Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Baseball America's 2011 Projected Lineup

Baseball America recently released it's version of the Rangers' Top 10 Prospects. As a part of the write up they did their usual lineup projections for three years down the road. So, on this Super of Tuesdays, AllThingsRangers has decided to take a look at that projected lineup and compare it to what we see in the future. The lineups are composed entirely of current players and prospects so you won't find any big Free Agent signings. So here is your look at ATR's 2011 Texas Rangers. Because in Rangers Land, three years down the road is sometimes all we have.

BA's Projection: Taylor Teagarden
ATR's Projection: Taylor Teagarden

The Scoop: We agree with BA here. Teagarden's defense will keep him behind the plate, and it now appears his bat will get him into the Rangers' lineup. This is probably the trickiest projection because of Salty, Ramirez, and Teagarden all being exciting prospects. But it is Teagarden who gets the nod with superior defense and a bat that will play here.

First Base:
BA's Projection: Jarrod Saltalamacchia
ATR's Projection: Chris Davis

The Scoop: We just don't see Salty being a full time first baseman as he enters the prime of his career. Davis has the power bat to slot in perfectly at first base for the Rangers. It is hard to take Davis' arm out of play, but first base is just a natural spot for his bat and he is the type of athlete who could excel at this position for a long time.

Second Base:
BA's Projection: Michael Young
ATR's Projection: Ian Kinsler

The Scoop: Kinsler should put a death grip on second base in the 2008 season. He has the potential to become a perennial All Star at this position. If his defensive prowess in the second half of 2007 is any indication, there will be no moving Kinsler off of second base.

Third Base:
BA's Projection: Chris Davis
ATR's Projection: Michael Young

The Scoop: It would seem Young is destined to be moved to 2B or 3B within the next few years. There is the possibility he asks to be traded as the youth movement continues in Arlington, but we feel Michael Young will retire as a Texas Ranger. We have already slotted Davis across the diamond, so he isn't an option for us here. Hank Blalock, Travis Metcalf, and John Whittleman are all possibilities here as well.

BA's Projection: Elvis Andrus
ATR's Projection: Elvis Andrus

The Scoop: He may not be a great offensive player at this point in his career, but his skill set and glove will be in the starting lineup by 2011. No pressure if you're Elvis, huh?

Left Field:
BA's Projection: Engel Beltre
ATR's Projection: German Duran

The Scoop: Beltre may still be a year or two away at this point, and Duran will have trouble getting into the starting lineup in the middle infield. He has the athleticism and the bat to handle LF, though we could just as easily see him as a super sub or holding down the SS or 3B position should a prospect need more seasoning.

Center Field:
BA's Projection: Julio Borbon
ATR's Projection: Julio Borbon

The Scoop: When you sign a draft pick, especially a collegiate player, to a major league contract the idea is to get him to the big club on a fast track. Borbon has the type of athleticism and range to handle the spacious outfield in Arlington. If he develops the way the Rangers hope he does, he will be the leadoff guy they crave.

Right Field:
BA's Projection: Josh Hamilton
ATR's Projection: Josh Hamilton

The Scoop: With a little luck, Hamilton will be a cornerstone of this Rangers team. His cannon of an arm will play well in RF and his bat will be the focal point of a young lineup.

Designated Hitter:
BA's Projection: Ian Kinsler
ATR's Projection: Jarrod Saltalamacchia

The Scoop: It is unlikely Ramirez, Teagarden, and Salty will all play together but we can dream. Salty will be a legitimate power threat from both sides and provide even more depth at catcher, first base, and possibly left field.

#1 Starter:
BA's Projection: Eric Hurley
ATR's Projection: Matt Harrison

The Scoop: Harrison has a chance to be that reliable starter that goes out and gives you 6 innings every time. He will slot in here as a result of his command and Glavine-like approach.

#2 Starter:
BA's Projection: Neftali Feliz
ATR's Projection: Eric Hurley

The Scoop: We don't feel Hurley will become an ace, but we think he is more than a reliever as Keith Law would suggest.

#3 Starter:
BA's Projection: Michael Main
ATR's Projection: AJ Murray

The Scoop: Murray will provide a second left handed pitcher and be a decent third starter who can hold down the fort while Main, Beavan, Feliz, Kiker, Beau Jones, and Zach Phillips continue to mature.

#4 Starter:
BA's Projection: Blake Beavan
ATR's Projection: Michael Main

The Scoop: Both of these guys were drafted in 2007 out of high school. Main is ahead of Beavan based on his quick signing and could crack the Rangers' rotation before his counterpart.

#5 Starter:
BA's Projection: Brandon McCarthy
ATR's Projection: Blake Beavan

The Scoop: Beavan forces his way into the rotation in Spring Training and learns the ropes as a number five starter while the Rangers groom their future ace.

BA's Projection: Kasey Kiker
ATR's Proection: CJ Wilson

The Scoop: Wilson will seize the closer's job in 2008 and be a fixture at the back end of the Rangers' pen for quite some time.

Now, just to prove how much we care, we will delve into the subject a little deeper.

1B/3B/LF John Whittleman: Will find playing time backing up Young
OF Brandon Boggs: He will be a backup at all 3 OF positions and platoon some with Duran in LF
2B/SS Jose Vallejo: Slick fielding speedster will help Duran back up the middle infield and be an all world pinch runner
C/1B/DH Max Ramirez: Will serve as main backup to Teagarden, #1 pinch hitter, and platoon partner with Davis

LR Brandon McCarthy: Never finds enough durability to start, but serves as a great swingman
MR Thomas Diamond: This power pitcher finds a home in the Rangers' bullpen
MR Beau Jones: Gives the Rangers another left handed option out of the pen with the potential to move to the rotation
MR Neftali Feliz: Much like Joba with New York, he breaks in as a reliever before moving to rotation
SU Kasey Kiker: Along with CJ Wilson, is part of best left handed reliever duo in all of baseball
SU Kea Kometani: Serves as Rangers' main 8th inning arm

And for Good Measure...A projected Batting Order:
CF Julio Borbon
2B Ian Kinsler
RF Josh Hamilton
DH Jarrod Saltalamacchia
1B Chris Davis
3B Michael Young
C Taylor Teagarden
LF German Duran
SS Elvis Andrus

So there you have it...a roster that will never see the field!