The Texas Rangers are 11-2, boast the best record in baseball, and won seven straight games over the Minnesota Twins, Boston Red Sox, and Detroit Tigers. I am ecstatic that they have started so well and my hopes for the season are through the roof, but while most fans are looking at all the things the Rangers are doing well, could there possibly be something that could make them even more of an offensive threat? The Rangers have one of the deepest starting lineups in all of baseball; they are dangerous from top to bottom, but they could take their offense to another level by moving Elvis Andrus out of the two hole and replacing him with Michael Young.
Elvis Andrus is entering his 4th season as the everyday shortstop for the Rangers. He spent the last two seasons in the top two spots in the lineup; he has totaled 1,700 at bats in his career with 1,667 coming from the 1st, 2nd, or 8th spot. He gives the Rangers a ton of speed at the top of the lineup, he can pressure the defense with any ball that he puts in play, and his .271 career batting average hitting #2 is above the league average of .268 for #2 hitters last season. With that being said, Andrus is not a huge threat sandwiched between Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton: when Kinsler is on base, the pitcher can focus on him more because they are not afraid of making a bad pitch to Andrus. Most Rangers fan will say that they are happy with Andrus to this point in his career and the progress that he has made throughout the past two seasons, but moving him lower in the lineup may give the Rangers more offensive firepower.
Michael Young had a career year last year : he had his 6th 200 hit season of his career, and he finished with a career high .338 batting average. Young has started off very well this season hitting 5th in the Rangers lineup, but he has experience batting in the second spot. He has a .310 batting average and .358 on base percentage in 3,395 attempts at #2. Young is a fantastic hitter who has shown throughout his career that he can work pitch counts and hit well to all fields no matter what the count. He obviously doesn’t have the speed that Andrus has, but him batting behind Kinsler could force pitchers to give Kinsler better pitches to hit. It would also give the Rangers the ability to shift the entire lineup up a spot, which would allow Nelson Cruz and Mike Napoli to move to the #5 and #6 spots in the order better suited for power hitters.
Making these changes and moving Andrus into the #9 spot in the order gives the Rangers even more flexibility because it gives them the ability to have Elvis on base when Kinsler comes up to bat which will allow Elvis to give them a leadoff hitters mentality at the bottom of the lineup. Andrus has improved dramatically over the past two season at taking walks and finding ways to get on base, if he is able to do that and use his speed to distract pitchers from Kinsler and the top of the lineup ,it could add a new element to the Rangers potent offense.
It is still very early in the season, and Andrus will likely turn things around without the Rangers ever making a change, but with a team playing so well it’s fun to look at things that could make them even better.
Do you think the Rangers would be better moving the lineup around or do you like the way it is?