Preparing for the Inevitable: The Rangers Are Going to Trade Adrian Beltre, Aren't They?


Apparently I haven’t been doing a very good job keeping up with this blog in recent months. Looking down the list here, I guess it’s been over six months since I posted at all, and around ten months since my last post of any substance about the Rangers.

I suppose it’s time to get back on the horse, so to speak. And with that, I’ll jump right into talking about the Texas-sized elephant in the room: Adrian Beltre.

Adrian Beltre is my favorite Texas Ranger to wear the uniform. That spot once belonged to Pudge, but the way Beltre has maintained a high level of play despite his advancing age is enviable to me. He plays hard, has fun, and has managed to remain relevant despite age -- and a plethora of leg injuries turning his legs into spaghetti -- sapping most of his athleticism.

Beltre will be 39 years old on April 7. In 389 plate appearances in 2017, Beltre still put up an fWAR of 3.1, and ZiPS projects him to regress slightly in 2018 with 430 plate appearances and a 2.7 fWAR. If that turns out to be the case, it’s not a bad place to be when you’re an infielder knocking on the door of age 40.

If somehow Beltre manages to keep his legs mostly intact for a full season, you’re talking about a game-changing player perhaps putting up an All-Star kind of season. That is, the kind of player, on an average to below-average team that is more valuable as a trade asset than he is to the end-product on the field in 2018.

It pains me to even think it, let alone say it, but the more I think about it, the more I believe Adrian Beltre is going to get traded in 2018.

He’s long made it known that at this stage of his career he’d like to win. His comments earlier in the offseason about being willing to defer some of his money to help the team sign free agents struck me not so much as a guy making his intentions known for the first time, but rather sending a message to his organization as if to say, “Hey, you say you want to win, so let’s get out there and make some noise.”

Unless you’re counting the signing of Tim Lincecum as noise, the beat never really dropped, and while the front office will publicly say they’re expecting the Texas Rangers to compete in 2018, they’ve done almost nothing to actually indicate that this is anything more than a season to re-tool and assess some younger players. Baseball being what it is, they could shock us all. Maybe Joey Gallo takes another step forward. Maybe Rougned Odor the transmogrification of Rougned Odor into one of the best 2nd basemen in the game happens as many expected only a season ago. Maybe Nomar Mazara puts his name in the All-Star conversation. And perhaps Jurickson Profar and Willie Calhoun give this team something of value.

But really, if we’re being honest, even if all of those things happen… the Astros are still the king of the AL West. The Rangers likely don’t have the pitching to get it done, and even if the offense is above-average, run prevention will be the achilles heel. In addition to hoping all of the aforementioned players break the right way, you’re still somehow hoping that Cole Hamels turns back the clock three years, Matt Moore reverts to the kind of pitcher he was before Tommy John surgery, and one or two other starters step up and provide some added stability.

Again, maybe those things all happen. I just don’t find it very likely. And that leads me to believe Adrian Beltre will be traded.

I know, I don’t want to see him in Yankees uniform (just guessing) anymore than next guy. And yet, it all makes too much sense. Joey Gallo will at least start the season at first base. The Rangers say that’s his position, but he’s naturally a third baseman -- and likely more valuable there due to his athleticism -- and could slide over in the event of Beltre being traded.

Ronald Guzman has mostly proved all he can at Triple-A. Sure, he’ll start there to open 2018, but he’s mostly Major League ready and he’s also a first baseman. From there, you’ve also got to find playing time for Jurickson Profar. He’s out of minor league options, so he’ll be on the 25-man roster barring an unforeseen trade.

This is where I get into super-speculative mode and mention that of all the promotions the Rangers are doing at the ballpark in 2018, the ones featuring Adrian Beltre all come prior to the trade deadline. Could this be mere coincidence? Or did the Rangers want to avoid another Jonathan Lucroy scenario in which you’re handing out a bobblehead of a player no longer on the team? I’m sure it was at least considered.

