C.J. Wilson, Texas Rangers
Flukes—it's a funny word to say, sounding more like a cereal than a sports reference, but it has a much deeper impact on sports than Wheaties.
There has been a lot of talk about the Texas Rangers world series run last year being a fluke; not even Cliff Lee could take the Rangers seriously when he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies.
It's not hard to believe—after all there is reason to be skeptical.
With only three previous AL West division titles, they were always seen as the ugly stepchild by a dominant Anaheim Angels squad, a Billy Beane Oakland A's team and even the Seattle Mariners have had some great years thrown in there.
This is the old AL West.
This year's division is almost a complete turnaround from last year's; that's why it's imperative C.J. Wilson of the Texas Rangers has to step up his game and dominate nearly every outing if the Rangers want to content for a second division title in as many years.
Can he do it? Yes.
Many people want to attribute Cliff Lee to the spectacular season the Rangers had. While he did help the Rangers in the playoffs, the real crutch the Rangers leaned on after the All Star Game was Wilson.
If you compare stats on the second half of the season, you'll see that Wilson went 8-3 compared to Lee's 4-5, he posted an ERA of 3.36 to Lee's 3.79 and also gave up 19 less hits and 12 less runs.
Who do you think helped the Rangers get to the world series the most?
Wilson is the type of ballplayer that doesn't come around too often. We've seen so many tirades after an outing and even mid-inning, pitchers can crack under pressure.
Wilson is one of the most, if not the most, cool, calm and collected pitcher in baseball. If he gets in a jam, he can surely find a way out of it.
Wilson started the year last year with seven consecutive quality starts and no home runs in 87 2/3 IP. He gave up only 10 HR last year, none of which were hit by a left-handed batter and although he lead the league in walks at 93, he countered by inducing 21 double-plays, 12th highest in the AL. Wilson also ranked 14th with a 1.01 ground-out to fly-out ratio.
Wilson has the demeanor to dominate. He is too laid back to get stressed out over a bad call or a bad night on the bump. This is what will make him an "Ace."
While Lee was on the team, the knowledge hungry Wilson picked his brain on a daily basis. He has learned so much in his one year of starting, that he can only get better.
There are only two things separating Lee from Wilson, only one of which he can control—Lee hits spots perfectly; Wilson hits spots, but there is a reason he walked 93 batters.
The other factor is Lee has been dominating for years now and umpires give him calls; he has earned a few more inches off the plate.
Once Wilson establishes himself and proves he can do this for a second year, and then a third year, he will get black and a little more.
That's when Texas will have its ace.