Power Ranking the Rangers' Signings and Trades This Offseason
Since their season came to an end, the Rangers have been a big player in the free-agency market and the trade market. The first big move they made brought in Prince Fielder in exchange for second baseman Ian Kinsler, and their most recent move was the acquisition of Shin-Soo Choo on a seven-year deal.
With so many moves being made, here is a power ranking of the players Texas has acquired this offseason who are currently placed on the team's active roster.
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10. Relief Pitcher, Shawn Tolleson
2013 Stats: 1 G, 0.0 IP, 2 BB
There isn't much to say about the acquisition of right-handed pitcher Shawn Tolleson at this point. The 25-year-old pitcher made just one appearance in the majors last season with the Dodgers and walked the only two batters he faced.
In 2012, Tolleson saw action in 40 games for the Dodgers, where he posted a 3-1 record and a 4.30 ERA. That year he averaged 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings and 4.8 walks per nine innings.
With an already solid bullpen, it could be tough for Tolleson to work his way into games this coming season. He is coming off a lower back surgery and hip injury that limited him to just six appearances in the majors and minors combined.
He'll have to make a strong impression at spring training to prove he's ready to be an everyday player out of the bullpen.
9. Outfielder, Rafael Ortega
2013 Minor League Stats: .228/.315/.612, 4 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 9 SB
Rafael Ortega broke into professional baseball at 17 years old with the Colorado Rockies farm system. Ortega hasn't made it to the majors and has yet to even be promoted to a Triple-A team.
Ortega is a lifetime .298 hitter in the minors and had a .358 on-base percentage during his time there. According to RotoWorld.com, Ortega battled injuries throughout the 2013 season, which led to him playing in just 42 games.
He is a threat on the basepaths, having stolen 156 bases in his career, including three seasons of 32 steals or more. Texas has a lot of depth in its outfield right now, which means Ortega would have to put his major league debut off at least one more year, or at least until September.
At this point, just hope he can bounce back from his injury-plagued 2013 and become a contributor somewhere in Texas' minor league system.
8. Relief Pitcher, Chaz Roe
2013 Stats: 21 G, 1-0, 22.1 IP, 4.03 ERA, 24 SO, 13 BB
Roe still has a lot to prove in the majors, with his lone season in the big leagues coming last season.
In 25 minor league appearances last season, Roe posted a 1.11 ERA over 24.1 innings pitched, during which he struck out 23 batters while walking four. 2013 marked the second straight season in which Roe turned in a strong year in the minors. In 2012, he appeared in 49 games in Double-A, posting a 1.47 ERA with 69 strikeouts and only seven walks over 55 innings.
Roe's high-velocity fastball and the fact that he was a former first-round draft pick makes him an intriguing player for the Rangers this season. Look to see how he performs in spring training in 2014 as he hopes to make the Opening Day roster.
7. Outfielder, Alex Castellanos
2013 Stats: .167/.167/.556, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 5 SO
Alex Castellanos has made a nice career for himself at the minor league level, but he hasn't been able to see that same success in the majors. He is a lifetime .288 hitter in six minor league seasons, with an on-base percentage of .362.
After hitting .328 with 17 homers and 52 RBI at the Triple-A level in 2012, Castellanos saw his average drop to .257 this past season, but he still hit 19 homers and drove in 61 runs. His 2013 average in the minors is the lowest he has ever posted in the minors, so there's good reason to believe he can bounce back, but the question is whether or not he can succeed in the majors.
While he has average to below-average power, he has also managed to swipe 103 bases in his six seasons in the minors, making his speed his most valuable asset at this point. He won't be on the Opening Day roster, but further development in the minors could lead to him being promoted sometime during the season.
6. Catcher, J.P. Arencibia
2013 Stats: .194/.227/.592, 18 2B, 21 HR, 55 RBI, 148 SO
The Rangers signed catcher J.P. Arencibia to a one-year, $1.8 million deal this offseason and will look to him to be the backup catcher heading into spring training.
Arencibia has the potential to be a good offensive catcher, but that's all going to depend on his plate discipline. He struck out a total of 148 times last season, leading all catchers in that category. In addition to his high strikeout rate, he also walked just 18 times, something the Rangers would like to see more of heading into next season.
He is a guy who could be capable of hitting 25 to 30 home runs per season if he can learn to be more selective at the plate. Don't expect Arencibia to put up the home run total he posted last season with the Blue Jays now that he is playing behind Geovany Soto for the time being. For now, it's best to just wait and see how Arencibia can develop as a hitter and whether or not he can cut down on his strikeouts.