The fact is, unless everything goes right and nothing goes wrong -- this all speaks nothing of potential injuries -- Adrian Beltre won’t set the Rangers over the top in 2018. Yes, he’ll put butts in seats, and maybe that’s all the organization wants. But having already cleared the 3,000-hit milestone in a Texas uniform, there’s not really much reason to hold a player hostage who can try to go win a World Series somewhere else while also adding to your future talent pool in the process.

With that in mind, I suppose I’ll do my best to enjoy every game of Beltre I can while he’s still in Texas.

While Baseball is Unimportant, Reid Ryan Makes Sure We Know It's Important

It’s been awhile since I’ve written, and perhaps it’s a bit uncouth that, during one of the worst natural disasters my home state of Texas has seen on record, I’ve decided to write again. And yet, sometimes it’s the maintaining a sense of normalcy amidst the chaos that gets us through.

I may not be at ground zero of the catastrophe unfolding with our neighbors down south, but make no mistake, some of my oldest friends are in the middle of this mess. I have relatives in Spring that are waiting and hoping for the waters to recede before reaching their home. And perhaps most stressful to me, I have a special woman that lives in Dickinson, perhaps the city that’s been hit hardest in the middle of all of this.

To say it’s been nerve-wracking would be an understatement, and yet I can’t even fathom what those losing homes are going through. I only know mostly what she tells me. That she has a double-digit number of people in her home right now because so many have lost their own. The rains aren’t stopping yet, and by the time this all clears, it may be years before the area can be what it once was.

With that, I take a moment to step aside and talk a little about baseball. Something normal. And the fact that, quite obviously, the Houston Astros can’t play any home games at Minute Maid Park right now.

Originally, the schedule was for Texas and Houston to open a three-game series in Houston today. When it became clear that the storm unfolding was as bad as it is, both teams flew back from their respective road trips to DFW to assess the next move. As much as the disaster unfolding sucks, most of the rest of the world continues turning, and baseball isn’t excluded from that.

With the Astros unable to host the series in their home park, discussions took place on an alternative course of action. For many, the obvious answer seemed to be to simply have the teams switch home series. The Rangers would take the series starting today, and then travel to Houston to play September 25-27.

This, of course, presented its own set of problems, mostly for the Rangers. It led to the Rangers offering to host both series, but for the current series, make Houston the “home team”. They would bat in the bottom half of each inning, wear their home white uniforms, and perhaps most importantly, take home all revenues from the series.

Instead, the series will take place in Tampa, with both organizations flying halfway across the country to play in a stadium that can’t even get fans to show up for their own hometown ball club. And Reid Ryan, President of the Astros and son of Nolan Ryan, had a little something to say about it.

Obviously, the situation both organizations find themselves in is a tough one. The idea of thinking about what's best for business right now, on the surface, feels a bit icky, but make no mistake, no option either side could have presented would "fix" what's going on in Houston and the surrounding areas right now.

This idea that the Rangers should have immediately given way to the demands of the Astros because of the situation is a bit asinine to me. While the implication is that baseball isn't very important right now in the grand scheme of things, Reid Ryan then turned and... well made baseball the focus of the entire debate.

From the perspective of the Astros, there were two options here:

1) Accept the Rangers counter-offer of playing both series in Arlington, while taking revenues and all benefits from being the home team from the first series.

2) Force both organizations to fly halfway across the country because the other side simply wouldn't give in.

As far as option one is concerned, you simply can't convince me that it wouldn't provide more revenue for the Astros than playing in Tampa. With many of the hurricane-displaced people actually in Dallas, games in Arlington would certainly draw a better crowd.

And as for Ryan's assertion that he needed to look out for their players' best interest and the integrity of the schedule? What part of taking players even further from their families is in their best interest? What part of keeping team that has a 13-game lead in the division with a month to play from playing a few extra games in Arlington has anything to do with the integrity of the schedule?

