Weekends With Toby: First Half Awards
Toby’s Crystal Ball
So we know the Rangers are still looking for bullpen help. General manager Jon Daniels made that clear on Thursday.
We also know that almost every contending team in baseball is looking for bullpen help. Never seen so many teams looking for bullpen help above all else going into the Trade Deadline.
Yes Heath Bell is the big dog on the block. But has anybody noticed that he is 33 and struck out 28 in 38 innings this season. He struck out 86 in 70 innings last year.
The two best right-handed setup relievers coveted are Mike Adams of the Padres and Jim Johnson of the Orioles but it is more likely that their teams want to keep them. Maybe Joakim Soria of the Royals and Leo Nunez of the Marlins are available but are they worth the price? Maybe the Rangers can ride it out with Tommy Hunter and Mark Lowe in the setup role and Darren O’Day still a possibility if he gets enough work at Triple A.
Carlos Beltran? He keeps popping up and the Rangers know that a quick return for Julio Borbon is diminishing. So Endy Chavez and Craig Gentry appear to be a short-term platoon answer in center field but maybe Beltran is the Cliff Lee of 2011.
We just know that general manager Jon Daniels is unafraid to make a move at this time of the year, you just have to wonder if it is worth it. This may be the time to stand pat although a big trade before July 31 always seems to boost a team’s psyche.
Toby’s Top Three
1. Rangers Farm System – It is better now than two years ago when they were ranked No. 1 in baseball. It was fashionable back then to laud the Rangers. Now they are more deserving.
2. Derek Holland – Doesn’t matter who were the opponents. Two straight shutouts are impressive.
3. Tommy Mendonca – Third baseman at Double A Frisco, he has really made his presence felt in a farm system that could use some big-time offensive prospects.
TR’s First Half Awards
Overlooked Stat – Ian Kinsler is perceived to be having an off-year at the plate but 57 walks against 40 strikeouts is eye-opening.
Defensive Star – Craig Gentry can really play center field.
Red Badge of Courage – Matt Harrison. He doesn’t seem to let anything bother him.
Obsession Award – Velocity. Every Rangers pitcher seems to be measured strictly by velocity.
Disappearing Act – Pedro Strop
Grace Under Fire – Nolan Ryan in the wake of the death of Brownwood fireman Shannon Stone. The Rangers president handles a crisis better than anybody.
Feel Good Story – Everybody talks about Alexi Ogando but what about Endy Chavez?
Key To The Second Half – Mark Lowe
Toby’s First Half Awards
The Bobby Witt Memorial Award – Derek Holland: when he’s good, he’s very, very good but when he’s bad he’s…well, you’ve seen it.
The Anti-Baseball Prospectus Award – Michael Young: the stat heads will pull out every acronym in their book to tell you why the Rangers should have traded him this offseason, but it’s Michael who’s getting the last laugh on that idea. You want some stats? Batting Average: April .342, May .340, June .273 and so far in July .381 BA with Runners in Scoring Position: .377 He carried the team while Hamilton and Cruz were on the DL, and has gone about quietly being Mr. Consistent. If the Rangers even think about trading him again Toby will chase Jon Daniels around the field at the Ballpark like an errant mailman who stepped on his paw.
Best First Pitch – Dirk Nowitzki to Michael Young: is anyone enjoying a long-awaited championship more than Dirk? By the way, Toby loves Dirk because he’s been spotted at the Ballpark before and even came out during the playoff’s last season. Mike Modano used to come out the Ballpark too – whatever happened to that guy?
The New Paradigm Award – A.J. Preller and the Rangers International Scouting Staff: you mean that you don’t need Scott Boras telling you who to draft to find the best young players to populate your farm system?
The Best Names For [Possibly]Future Rangers – RHP Mark Hamburger (AAA Round Rock): the headline writers are praying he’s promoted soon. Runner Up: IF Rougned Odor (Short-Season Spokane) oh the possibilities….
The Bengie Molina/Matt Treanor Annual I Can Hit A Triple Too Award – goes to CJ Wilson: who looked like a real position player at the plate and running the bases.
Key To The Second Half – (Tie) Colby Lewis and Nelson Cruz
“A race between us and the Angels right to the end would be fun. Last year we knew we were going to win it, waiting to clinch it was like waiting for Christmas.” — Pitcher C.J. Wilson
Woof! — Toby