5. Outfielder, Michael Choice
2013 Stats: .278/.316/.649, 1 2B, 1 BB, 6 SO
Michael Choice was the 10th overall pick by the Oakland Athletics in the 2010 draft. The Rangers acquired him when they sent outfielder Craig Gentry and right-handed pitcher Josh Lindblom to the Athletics in exchange for Choice and second baseman Chris Bostick.
A Texas native, Choice will now have the chance to contribute for the Rangers and prove that he is worth the high pick that was made on him four seasons ago.
He made his major league debut this past season with the Athletics and saw action in nine games. He hit for a respectable .278 average, but it's the numbers he posted in the minors that could reveal his true potential.
During his four seasons in the minors, choice hit .290 with a .376 on-base percentage, showing great patience at the plate with a lot of walks and few strikeouts.
Last year with the Athletics' Triple-A affiliate, Choice hit .302 with 14 homers and 89 RBI in 132 games. His 89 RBI are the most he's ever had in a minor league season, and his 14 home runs are his second highest total, behind the 30 he belted in 2011 while in Single-A.
With the signing of Shin-Soo Choo, Choice will likely be relegated to a utility role for the time being, but he could find himself in a more frequent role should he flourish early.
4. Catcher, Geovany Soto
2013 Stats: .245/.328/.794, 9 2B, 9 HR, 22 RBI
One of the more notable moves the Rangers made early on was when they re-signed veteran catcher Geovany Soto to a one-year, $3 million deal back in November.
Soto is a lifetime .248 hitter in the majors and has been a backup since joining the Rangers in 2012. While he may not be the best player on this list, he's an everyday player and has a chance to make more of an impact than the first six players on this list.
3. Starting Pitcher, Martin Perez
2013 Stats: 20 G, 10-6, 3.62 ERA, 124.1 IP, 84 SO, 37 BB
Okay, so the Rangers just extended Martin Perez's contract beyond next season, but it was a big enough move that it still makes this list.
Perez became a full-time starter for the Rangers last season, appearing in 20 games and posting a 3.62 ERA. He is a classic example of a pitcher who pitches to contact and does so very effectively. He struck out only 84 batters in 124.1 innings of worked, but he held opposing hitters to a .267 average.
He needs to work on lowering his opponents' batting averages heading into next season, but given his strong 2013 campaign, there should be no cause for concern about having Perez in the rotation long-term.
2. First Baseman, Prince Fielder
2013 Stats: .279/.362/.819, 36 2B, 25 HR, 106 RBI
In what was likely the biggest trade of the offseason, the Rangers acquired first baseman Prince Fielder for second baseman Ian Kinsler. In addition to the player trades, the Rangers also received $30 million from the Detroit Tigers to help pay for Fielder's contract.
Fielder will likely be called on to replace Mitch Moreland at first base and should instantly be an improvement over the struggling Moreland.
With 285 career home runs, five All-Star appearances and three top-five finishes in MVP votes, Fielder is a proven and durable veteran. Over the last five seasons, Fielder has missed just one regular season game, which came in 2010.
One area of concern with Fielder is his performance in the postseason. During his two years with the Tigers, Detroit made the postseason twice, but Fielder was unable to make an impact. In 24 postseason games with the Tigers, Fielder hit .196 with one home run and three RBI.
For a team that will have a good shot at making a deep run in the playoffs, it would be nice to see Fielder turn around his postseason performance and become a contributor beyond the regular season.
1. Outfielder, Shin-Soo Choo
2013 Stats: .285/.423/.885, 34 2B, 2 3B, 21 HR, 54 RBI, 20 SB
It seemed like everybody knew this deal was going to happen eventually, but now those thoughts have turned into reality as the Rangers and Shin-Soo Choo agreed to a seven-year, $130 million deal earlier this month.
Choo posted the fourth highest on-base percentage in the majors last season (.423), and he has the ability to hit for power and steal bases. His high on-base percentage and base-stealing ability also led to him scoring 107 runs for the Reds last season, good for third most in the league.
He has a good chance at being the leadoff hitter for the Rangers heading into next season. Of the 154 games Choo played in 2013, he was the leadoff hitter in all but 11 of them.
His value and the price of his contract is something that will spark some debate, but there's no denying the impact he could make for the Rangers in 2014 and beyond.