From the perspective of the Rangers, switching series would have been two-fold. They'd have needed to refund tickets already sold for the home series in September while also attempting to sell walk-ups for a series announced just about 24 hours in advance. The Astros, meanwhile, would have had a month to prepare for their own series. In this case, it would have put the entirety of the financial burden on the Rangers while, all other circumstances that are out of human control considered, the Astros would have gained some benefit from it.

And while it's hard to feel too sorry for billionaire owners and which one gets to pocket a little bit of excess cash, baseball is a business. We see it when our favorite players go to a rival team, or sometimes when our favorite team refuses to pay what a player is asking for. So as much as it sucks to say while everything else is going on in Texas, baseball is still a business. And adding the financial aspect to the fact that the Rangers wanted to avoid having a 12-game road trip at the end of September, it just never made complete sense to exchange series.

And yet that didn't stop Reid Ryan from taking the focus away from what's going on near his organization's home park and placing it squarely on baseball. And attempting to make the Texas Rangers the villain. In the back of my mind, I can't help but wonder if it's not at least partially driven by the messy divorce his father had with the Rangers organization.

This all ignores the fact that the rain is predicted to continue through the end of the week. It's highly likely that the Astros would have needed to scramble to find another place to play their next series against the Mets anyway. Just don't believe that's stopping Reid Ryan from finding a way to make the Rangers the villain in all of this.

Perhaps Joe Sheehan summarized it best:

I recognize that emotions are high, but to me, the Rangers didn’t do anything wrong here. There was a hurricane in Houston in August that rendered the city unable to host baseball games. That the solution to that should have fallen on Rangers fans holding tickets to September games strikes me as random. The Rangers offered their stadium and the money they’d make opening it for three days; what they weren’t willing to do was stiff their own fans by changing the schedule on short notice. The Astros, or at least Reid Ryan, seem to think Rangers fans should have carried that weight. I can’t say I see the argument.

This isn’t about the thousands of Houstonians suffering tonight, fearful, lost, shocked. This is about two businesses having a fight, each protecting their self-interest. The city of Houston isn’t being ravaged by Jon Daniels. Adrian Beltre isn’t traipsing through H-Town gleefully tearing open sandbags. This is a dispute between spectacularly rich business entities. Let’s not create gods and monsters of them.

There is no right and wrong here, and looking for it — stirring up animus to win a public-relations war — is the only immorality I see.

Additionally, with a significant chance of rain in the forecast in Arlington this week, there's the possibility that the games wouldn't have been played in a timely manner anyway.

Would I have given in to the demands of the Astros? Probably. But that's also probably why I could never be a billionaire. I don't have the kind of cutthroat drive it often requires to get to that point.

Through all of this, my hope is that fans from both sides can come together and help our neighbors down south. I speak candidly when I say it's very near to my heart, and I hope that in a month, two months, or a year, we'll be talking about how Texans came together for a common cause rather than where a baseball series was played.

If you have the means and the desire, I'd encourage to you take a look here and consider a donation to the organization of your choosing to aid in the disaster relief.

The Rangers Rebuild part 01: Tear It Down?

I don't have it in me right now to write an epic post discussing every possible aspect of what the Texas Rangers look like going forward.  I've got two videos to edit professionally, one of which requires the director's input (yech) and then I've got about a dozen to edit for myself; at least three other articles I've promised to write for various people by October because I was insane on the day, AND Windows 10 Creators Update just forced itself onto three different laptops I manage and I'm having to deal with all of the BS Microsoft forced into this update (It's not all that bad at the core, once you get rid of the cruft).

And then there's Yu Darvish.

OK, I have to eulogize here a bit.  Like most of you, dear readers, I've been a fan of the Texas Rangers basically all of my cognizant life.  I grew up with Texas being one of the "other" clubs...not even worthy of mention unless you needed to be precise.  The Rangers' purpose in life was to develop talent for the real baseball teams...New York, Boston, Los Angeles.  Texas didn't have it's own players...if they were any good, they would go to their real teams sooner or later.  Or in many cases, Texas got a player in their dotage, even if occasionally their dotage was really damned good, like Nolan Ryan.  But let's not fool ourselves...Nolan did great things as a Texas Ranger, but his best stretch of pitching was with the Los Angeles Angels.  And then the Astros.  Certainly he set all of the longevity records with Texas; and the almost inexplicable no-hitters; but he was still a borrowed hero.  Just because he was from Texas didn't make him an automatic Ranger.  This is why Pudge Rodriguez and Adrian Beltre are so important.  Both are implicitly Texas Rangers, regardless of what they did elsewhere.

