Bailey at a third or less of Papelbon’s salary was better for the team as a whole and there were no quality pitchers on the market that went for anything approaching market value).

Again, there is NO comparison, the Red Sox have a massive financial advantage over the Rangers. But by all means, base the probable future of a massive baseball franchise off of the results of ONE year while ignoring the past ten.

Andy
Guest
Andy
4 years 2 months ago

The Astros have for years had a huge fan base, possibly bigger than either Houston football team or the Rockets. Even with arguably the worst team in baseball right now, their attendance is better than a lot of other teams. Have they ever been as popular as the Yankees? Not even close. But baseball has been loved in Texas since the Colt 45s.

DFW is different, I think, because for years the Rangers were mediocre or bad, and the Cowboys weren’t. Then there’s college football, which is big all over the south. But don’t get the idea that Texas is suddenly waking up to find baseball. The Astros went to the playoffs for years and years before finally making it to the WS, and had a great following the whole time.

philkid3
Member
4 years 2 months ago

I’ll bet the Rangers can afford to keep Hamilton, Napoli, and Kinsler in house, it’s more a question if they should. If Napoli wants to get paid based on 2011, and Hamilton thinks he can produce at a high level in to his old age, it’s better to let at least one of them go and use the money elsewhere.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan
4 years 2 months ago

This is the big rub. It’s a lot like the situation the Reds seem to be putting themselves in. The Rangers absolutely have the funds to keep their big guns around, but the question is whether it’s good for the long term future of the club. If it isn’t fiscally viable, though, is their farm system good enough to replace that many huge pieces in so short of a timeframe without dipping heavily into free agency, where they’re at a reasonable disadvantage?

philkid3
Member
4 years 2 months ago

Either it is, or they take a short-term hit for long-term stability.

ccoop
Guest
ccoop
4 years 2 months ago

ruben amaro got his degree from stanford. just saying…

nik
Guest
nik
4 years 2 months ago

what are you saying?

ccoop
Guest
ccoop
4 years 2 months ago

stanford > cornell :)

Linsanity (what is that again?)
Guest
Linsanity (what is that again?)
4 years 2 months ago

“Chinks in the armor” Dave? Koji Uehara is offended.

Richie
Member
Richie
4 years 2 months ago

(I’ll confess to an initial :-)) before thinking, ‘wait, I think I’m supposed to be offended’)

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan
4 years 2 months ago

In an unrelated story, Adam Dunn’s OPS is 1.000 right now. Rebound!

Frank
Guest
Frank
4 years 2 months ago

Platoon splits are overrated. Even when picking nits.

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