Do you think the long ball offsets a good average? I, for one, would rather lead the league in average than in home runs.
-- Bob M., Arlington
The Rangers need tough outs. Alex Rodriguez and Adrian Beltre were/are power hitters. Rusty Greer and Michael Young were not. But they are four of the best hitters in Rangers history because they were tough outs. They battled pitchers and didn't give away at-bats.
That was the theory behind signing Shin-Soo Choo. Elvis Andrus has developed into a tough out, and Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara and Delino DeShields are headed that way. If a player develops into a tough out, battles every time and doesn't give away at-bats, he'll become a productive hitter. The statistics will take care of themselves.
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What's in store for Ryan Rua and Drew Robinson? It seems like we hear the Rangers are going to give them a chance, and then it doesn't happen. Now all we hear about is Willie Calhoun.
-- Brett K., Fort Worth, Texas
That's life as a young player on a club that is trying to win every year. Sometimes the opportunity is there, and sometimes it's not. Gallo was supposed to start the season at Triple-A Round Rock, and then Beltre got hurt. Gallo got his chance and made the most of it. DeShields was buried as a fifth outfielder at the start of the season, but injuries to Carlos Gomez allowed him to get playing time, and he has taken advantage of it. Jurickson Profar was the long-term future of the Rangers until the injuries and the emergence of Rougned Odor pushed him aside.
It might be different if Texas pulled back into a complete rebuild and youth movement. But the Rangers haven't been inclined to do that, and they don't seem headed that way in the future.
Any young pitchers, either starters or relievers, who can help next year?
-- Ken N., Lubbock, Texas
Yohander Mendez heads a good group of Double-A Frisco starters with Ariel Jurado, Collin Wiles, Pedro Payano and Tyler Davis. But they all need more time and experience, so the Rangers' offseason starting-pitching additions need to come from outside.
Relievers? Texas always seems to come up with young, hard-throwing relievers. Nick Gardewine and Ricardo Rodriguez are the latest in a long line. Keone Kela and Matt Bush are a part of it, but remember Jon Edwards, Luke Jackson, Matt West and Wilmer Font? Connor Sadzeck and Reed Garrett are next on the assembly line to watch for next year.
What is Gallo's ceiling, as far as the number of home runs he will hit in a year?
-- Gary P., Fort Worth, Texas
It is easy to imagine Gallo hitting 50-plus home runs a season. On the other hand, if he develops into a true hitter with good plate discipline, the home run totals might not be as impressive, but some of the other numbers could soar. Anybody notice this guy is second on the team in walks with 71? Gallo is two behind Choo with more than 100 fewer plate appearances.
Whatever happened to Jairo Beras, that big-time hitting prospect the Rangers had?
-- Tim K., Austin, Texas
Beras was not only a great power-hitting prospect, but he also had a tremendous arm. When his hitting didn't come around like the Rangers expected, they turned him into a reliever this summer with the hopes of taking advantage of that arm. The experiment is just beginning at Class A.
If the Rangers can secure Shohei Ohtani, would he be allowed to play second base between pitching starts?
-- Bill W., Amarillo, Texas
Ohtani is an outfielder and a designated hitter.
Would it benefit Odor to tilt up his batting helmet a little so that he could see the pitches better? Seems like he is tilting his head back to see. May not look as cool, but it could raise his batting average a few points.
-- Jim C., Las Vegas, Nev.
Probably wouldn't lower it.