Yu Darvish was a Texas Ranger.

And yet, seeing him have such a fabulous first game for L.A.  Seeing him throw the pitches he wanted, and succeed.  Seeing him happy, something that seemed to happen only sparingly in Texas, where everything was apologies and defending him from his own "fans"...he's not a Texas Ranger anymore, I suspect.  Darvish may not be a Hall of Famer, due to his age and the amount of time he has left, but he's going to be a footnote.  And a footnote to that footnote will be that he was signed out of Japan by Texas, but then went only to win a World Series with...whoever.  And then another one with someone else, probably.  He'll pitch until he's 45, and maybe he'll make the Hall of Fame in the end, and he won't be wearing a Texas cap.

Texas never deserved Yu Darvish. that he's gone, it's time to see clearly.  Texas has a rebuild in the works, and it's time for us interested fans to figure out what's going on, and I want your input.

The first question to be addressed:  is this a restart?  Are the Rangers going to tear it all down and start over from scratch?  This is the important first step, because it establishes the framework.  That is to say...if Texas is going to tear everything down and start over, then it's likely Jon Daniels will be gone at the end of the season.  If the owners feel he has failed in his main task and want everything retooled, it is highly likely they'll want a fresh opinion put in place making those decisions.  Banister and the other coaches likely aren't gone in this scenario...anybody will do while the team is rebuilding.  Their job is to just...mind the store, until it's time to compete.  Of course, one or more of the coaches may not find that an amenable opportunity and leave of their own volition, we don't know that.

As I said, I want input.  There's not much point in watching the games right now, so give it some serious thought.  I want to know, NOT whether Jon Daniels SHOULD be here next year, but given that some level of rebuild IS happening, will Jon Daniels be the person overseeing the first stages of it?  Will he be at the helm next year?

The Rangers Offense Is... Troubling

On the morning of May 3, 2017, the Texas Rangers find themselves with a record of 11-16. Last place in the AL West and seven games back of the Houston Astros. If you're one to look for coorelations, it's the same exact record Texas started with in 2015.

And if you're one to look for hope, there's always the fact that the 2015 iteration of the Rangers didn't have Yu Darvish or -- at least until late in the season -- Cole Hamels. Just how long Hamels will remain out remains to be seen, but he's on the roster, nonetheless.

That 2015 club was awaiting the returns of Martin Perez, Derek Holland, and to a lesser extent, Matt Harrison. The club ended up using the likes of Wandy Rodriguez, Phil Klein, Ross Detwiler, Chi Chi Gonzalez, Nick Martinz, and Anthony Ranaudo to start games. 57 of them, to be exact. So if you're looking for a silver lining, things don't appear to be *that* bad. Yet.

Yet, it's not 2015. It's 2017, and the Astros are a better team than in 2015. Texas wouldn't appear to be primed to go snag a top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher at the trade deadline. And on top of it all, April was supposed to be the easiest month of the schedule for the Rangers. That's now in the rear view mirror.

There are things to like about what Texas has done thus far. They've scored 123 runs, which is in the top-ten in MLB. Unfortunately, they've also allowed 120, which leaves very little room for error only a season removed from a club that seemingly managed to keep up that high-wire act through the conclusion of the regular season.

It goes without saying that you have to score more runs than you allow on a consistent basis to be good at baseball. It's why the Washington Nationals, who have given up 128 runs of their own, still sport the National League's best record at 17-9: They've also scored 173 runs.

