By: Patrick Despain
The 2012 Texas Rangers have proven through April and half of May that they are the team to beat. Not just in the American League, but in all of baseball. They have one of the best records, the best player in Josh Hamilton, and arguably the best front office in baseball.
The Rangers have demolished their schedule, to a point. They have beat up on everyone except for the Blue Jays, but that was without Josh Hamilton. They pitch with effectiveness, both in the rotation and the best bullpen in MLB. They have Yu Darvish (5-1 2.84 ERA), Neftali Feliz (2-1 3.38 ERA), and those two are supposed to be the question marks of the staff. Also, the Ranger bullpen is simply ridiculous. The Texas bullpen has given up 13 earned runs in 76 2/3 innings. That is remarkable. On the contrary the Angels bullpen has given up, 34 earned runs in 66 1/3.
Josh Hamilton is an absolute beast. Matt Kemp can have commercials about "Beast Mode", Justin Verlander can pump a video game, and the East Coast Media can talk about Rivera's injury or whatever they want. The story in all of baseball, is Josh Hamilton. Done. No argument, no rebuttle. There is not a story bigger than what "Hambone" is doing for the Texas franchise right now. As long as #32 patrols the outfield in Texas, they will always be a threat. If you have an argument let me settle this with on simple table: (keep in mind this is game #34 for Texas)
Hamilton AVG HR RBI OBP SLG
.407 17 40 .463 .873 1.336
That brings me to my final; point. Jon Daniels, the GM of the Rangers, could make a billion dollars as a poker player. He may get called, and beaten on certain hands, but he'll never show his cards until it matters. He is smart, cold and calculating. And JD (as they call him in Texas) never gets out played on a large scale. You may beat him on smaller hands of poker, but at the end of the night, he is taking your money. What Daniels has brought to that team is his ability to surround himself with quality scouts, but people who he trusts 100%. That is rarely the case in MLB.
The Texas Rangers will contend again…the question is….will anyone challenge them?