Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Who's on First--Rangers Edition

The Texas Rangers have an issue at first base. Which Chris Davis will show up this season? Davis will be the Opening Day First Baseman, but the question remains whether he can overcome his free swinging ways and avoid the trip back down to Triple-A like last season.

Davis' homerun power isn't a question. It's his high K totals. In 2008, Davis played in 80 games and hit 17 homers, drove in 55 RBIs and hit .285 while striking out 88 times in 295 at bats. That is a 29.8 % strikout ratio. In 2009, Davis played in 113 games, hitting 21 homeruns, driving in 59 runs and hit .238 while striking out 150 times in 391 at bats. That is a 38.4% strikout rate and is totally unacceptable. So far this Spring, Davis is hitting .353 and has struck out 20 times in 68 at bats for a 29.4% strikout rate. Of course, Mark Reynolds of the Diamondbacks struck out 38.5% of the time in 2009 and you don't hear many complaints because of the 44 homers and 102 RBIs.

Hopefully Davis can take some of hitting coach Clint Hurdle's teaching to heart and cut down on the strikeouts. Hurdle has been preaching patience at the plate and it appeared to be sinking in with the team as a group early in Spring Training, but the strikout numbers have been up recently. There isn't much time to work on that before the season starts in 5 days.

Backing up Davis at first, at least at this point, is the very inexperienced Max Ramirez. Max is the third catcher as well, which may prove to be his real position with the catcher woes the Rangers have been facing. I don't have any scans of Ramirez cards, but I did find these two AWESOME play at the plate pics from 2008.

Max Ramirez vs. Jeff Mathis, Angels

July 7, 2008--Mathis was out

Max Ramirez vs. Torii Hunter, Angels

July 10, 2008--Hunter was out

Max Ramirez played 3 games at first in 2008 for the Rangers (and 12 at catcher). He hit 2 homers and drove in 9 while hitting .217. So far this Spring, he has 27 at bats with 0 homers, 3 RBIs and 7 strikouts. He's only hitting .222.

Nothing personal against Max, but I hope Davis has a great season and Ramirez only gets a fill in spot at first now and then.
The Rangers have Justin Smoak sitting down in the minors waiting for a shot.

Smoak got in a little Spring Training action, appearing in 10 games. He had 14 at bats and hit .250.

The Rangers had many years of solid play from first base from these guys.

2003 E/X Behind the Numbers Rafael Palmeiro

1997 Pinnacle XPress Will Clark

2004 Topps Crackerjack Mark Teixeira

Palmeiro and Tex are pretty much scorned around here now, but you can't argue with the solid defense and numbers these three guys put up for Texas over the years. You can question the methods perhaps, but not the results. Hopefully Davis can add his name to the list of productive first baseman Texas has enjoyed over the years (and stay in the good graces of the fans while he's at it).


  1. Palmeiro and Tex are scorned around my way as well.

  2. Didn't Max Ramirez throw a guy out at third after Torri Hunter laid him out?

    Thoughts on Garko being the backup at first?