When it comes to pitching, Texas has what it has. At this point, you're going to have Yu Darvish doing underappreciated Darvish things at the top, hopefully flashes of brilliance from Cole Hamels and, to a lesser extent, Martin Perez, and A.J. Griffin perhaps being an innings-eater. Beyond that, you can pick your own poison for that fifth rotation spot; I'm not so sure it really matters.

The point is, this team was always built to score runs. A lot of them. And a top-ten offense simply isn't going to cut it if Texas hopes to cut into the deficit in the division as we head into the summer months.

Collectively, Texas has put up a wRC+ of 90 on the season. That is, they're ten percent worse than league average. That comes despite having hit the fifth-most home runs in baseball with 40.

With a home run total like that, you'd expect an offense that has a flair for power. You'd likely be wrong. Team slugging sits at .403, which is exactly middle-of-the-pack in baseball. That is, Texas is hitting home runs, and combined with the sixth-worst on-base percentage of .297, they're not doing a whole heck of a lot else.

In other words, the Texas Rangers offense would seem to have a problem with making contact. Indeed, a 75.4% contact rate is the fifth-worst in baseball, and with a team that is swinging at pitches outside of the zone at a higher rate (31.7%) than all but two other teams... there's very little plate discipline happening within the Rangers batting order.

As much as fans love to hate on Shin-Soo Choo because of his contract and Carlos Gomez because he looks so awful when he strikes out, those two guys have actually been fine with wRC+ figures of 116 and 106, respectively. They're both above league-average hitters.

Perhaps most concerning is that of the 226 plate appearances taken from the fourth and fifth spots in the lineup this season, 217 of them have been some combination of Rougned Odor and Mike Napoli.

Odor sports a .568 OPS and a wRC+ of 47 in 111 plate appearances.

Napoli sports a .536 OPS and a wRC+ of 37 in 107 plate appearances.

There's still time, but it's at least concerning.

For Odor, the concern is the same as it always has been. He's a free-swinging hitter, doesn't take walks very often, and there's really no reason for a pitcher to ever throw him a strike. Through the course of a plate appearance, the likelihood of Rougie laying off of four pitches is much less likely than him swinging through three of them.

I'm not sure what the issue is there, but would guess that as a younger player, Rougie gets caught in the moment. It's a lot easier to feel like you're helping your team win when you come through with big hits rather than standing at the plate with the bat on your shoulder. I might be wrong on this, but I'm probably not.

At best, Rougned Odor is mildly overrated. At worst, pitchers are going to continue exploiting his biggest flaw and he'll continue looking helpless. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. With his new contract, he's not going anywhere anytime soon, so it's mostly a moot point. Other than moving him down in the lineup, there's not just a whole lot the Rangers can do.

Napoli, on the other hand, is much more troublesome, and it wouldn't surprise me to see him run out of chances soon. At 35 years old, he's not the same player he once was, and even his vaunted on-base skills of the past are mostly negated by the fact that he appears to have lost his bat speed.

Below, you'll see heat maps of Napoli's swing rate and contact rate for various parts inside and outside of the strike zone.

Courtesy: ESPN Stats & Information

Courtesy: ESPN Stats & Information

Courtesy: ESPN Stats & Information

Courtesy: ESPN Stats & Information

As you can see, Napoli is swinging at pitches in the upper half of the strike zone, but he's... not exactly making a whole lot of contact.

More troublesome is that two areas where he's making the most contact are way inside and way outside of the strike zone.

I'm no scout, but one area of concern for me regarding bat speed would be a hitter that is swinging through fastballs in the zone and guessing incorrectly on pitches out of the zone. Especially when that player, as recently as last season, put up an on-base percentage of .335 and hasn't had a walk rate of less than 12.1% since prior to the 2011 season. His walk rate this season? 5.6%.

Diving into the plate discipline numbers, Napoli is swinging at pitches outside of the zone at the highest rate of his career at 29.1%. On those pitches, he's making the least contact since his rookie season with a contact rate on pitches out of the zone of 45.7%. Combined with the highest swing percentage of his career of 44.8%, Mike Napoli seems totally lost at the plate.

