The 2013 Texas Rangers have the potential to make fans forget the final week collapse of the 2012 season. The pitching staff has a solid one-two punch in Matt Harrison and Yu Darvish. The bullpen has all-star closer Joe Nathan along with free agent two-time all-star Joakim Soria, who is scheduled to return to the mound in early summer. Soria will make his return just in time to take some of the summer heat off Nathan.
Soria had 160 saves for the Kansas City Royals before undergoing Tommy John surgery and signing with the Rangers this past off-season. The Rangers also have Colby Lewis scheduled back in May, and Neftali Feliz scheduled to return by mid-summer. The dog days of summer may be the time when the Rangers take control of the division.
People all around baseball have already given the division to the Los Angeles Angels with the Oakland A’s being the team chasing them. Being a lifelong Rangers fan, I am not ready to concede anything, quite the opposite. Here are five bold predictions for the Rangers in 2013 along with why each made the list.
1. Matt Harrison and Yu Darvish will each win 20 games. Harrison won 18 games last season and finished in the Top 20 in eight Major Pitching Categories. Darvish won 16 games in his first major league season and finished in the Top 21 of six of the Major Pitching Categories. Both pitchers were All-Stars in 2012. In addition to winning 20 games, both Harrison and Darvish will be in the conversation for the American League Cy Young Award.
2. The Rangers will break their all-time attendance record. The Rangers had 3,460,280 fans in attendance, in 2012. With the recent comments made by Josh Hamilton about the fans in Texas, the fans will no doubt come back with a vengeance. Hamilton who spent five years in Texas has given the fans here something new to cheer about, pride in themselves as “True Baseball Fans”.
3. The Texas Rangers have two players named Martin who will turns heads around the American League this season. The first is Martin Perez a southpaw pitcher who will likely start the season as the Rangers fifth starting pitcher. The second Leonys Martin, who may end up being the replacement for Hamilton in center field. Either player could have great rookie seasons and bring back to Texas, Rookie of the Year honors.
4. Adrian Beltre will win the MVP award in the American League. Beltre, last season hit .321 and finished in the Top 20 in eight of the Top Hitting Categories in the American league. Beltre accomplished this while hampered by injuries throughout the season. Beltre was also awarded the Gold Glove 3rd Baseman in the American League.
5. The Texas Rangers will win the American League West. The Angels have a powerful line-up without a doubt. Rookie of the Year, Mike Trout is changing positions, came to spring training 10 pounds heavier, and is facing the sophomore jinx. Albert Pujols is coming back from off-season knee surgery and spent the early part of the 2012 season mired in a hitting slump. Josh Hamilton has missed over 150 games due to various injuries and illnesses in the five years at with the Rangers. The Angels may have a big name line-up, but they had big names in the line-up the last three years and did not produce, this year will be the same. The Oakland A’s pitching staff will be hard pressed to repeat last season, they were in the right place at the right time, pitching to a tired slumping Ranger team. Yes, the Rangers will win the west, and it will be a dog-fight, but they will win with pitching, speed and defense.
J. Brackston has been an avid Texas Rangers fan since they moved to Texas from Washington D.C… He has rooted for the good teams and bad teams, and watched 100’s of games at the old Arlington Stadium and The Ballpark in Arlington.