Monday, June 3, 2013

Rangers Pepper 6/3: Moreland Cools A Bit, Profar May Stay, Attendance Update

by Dustin Copening
#RangersThoughts” on Twitter can be seen by following me @dfwfanconnect, but those thoughts evolve every few days from 140 characters into what I have dubbed as  “Rangers Pepper”. Here’s a very poorly executed game of pepper to get your mind right:

Mitch Moreland The Streak Revisted - It was Thursday morning on May 9th and I had settled in for another ho hum day at the office, most of which is normally spent playing around on Twitter and soaking up any and all information from the sports world that peak’s my interest. It was that Thursday morning that I began a passionate exchange with Eddie Middlebrook of SDI where I valiantly defended Mitch Moreland as a changed man.

The main point of Eddie’s argument was that what Mitch was doing at the time was nothing more than a repeat of a similar hot streak in 2012, where from April 24th to May 26th Mitch hit .377, with a .417 OBP, 1.144 OPS, 7 HR, and 15 RBI. After that streak Moreland hit just .258, with a .299 OBP, .709 OPS, 7 HR, and 31 RBI for the remainder of the season. That included a stretch from June 20th to July 30th where Mitch missed 31 games with a hamstring injury.

The Rangers first baseman has cooled some since Eddie backed off a bit on his Mitch stance and Peter Ellwood took an inside the numbers look at the hit streak that started all this heated Rangers debate. The good news for Rangers fans is that his bat hasn’t frozen like it did after the 2012 hot streak. In the 18 games last year from May 27th to before hitting the DL on June 20th, Moreland batted .188, with a .235 OBP, .589 OPS, 2 HR, and 6 RBI. In the 19 games from May 13th of this year until today’s day off, Mitch has hit .266, with a .314 OBP, .892 OBP, 5 HR, and 13 RBI.

One more sign that Mitch Moreland is a changed man is his approach at the plate against lefties. I pointed this out to Peter Ellwood in a tweet during that fateful Thursday morning debate with the help of Texas Leaguers database. Now, here's the spray chart versus lefties for Mitch over that same 19 game stretch.

You can see that he has nearly abandoned pulling the ball to right field. This is not something batters luck into, but rather something that occurs when they make a conscious decision to take what the pitcher is giving them. To borrow a less used Wash'ism, Moreland is doing what the game asks him to do, and everyone is being rewarded for it.

Profar’s Play Reducing Trade Chances - Texas entered Sunday’s game against the Royals needing a win to prevent their four game homestand from turning sour after a tough Saturday loss in extra innings. Jurikson Profar’s first game winning home run of his blossoming career led the way to a 3-1 victory that kept the Athletics 2 back and dropped the Angels to 10.5 back in the West.

The popular theory when Profar was called up to play for the injured Ian Kinsler was that a solid stretch of play would enhance his trade value. With him hitting .324 with 2 HR, and 6 RBI, my gut is telling me that Jon Daniels and the rest of the brass are finding it harder and harder to imagine parting with their rookie phenom. Especially with the latest news that often touted trade target Giancarlo Stanton is slowing down the rehab from his strained hammy due to knee soreness. Couple this with David Price’s dreadful start to 2013 and DL stint, and there doesn’t seem to be an available target worthy of sending Profar away for just because a Ranges roster log jam exists right now.

Thad Levine backed up this line of thought by telling Jim Bowden from ESPN that the vision Texas’s front office has had from the start is to hold onto Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Jurickson.

Baseball Town Continued - The 26th home game of the season wrapped up with the Rangers overall attendance for the season at 1,028,154. That total is good for 7th in all of baseball, and Texas’s per game average of 39,544 is 4th in the bigs and 1st in the AL. The Yankees (39,055), Angels (37,228), Tigers (36,023), and Red Sox (33,029) round out the top 5 in the AL.
The Rangers are off a bit from last year’s record number of 3,460,280, but through 26 games last year the Yankees had brought 47,754 per game on a Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. That helped to significantly boost the per game total of 43,452. No other weekday series has come close to drawing that many fans to the Ballpark in 2013.

Poll Question: Will The Rangers Top Last Year's Record Attendance Total?

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