Is it the hip finally giving out? A severe slump to start the season? Or are we looking at a player that realizes he needs to decide to swing earlier, and is thus guessing? It's probably still too early to say for certain, but the numbers are at least troubling.

Should Napoli continue to struggle, it won't surprise me to see Ryan Rua take over the bulk of the playing time at first base. He's another player fans love to hate, and he hasn't been very good in 43 plate appearances this season, but at a certain point, Jeff Banister simply can't keep rolling out the same hitters in the fourth and fifth spots of the lineup with the hope that things will just fix themselves.

Of course, much of this can be negated if Adrian Beltre can come back healthy and productive. That likely gives Texas the flexibility to slide Joey Gallo over to first base and/or left field while occasionally playing third when Beltre needs a DH day or a day off.

At the very least, the offense needs to be better than it has been. The pitching likely is what it is. The talent level on that end is, quite simply, limited. However, the plate discipline simply has to improve, otherwise the Texas Rangers will spend the later months of the summer trying to flip their assets for younger prospects.


Rangers Pitching - April Report

Personally, I'm blaming the offense (and some other things) for where the Rangers are right now.  But as I spend most of my analysis time looking at pitching, here are a few things I've looked at:

This is a composite view of each Texas starter's ERA, FIP, and xFIP.  Everyone should be well familiar with Earned Run Average, but I usually get questions about what FIP and xFIP mean.  Fielding Independent Pitching is an ERA-equivalent statistic based on Home Runs, Walks, Hit-by-pitches, and Strikeouts.  It gives a view of a pitcher's run-prevention ability that removes the activity of the defense, and to a small extent certain park factors.  eXpected-FIP further replaces the Home Run part of the formula with a league-average based constant, which effectively removes bad luck and park factors from the Home Runs Allowed statistic.  FIP typically appears a bit worse than ERA, frequently by a half-run or a run per nine innings.  The very best pitchers every year will turn in a season in which ERA, FIP, and xFIP are all similar.  The sirens get turned on when a pitcher's ERA differs from his FIP and xFIP by larger margins than one run per nine, or when either xFIP or FIP are wildly out of line with one or both of the other two stats.

In other words, Darvish's column is not only good, it's exactly what one would expect given everything else we've ever seen from Darvish.  He's having a good year, and would probably be even better if he weren't having to deal with a squeezed strike zone consistently.

Nick Martinez looks great, but he's done this trick before.  Martinez has never shown the ability to maintain a FIP and xFIP this low, so we should expect at least a regression back to four and a half or five and a half runs per nine.  If he keeps this up, or something close to it....well, hot damn.

A.J. Griffin was doing exactly what he used to do, and is expected to do, before he got hurt.  Here's hoping he can come back up and do it some more.

(NOTE: After the 4/30 game, Perez moved behind Hamels.  That will be shown in the next chart.)

Cole Hamels hasn't looked very good this year.  There were signs last year this was coming, as was noted a couple of times here during last season.  He didn't look too hot in Spring Training, to the extent that even a couple of the Texas beat writers asked him about plans to fix his problems.  Hamels is a smart and experienced pitcher, who has frequently out-performed his peripherals...but he has a higher hurdle to clear this year than last.  You will notice Cole's FIP and xFIP are almost identical, and they're both saying he should be allowing 5 runs per 9 innings.  Some of that 3.03 ERA is the Rangers' defense...but I would expect things to trend poorly for Hamels until he goes on the DL.

Martin Perez was looking pretty OK until last night.  The bad news is that he's trended negative the entire first month so far.  It's only one month, and Perez seems for now I'm going to say that Pitching Coach Doug Brocail, along with Lucroy and Chirinos, are going to have to help Perez find a new approach.  Martin Perez hasn't had command of his changeup ever since returning from Tommy John Surgery.  That means what he have is what we're going to keep getting until someone can find a new key for him.

