Rangers need help from Profar, young talent
Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 23:02
Times sure are tough around the ballpark in Arlington lately. Outfielder Josh Hamilton is gone, no one signed up to take his place, outfielder Nelson Cruz may have juiced and Rangers manager Ron Washington seems as surly as ever when it comes to playing keep away with top prospects moving up to the big league.
Rough outings look to be on the horizon for the next half year after the Rangers report to Surprise, Ariz. later this week, where there seems to be many more questions than answers for the boys of summer.
Yet, there is hope to be had, albeit not the kind of help that may guarantee a playoff spot, let alone a third world series appearance in four years, but hope nonetheless.
Calming influences and game changing ability still reside within the Rangers organization and so does young and explosive talent.
Last season’s fade into depression and obscurity arose from an MLB-record seven starters going through at least 145 full games, something Washington has already set into his plans going forward. In other words, this will not nearly be the case again this season simply because it can’t, and Washington knows it.
Another huge help will be when the long overdue call-up of the baseball’s number one minor-league prospect, Jurickson Profar, finally gets a crack at the regular lineup.
Profar will add depth to the middle infield whenever shortstop Elvis Andrus or second baseman Ian Kinsler need a rest.
General manager Jon Daniels was also keen to the idea of letting Profar learn the outfielder position as well, but earlier this week, that idea was squashed by Washington who wants to make sure his budding star focuses on one position for the future.
Along with minor-league outfielder Mike Olt’s rise into the bigs, depth could be less of a burden this season after making such a huge impact last year.
The other key ingredient for Texas’ comeback will be the improvement of the pitching staff from what it sunk to at the end of last season.
Day-one starter Yu Darvish now has a full season to look back on and can take leaps forward. His consistency and poise will still be questions as the season begins, but it will be very hard to not see Darvish take the next step towards the role of a genuine ace this year.
Going down the list of the Rangers rotation are where worries may start to creep in. Names like Holland, Perez and Ogando don’t invoke the same amount of fear they may have before. After all, the latter two are only starters due to injuries, and those players are set for return dates in the upcoming months.
That may be the biggest key to the season: holding down the fort until help arrives from the likes of Colby Lewis and Neftali Feliz.
If the 2013 Rangers can simply hold until the middle of summer with any type of chance to win the division, times in Arlington may look a bit brighter than the dusk of this offseason.
Follow me @Matt_Costalot for more Dallas sports opinions.