Yu Darvish and the Top 10 Rookies in Texas Rangers History
It's tough being a rookie in the major leagues. The grind of the season is a lot to handle even for the game's most seasoned veterans.
The Texas Rangers have had a number of rookies put together solid seasons in their history. Here are the top ten players who come to mind when discussing the top rookies in Rangers history.
Stats are from Baseball Reference.
Quietly having a superb rookie season for the Rangers in 2012 is Robbie Ross. He has five wins already with a 1.85 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and a .226 opponent's batting average.
The 22-year-old lefty made the team out of spring training and is becoming one of the go-to guys in an already stacked bullpen.
Ross has been very valuable, showing the ability to get both lefties and righties out. He has helped the team win by preserving leads or keeping the score close for the Rangers to mount a comeback.
Rusty Greer is one of the more popular players to ever wear a Rangers' uniform. He played the game aggressively and with complete effort.
During his rookie season in 1994, Greer batted .314, with 10 home runs and 46 RBI in 80 games. He finished third in Rookie of the Year voting that season.
The highlight of Greer’s season was the diving catch he made in center field to preserve Kenny Rogers’ perfect game.
The Texas Rangers legend began his career in 1991 as a 19-year-old, making him the youngest player to ever catch a major league game.
Pudge’s stats don’t jump off the page the way they would in later years—.264 batting average, 3 home runs, 27 RBI in 88 games—but he still established himself as one of the great young players in baseball.
His defense behind the plate stood out in particular.
The future Hall of Famer called it a career after the 2011 season. He finished with a World Series ring from his season in Florida and just about every individual award a player can achieve.
Ruben Sierra made his major league debut with the Rangers as a 20-year-old in 1986.
He played 113 games that season and hit .264, with 16 home runs, 55 RBI and a .476 slugging percentage. He finished sixth in Rookie of the Year voting.
Sierra would play for another 20 seasons on several more teams with varying successes. He was elected to the Texas Rangers' Hall of Fame in 2009.
Ian Kinsler is one of the Rangers’ homegrown gems, drafted in Round 17 of the 2003 draft.
He made it to the big leagues in 2006 and put together a very impressive season despite missing 40 games with injury. Kinsler hit .286 with 14 homers and 55 RBI.
He also stole 11 bases and finished seventh in Rookie of the Year voting.
Now a staple in the Rangers lineup, Kinsler is a Gold Glove-caliber second baseman with power and speed at the plate. He recently agreed to a five-year extension with the team, making him a Ranger for many years to come.
It's not a stretch to say Yu Darvish is the most hyped rookie to ever play for the Rangers. His $110 million price tag and the media circus that surrounds him are evidence of that.
The rookie from Japan has done a good job of living up to expectations thus far in 2012. He leads the American League in wins with seven and is tied for fifth in strikeouts with 66.
He was also named Rookie of the Month in April.
There have been some struggles, mostly with his control, but there is still plenty of season left for Darvish to fix these issues and add another Rookie of the Year award for the Rangers’ organization.
Elvis Andrus did not have an easy job during his rookie season in 2009.
Not only was he playing one of the more difficult positions in the game as a 20-year-old, but he was also picked to replace Michael Young—an All-Star and Gold Glove winner at the position the year before.
The Venezuelan rewarded the Rangers’ faith in him by having a very solid rookie season. He hit .267 and swiped 33 bases.
Andrus finished second in the American League Rookie of the Year voting.
Mark Teixeira joined the Rangers with some pretty lofty expectations. He was the fifth overall pick in the 2001 draft and signed a $9.5 million dollar contract.
The power hitting slugger made it to the big leagues in 2003 where he played first base. He batted .259, swatted 26 homers, drove in 84 runs and finished fifth in Rookie of the Year voting.
Teixeira had a very good rookie season, but he is mostly remembered in Texas as being part of the trade that laid the foundation for the team’s future success.
Mike Hargrove has the distinction of being the first Ranger ever named Rookie of the Year in 1974.
He hit .323 that season, which remained his career high the rest of his tenure in the big leagues. The lefty also had 66 RBI and 134 hits.
He is perhaps best known for his career as a manager, where he helped lead the Cleveland Indians to five division titles and two American League pennants.
Neftali Feliz was one of the top prospects in the Rangers organization before being called up for a brief stint in 2009.
The 22-year-old flamethrower was made the closer in early 2010, and never looked back. He struck out 71 batters that season while walking just 18.
Feliz finished with 40 saves, a rookie record, represented Texas in the All-Star Game and was named the American League Rookie of the Year.
He capped off his brilliant rookie season by pitching a perfect ninth inning in Game 6 of the ALCS against New York, clinching the team’s first ever American League pennant.