by Matt Trueblood
on February 17, 2010 @ 00:00:00
In a ballpark that encourages offense the way The Ballpark in Arlington does, a lot of managers might elect to play it safe on the base paths. Correctly identifying his team as a home for adept thieves, however, manager Ron Washington's team ran 185 times in 2009, and did so with success.
The Rangers as a team put the ball in the air a good bit last season, even more than they typically have. They could stand to do so even more. The park is highly favorable to extra-base hits and less friendly to grounders. In fact, groundballs turn into outs at above-average rates in Ameriquest.
Adding Vladimir Guerrero and giving the full-time center field and leadoff spots to Julio Borbon shake up the offense somewhat. Still, fantasy owners can feel fairly supported while investing in Rangers because of this consistently productive environment for any batter.
It took 10 years of frustrating 8-7 losses, but the team has finally committed itself to balance, and for them, balance means more pitching. With that idea, they added Rich Harden, who looks to complete a potentially deep but young rotation.
Team president Nolan Ryan has made no secret of his desire for his pitchers to build up stamina and pitch deep into games. It has only just started to show up at the major league level, but the team has embraced the notion. It didn't hurt that the club brought in one of the best pitching coaches in the game, Mike Maddux, prior to last season.
Josh Hamilton and his balky knees and cannon arm will settle nicely into left field, and Borbon's speed make him a very rangy center man. Nelson Cruz, too, has a throwing arm upon which no one will be trying to stretch singles to doubles down the right-field line.
About Matt Trueblood
Matt is a journalism student at Loyola University Chicago. The guest contributor is a featured Chicago Cubs columnist on the Bleacher Report as well as a contributor to hotstove.com. Matt envisions himself as both a writer and analyst and strives to deliver pieces that are both well-researched and thought-provoking. He work first appeared on KFFL.com in February 2010.
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