The Texas Rangers are just a few games away from the halfway point of a very successful the season. The Rangers have battled injuries (4 starting pitchers on the DL today) to compile the best record in baseball at 46-29, and they are holding on to a 4.5 game lead over the LA Angels in the AL West. Injuries and a bit of inconsistency have been small problems for the Rangers, but today we hand out the good, bad, and ugly awards for halfway points.
Rangers MVP (Most Valuable Player) of the half year:
Josh Hamilton, OF
Josh Hamilton has been the MVP for the Rangers to this point in the season, a white hot start and slumps as of late haven’t stopped Hamilton from putting up monster numbers to this point in the season. He is hitting .312 with 24 HR’s and league leading 67RBI’s; Hamilton is still in the hunt for the triple crown if he can get back to the type of groove he was in at the beginning of the season. He’s a lock to start in LF for the American League all-star and could be the MVP of the AL if he stays on his first half pace. The only thing you think about with Hami is: will he stay healthy? And if he does stay healthy, will the Rangers be able to keep him next year? He’s been one of the cornerstones of the new look Rangers and will leave a big hole if he doesn’t stay around.
Ballot: (Adrian Beltre 3B, Matt Harrison SP, Joe Nathan CL, Elvis Andrus SS)
Rangers LVP (Least Valuable Player) of the half year:
Yorvit Torrealba, C
This is a tough choice as there aren’t many position players for the Rangers this year who have had a bad year, but of the players who have had a regular amount of playing time he has been the least valuable. Torrealba has not been good at all at the plate; he is hitting only .229 with 2HR’s on the year, and while he’s never been a power hitter, his average is much lower than last years .273 (and his career average of .260). While Torrealba continues to be a solid defensive catcher, the opponents have been able to steal on him more this year: base stealers have converted on 16 of 23 attempts. Hopefully Yorvit will make up for a poor first half by helping push the Rangers into the playoffs; with Mitch Moreland out, he will likely get more opportunities behind the plate.
Ballot: (Alberto Gonzalez IF)
Rangers CY Yuck (Least Valuable Pitcher) of the half year:
Scott Feldman, SP/RP
Scott Feldman came into the year as the long relief option for the Rangers and most people thought he would be a good one, but injuries thrust Feldman into the starting rotation where he has not had any real success. Rangers fans were optimistic that Feldman could get back to his 09’ form when he won 17 games, but instead he’s gone south, posting a 6.00 ERA in 42.0 innings of work, and he doesn’t seem to be looking any better. He will probably remain in the rotation for at least a few more starts, so Ranger fans are hoping that he can improve.
Ballot: (Yoshinori Tateyama RP, Tanner Scheppers RP, Derek Holland SP)
Rangers CY Young (Most Valuable Pitcher of the half year):
Matt Harrison, SP
Matt Harrison has stepped up this year and continued on the great season that he had last year where he posted 14 wins and a 3.39ERA. He has a 3.24ERA and 10 wins right now, but he has the ability to have 12 wins by the all-star break, which he will undoubtedly play in. Harrison doesn’t have overpowering stuff and doesn’t strike out a ton of opponents, but he uses his pitches very well and works deep into ballgames. Harrison was not as highly touted as Andrus, Feliz, and Saltalamacchia, the 3 other players acquired from Atlanta in 2007, but he’s turned into a very good top of the rotation pitcher. Harrison is still only 26, so he can continue to grow and become a solid piece in the Rangers rotation for years to come.
Ballot: (Joe Nathan CP, Robbie Ross RP, Yu Darvish SP, Alexi Ogando RP/SP)
Rangers Rookie of the Year of the half year:
Robbie Ross, RP
Robbie Ross has quietly become one of the best pitchers on the Rangers staff. At only 23 years old, Ross is 5th in the American League among relievers with an ERA of 1.10. Ross was 22 when spring training came around, and many thought he had no shot at making the roster, but he pitched so well that he left the Rangers no choice but to include him on the team. Ross has not only been a great pitcher so far, but also a great sport. He has quickly become a fan favorite: his habit of entering the bullpen wearing the cowboy getup that Rangers veterans gave him always pleases the crowd. This young man could be a staple of the Rangers bullpen for years to come, or he could move into the rotation if a spot is available. No matter what happen in his future, he has been setting records for Rangers rookies this year.
Ballot: (Yu Darvish SP, Leonys Martin OF, Brandon Snyder 1B/OF)
Rangers Farm System MVP of the half year:
Mike Olt, 3B
Mike Olt plays 3B for the Frisco Ruff Riders, the Rangers AA affiliate. As a first round pick in 2010, Olt has continued to get better. He had a fantastic year hitting .305 with 20 HR’s and 59 RBI’s. Olt played so well, the Rangers will likely try to get him to Arlington next season. The Rangers have a packed infield already, so finding a spot for Olt may not be easy. Olt is a player who has great contact and power, so he should thrive in a hitter-friendly ballpark like the one in Arlington.
Ballot: (Jurickson Profar SS, Barrett Loux SP, Justin Grimm SP)