In my opinion, Andrew Cashner needs another month of rehab starts, working with coaches and trainers.  He shouldn't be the fifth starter for the Texas Rangers right now.  He has got by so far on luck.  Let's see if today's start shows us something new, or if he winds up the disabled list to facilitate some more rehab in the next week or so.

For reference, here's the current Rangers composite look mixed in with Houston:


Keuchel has been the recipient of some luck (clearly not from defense, as no-one else is getting that benefit), but that shouldn't take away from the fact that he's pitching really well right now.  A matchup between him and Darvish would come down to how the strike zone is called, and the offense...which gives the advantage to Keuchel.

McCullers' xFIP would seem to indicate he's been making better pitches than the results indicate.  A 4.34 ERA paired with a 3.47 FIP says the same.  But with Nick Martinez pitching the way he has, you could make the case that the top four pitchers are all quite good.

One thing you can take away from Houston's stats is that defense may be letting the side down, compared to Texas.  With so many FIPs and xFIPs being in agreement, but with elevated ERAs, Texas may have a lot of hits against Houston that wouldn't score against other teams.  Like McCullers, Morton is sporting an ERA a run higher than his FIP, again indicating runs being scored that shouldn't have.

Musgrove, Hamels, Griffin, and Perez are all hanging out in the same neighborhood, again putting it to the offense to sort out the difference.  And again, that's an advantage to Houston right now.  And then you have the outliers: Cashner and Fiers.  Cashner is averaging only three runs allowed per nine innings, despite his FIP and xFIP saying he should be giving up two or more MORE runs per nine.  Fiers, I don't know for sure what's going on.  His ERA compared to his xFIP is in line with the other Houston trends, but that FIP is way out of whack.  That usually means he's giving up a lot of walks and home runs, and guess what?  HE IS!

Now on to Texas' relievers:

OK, putting Dyson on there isn't really fair.

LeClerc has been slightly better against Righties than Lefties, but still better than anyone else in the bullpen against everybody.  He has also, for the record, performed that same with runners on base as with the bases empty, and in high-leverage situations.  Jose should be your most-high-leverage reliever, whether you need him in the sixth inning or the ninth.

Keone Kela has been a bit better verses Lefties than Righties.  While you would prefer a slightly lower xFIP (this goes for all of the rest of the relievers, too), it's important to note that in most bullpens other than this one, that works out to about three or four runs allowed per month.  Claudio and Bush have turned in similar performances to Kela, although it's probably worth noting that, in the small early-season sample size, Bush has been much better against Lefties than Righties.

Alvarez hasn't really been used enough to even out some glaring discrepancies in this stats.  His splits are mixed all over the place.  It's wild enough that I can't really make a predictive statement.  I hope the Rangers have better numbers available to make the best call, although I haven't seen any *consistent* evidence they're doing such a thing.

Barnette's numbers look about right.  When he's good, he's quite good.  When he's bad, he's quite bad.  He's had four bad outings by xFIP, three bad outings by FIP, only two of which are the same as the bad xFIP outings, and only two bad outings by ERA.  Which happened to be a good outing by xFIP, but bad by FIP, which means Home Runs.  And it was!  It was his only home run allowed this year.  Me personally, I would keep throwing him out there.  There's no correlation with number of batters faced with him, he seems to be a better long-man option right now.

That's probably how Jeffress needs to be used, as well.  I was vocal until recently that Jeffress needed the chance to close, but he's not proven out in high leverage situations.  In fact, he's the one Rangers reliever who has done markedly better in LOW leverage situations, with no runners on base.  Jeremy probably needs to be the primary long man, along with Barnette, for middle inning relief.  Save LeClerc, Bush, Claudio, and Kela for the higher-leverage spots.  Use them for fewer batters than you are now, keep them available night-after-night.

And that brings us to Sam Dyson, because I'm not going to analyze one appearance by Anthony Bass, even if it was bad.

There is no current evidence that Sam Dyson should be on the big league roster, let alone being used in high leverage situations.  There is no glimmer of hope in his advanced stats or splits.