ARLINGTON, Texas - Despite the loss of outfielder Josh Hamilton to free agency the Rangers sold hard that they would be good this season. Or at least GM Jon Daniels did.
We are just about at the All-Star break and the man is right - the Rangers are good.
"I believed it," he TOLD ME, EXCLUSIVELY AND NO ONE ELSE IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. "I really did. I wasn't saying it to try to sell tickets."
Despite the loss of Hamilton, Michael Young and Mike Napoli, among others, Daniels based his beliefs on the following:
"The development of our young players, and bounce-back years from Nelson Cruz, Ian Kinsler and Derek Holland. I really thought if those things happened we would be good."
Give the man a cigar.
The development of position players Leonys Martin, Mitch Moreland along with pitchers Tanner Scheppers, Robbie Ross and Nick Tepesch have been major scores for a team that needed them.
But this is what Daniels is really talking about:
2012: .256, 42 2B, 5 3B, 19 HR, 72 RBI, 157 games, .326 obp
2013: .286, 12 2B, 0 3B, 8 HR, 31 RBI, 61 games, .365 obp
Difference: He's on base more, and his strikeouts are way down (90 in '12, 23 in '13).
2012: 12-7, 4.67 ERA, 27 starts, 175.1 ip.
2013: 6-4, 3.13 ERA, 17 starts, 112 ip.
The difference: Where to begin? Just more quality and less of the erratic stuff that has dogged him, and frustrated fans.
2012: .260, 24 HR, 90 RBI, 45 2B, 159 games
2013: .275, 22 HR, 67 RBI, 16 2B, 85 games
The difference: In a contract year he's having the best year of his life. Funny how that works.
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