Texas Rangers: Top 5 Wins Above Replacement Scores Among Batters Since 2000
The Texas Rangers have been known for quite some time as a team that usually wins with their bats. They are third in Major League Baseball since 2000 in runs scored and this is a team that has only been to the postseason twice since the turn of the millennium.
This offense has featured many prolific names but there are five that stand out from all the rest. We will be ranking these players by their WAR (wins above replacement) which is a stat that represents the number of wins that a player's presence translates to compared to a replacement player.
Since runs are dependent on other batters, it is not appropriate to gauge worth using that stat which is why WAR is being used. Read on for more.
5. Mark Teixeira
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Mark Teixeria was the fifth overall pick in the 2001 draft by the Texas Rangers and it didn't take him long to join the club in Arlington. He spent five seasons with the team and was traded in 2007 for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Matt Harrison, Neftali Feliz and Elvis Andrus. The last three are all staples of the current roster with Feliz and Andrus being selected for last season's All-Star game.
His best individual season with the Rangers was 2005 (6.0 wins above replacement) when he joined Chipper Jones and Eddie Murray as the third switch-hitter in baseball history to hit at least 20 home runs in their first three seasons. He was also selected for the All-Star game and was awarded a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger for his performance. He hit 43 home runs that season and batted .301 with a career-high slugging percentage of .575.
4. Josh Hamilton
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With the way his current season is progressing, it's a bit surprising that he's only number four on this list. The fan favorite and former number one overall pick in the 1999 draft has been a dominant force during the regular season and postseason for Texas. He was acquired from Cincinnati after the 2007 season and has since been a batter that American League pitchers fear. He's a career .340 hitter who is also entering the last year of his contract with the Rangers, a sign that he will garner a big contract next offseason.
His best individual season with the Rangers was his 2010 American League MVP season (8.5 wins above replacement) where he crushed 32 home runs while batting .359. He earned a lot of recognition for that MVP season including the American League batting title, a Silver Slugger, USA Today American League MVP, ALCS MVP, a trip to the Rangers first World Series, and an appearance at the All-Star game.
3. Ian Kinsler
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The Rangers second baseman recently signed a contract keeping him in Texas until 2017, and it was well deserved. Ian was drafted in 2003 in the 17th round of the draft and made his way to Arlington in 2006. Originally drafted as a shortstop, he has been one of the best defensive infielders that the Rangers have ever had and, in my opinion, has been snubbed for awards in those categories. Nonetheless, his spot in the lineup as leadoff has led to many 1-0 starts within minutes of the game beginning play.
His best individual season with the Rangers was 2011 (7.7 wins above replacement) when he destroyed 32 home runs and had the lowest strikeout percentage of his career. He also joined the 30-30 club for the second time which recognizes players who steal 30 bases and hit 30 home runs in one season.
2. Alex Rodriguez
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Yes, most Ranger fans hate his guts, but Alex Rodriguez was a very productive player on offense. Originally signed to a 10-year, $252 million dollar contract, he spent three full seasons with the team accounting for 15 percent of the entire offense for that three-year span. He won the American League Most Valuable Player award in the final year with Texas.
His best individual season with the Rangers was 2002 (10.0 wins above replacement) when he batted .300, put up the second highest fielding score of his career, and hit a career high 57 home runs. He was also awarded a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, an All-Star appearance, and the American League Hank Aaron Award.
1. Michael Young
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The all-time franchise leader in hits tops out on this last as the number one most valuable Ranger in terms of total WAR with the team. He has benefited by being with the club a lot longer than the others on the list and has helped win more games than any other Ranger since 2000. He was drafted in 1997 by Toronto but made it to Texas in the Esteban Loaiza trade. He made his debut in 2000 as a second baseman and has been a career .304 hitter ever since.
His best individual season with the Rangers was 2005 (4.6 wins above replacement) when he hit a career high 24 home runs, 114 runs batted in, .354 batting average, an All-Star appearance, and the American League batting title.