Texas Rangers: Who is most worthy of an All-Star selection?

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 28: Members of the Texas Rangers including Yu Darvish
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 28: Members of the Texas Rangers including Yu Darvish /

Voting for the 88th MLB All-Star game ended Wednesday evening, and it appears no Texas Rangers won the fan vote. So, who is most likely to represent Texas in Miami?

It’s been a rough season for the Texas Rangers, and as the final hours ticked down on voting I couldn’t help but think of them. Thanks to the all-star selection rules, each major league team will have at least one representative.

Some could make the argument than nobody did, but I think that’s a little ridiculous. Besides, what’s also ridiculous is putting starter selection solely into the hands of the fans, but what can you do? That likely won’t end any time soon. Not to mention, fans aren’t even allowed to vote on pitchers. But these are all topics for another day. Let’s talk instead about the Rangers and who will be “their guy.”

1. Yu Darvish

Rangers starter Yu Darvish is one of the most obvious choices this year. While he hasn’t been lights-out, he’s had a very nice season. At what is pretty much the halfway point of the season, he’s posted a 3.11 ERA with a 1.084 WHIP. For a better idea of how well he has played though, check out his per nine stats.

Darvish has 107 innings pitched this season, placing him sixth in the league. He also ranks sixth in hits allowed per nine innings with just 6.64, putting him in company with guys like Max Scherzer and Chris Sale. He even leads Clayton Kershaw by .01.

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While his strikeout numbers have not been as impressive as they have in the past, he’s still averaging 9.67 per nine innings. Anything over one per inning is fantastic, and that’s been the norm for Yu over his career. Perhaps that’s what’s caused so little fanfare for him this year. He has shined, but not at the level he has previously.

But his “better” is beyond the “best” of many others. He’s still put together a solid top ten season. That’s why he deserves the trip to Miami more than any other Rangers player.

2. Elvis Andrus

While Darvish has had a solid season on the mound, Elvis Andrus has been the most consistent hitter in the Texas lineup. His power numbers have skyrocketed this season and he’s held a .300 batting average throughout the year.

He ranks 11th in the AL in batting average and ranks fourth among all MLB shortstops in home runs with 10. Those 10 home runs already eclipse his previous season high of eight that he hit last season.

He’s also on pace for a career high in slugging percentage at .468. That ties him for second among AL shortstops and that’s not even his best stat. Look at how he has driven in runs.

His 46 RBIs rank him second among all shortstops. Consider that he set a previous career high last season at 69 and that was after playing 147 games. Through 77 this year, he has come close to that total already.

At this pace, he’ll eclipse his previous career high somewhere around August 17 when the White Sox visit Arlington. It also means he could finish the year with about 92. Regardless of position, that’s a very respectable total. In total, he could end the year with a .300 average, 20 homers and 92 RBIs.

3. Alex Claudio

In a day and age where starters and closers get most of the attention, not much fanfare goes to the humble middle innings guy. But not many do what Alex Claudio has done this season. He’s quietly gone out and consistently put together yeoman-like games night after night.

He’s on pace to finish the season with over 80 innings, which is a pretty solid work load for a middle man. When you take out the one game he started, which didn’t go all that well, he has a 2.05 ERA, a .241 batting average against him and a 1.11 WHIP. Then there’s his 1.8 walks per nine innings rate, which leads all Texas relievers.

He’s consistently gotten the outs needed. Even though his innings haven’t come in as high-leverage situations as others, he’s done the job expected of him and done it well.

4. Keone Kela

Believe it or not, Keone Kela has also played very well this season for the Rangers. After getting past his early season demotion, he’s come back with some fire.

He has a 2.64 ERA and a fantastic .88 WHIP, which bests every Rangers relief pitcher. And believe it or not, he’s third on the team in strikeouts with 42. Really think about that. On a team with six starters and two relievers that have more innings than him, he’s bested five of them. His 12.33 strikeouts per nine innings rate is flat-out electric.

Finally, look at what he has done to opposing hitters. They’re batting just .133 against him with an anemic .235 on base percentage. If he keeps up these kind of numbers, he just might find himself closing games in the near future.

Next: Rangers still have a lot of work to do

There’s no denying that the 2017 Texas Rangers have had far more “downs” than “ups” in this up and down season. But they’ve still had some great performances and some awesome players. That’s why all four of these guys deserve to play in Miami this July. Heck, we might even see Joey Gallo get the chance to swing for the fences on July 10. That would be awesome, too. In any case, we’ll watch what happens when the selections are revealed this weekend. We know one of these guys will make it, but here’s hoping we see all four.