Texas Rangers - PlayerWatch
RHP Neftali Feliz started the season at Triple-A Round Rock to work out some mechanical issues and increase velocity on a fastball that declined after elbow surgery. He returned to his closer's role after the trade of RHP Joaquin Soria at midseason, and he was effective, converting 12 of 13 save opportunities. Feliz said he wants to be the closer next year. "Love his confidence, love where he's at mentally," interim manager Tim Bogar said. "I have confidence in him. I don't think we need to go anywhere. I'm happy with him."
CF Engel Beltre underwent surgery Sept. 10 to insert rod a in his left leg. Beltre went through multiple rehab assignments since June due to a stress fracture in his right tibia, an injury that occurred in spring training.
Robinson Chirinos developed into one of the top catchers in the American League in terms of throwing out base-stealers. He will go to camp as the Rangers' top catcher. "Right now, for sure," GM Jon Daniels said, adding that he might look outside for a second catcher, preferring Tomas Telis to continue to develop at Triple-A. "For me, it's secondary on list of priorities."
CF Leonys Martin continued to grow in 2014, though he continued to struggle against left-handers. Nonetheless, he was pushed to be the leadoff hitter and responded by hitting .298 in 40 games; he also had 17 bunt base hits on the season. He needs to be a more patient hitter and see more pitches, though he walked 12 times in the leadoff spot, more than any other spot he hit in the order. If all goes well, Martin will bat leadoff in 2015. Martin has all the tools to be one of the better center fielders in the American League, and interim manager Tim Bogar called him the fastest player at that position. The Rangers want him to be a better leader in the field.
INF Jurickson Profar (torn right shoulder muscle) missed the entire season and sustained a setback when a degenerative issue surfaced near the shoulder joint in September. Nevertheless, a team doctor has prescribed more rehab, and he is expected to be ready in March.
RHP Yu Darvish (right elbow inflammation) did not pitch the last six weeks of the season. However, he has no structural damage, and he plans to begin his normal throwing program in November.
2B Rougned Odor was rushed to the majors because of circumstances, and he didn't disappoint. The 20-year-old surprised by hitting well, but he struggled when the league adjusted and learned how to pitch to him. Even so, Odor made his own adjustments and finished strong, hitting .296 in the last month to finish at .259 with 30 extra-base hits. "Hard to fault what he did up here," GM Jon Daniels. "It's a little early to name an Opening Day second baseman, but he's done nothing to make us doubt that (he could be it)."
3B Joey Gallo, 20, hit 40-plus home runs in the minors for the second season in a row. In all probability, he will make his first appearance at the end of next year or early 2016. There is some speculation that it might not be at third base. Gallo played some first for Double-A Frisco this year, though the team likely won't waste his arm there. In instructional league, he was been fiddling around in the outfield, but GM Jon Daniels said not to look too much into that. "It's about adding versatility and also about keeping him engaged and have a little fun out there," Daniels said. "I think it was a little bit of effort on our part to throw different things at him. We've got a Hall of Famer at third base, and if at some point we deem Joey is ready, we want to have some options."
OF Shin-Soo Choo never lived up to expectations in the first year of a seven-year, $130 million free agent contract. Before missing all of September, Choo played through a bum ankle for much of the season, and it showed. He hit .242 with 131 strikeouts in 123 games. Choo's career averages are 19 home runs and 78 RBIs, appreciably better than the 13 and 40 he registered in 2014. His last appearance in the clubhouse was in a walking boot. He underwent left elbow surgery in late August and left ankle surgery in mid-September. Choo will be back, but perhaps not in the leadoff role. Interim manager Tim Bogar said he visualizes Choo in the No. 5 slot if he is the full-time manager in 2015.
3B Adrian Beltre, without any viable protection almost the entire year, hit 19 home runs, drove in 77 RBIs and batted .324, fourth in the American League. The third baseman is due to make $18 million next season with a vesting option of $16 million in 2016 that the team can void if Beltre fails to either have 1,200 at-bats in 2014-15 combined or 600 at-bats in 2015. He had 612 at-bats in 2014.
LHP Derek Holland returned from knee surgery and showed glimpses of what the Rangers hope will be a reliable No. 2 starter behind RHP Yu Darvish. Holland was 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA in six games (five starts). Interim manager Tim Bogar also gave the lefty partial credit for the team's dramatic turn for the better late in the season, citing his dogged determination to return this season despite the team's last-place status as inspiration for his teammates.