AL West MLB MLB Team News — 10 February 2011

The defending champs had so much offense last season that their pitching only needed to keep them afloat. Unfortunately, they lost their biggest buoy when Cliff Lee decided to take his talents to Philly. The only replacement that the Rangers could find was Brandon Webb, who no longer has a shoulder.

By signing Adrian Beltre, they’ve managed to maintain one of the most productive offenses in the game, but Texas will need everything to fall perfectly into place on the other side of the ball if they expect to repeat as AL West champs. Don’t be surprised if things don’t work out, and the Rangers find themselves struggling to reach .500.

Key Additions: Adrian Beltre, Yorvit Torrealba, Brandon Webb, Arthur Rhodes

Key Losses: Cliff Lee, Bengie Molina, Vlad Guerrero, Jorge Cantu

Lineup:

C: Yorvit Torrealba

1B: Mitch Moreland

2B: Ian Kinsler

3B: Adrian Beltre

SS: Elvis Andrus

LF: Josh Hamilton

CF: Julio Borbon

RF: Nelson Cruz

DH: Michael Young

Rotation:

1: CJ Wilson

2: Colby Lewis

3: Tommy Hunter

4: Derek Holland

5: Brandon Webb

CL: Neftali Feliz

Critical Players to Success:

CJ Wilson and Colby Lewis: As was noted above, the Rangers’ offense is not the problem.  With the loss of Lee, youngsters CJ Wilson and Colby Lewis will really have to step up and become top pitchers. They both had good seasons last year, but picking up where a CY Young award winner left off is no easy task.

Brandon Webb: Even if the top of the rotation is solid, Texas still needs to worry about the bottom half. Nobody knows what to expect from Brandon Webb after missing 2 years. If he returns to form, he’ll help the Rangers win a pennant. If he doesn’t, he’ll lose his job to a replacement level pitcher. I wouldn’t expect too much from Webb.

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Tim Young is a Civil Engineer away from MLBSoup, but at the site he heads the pre-season fantasy baseball draft guide and reviews each week in the big leagues with his weekly round-up report. His heavily math-based background shows up in his writing, as he likes to keep a focus on numbers, and dig deeper than the usual surface scratching.

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