Some thoughts I have on the Rangers this morning:
- Nick Tepesch, especially as a guy that wasn't supposed to be in the rotation at this point, has been a fantastic addition thus far. After 3 starts, including yesterday's effort in which he gave up only 2 earned runs, Tepesch has a 2.95 ERA and an xFIP of 3.56. It remains to be seen how strong he will remain moving forward, but having provided 0.4 fWAR in his 3 starts thus far, he's already provided more value than Matt Harrison did (0.1 fWAR), and Harrison was expected to be a huge piece of this season's rotation.
- Rougned Odor has impressed me with his overall play. He only has 47 plate appearances, but he's made the most of them, putting up a line of .295/.311/.477 and a wRC+ of 111. I've seen many comparisons that put Odor in the same mold as Dustin Pedroia, who currently holds a wRC+ of 102. That isn't to say that, after a small sample size, Odor is a better player, but to highlight how well he's acclimated himself early on. He's going to go through his struggles, but with a BABIP of .316, I do wonder exactly how much regression we may see. Looking at his heat map for slugging percentage, you can see that he's feasting on pitches over the heart of the plate, which is exactly what you'd like to see a talented young hitter do.
- I'm still not sure exactly how on board I am with the idea of bringing Tanner Scheppers back in a relief role. With Joe Saunders getting the start on Wednesday, and with the idea that Scheppers was hurt early on by elbow issues, I just wonder if Tanner's value might be higher for the Rangers right now as a rotation piece, even if only until Derek Holland makes his return.
- The Rangers are going to get a solid look at exactly how Michael Choice fits into the future of the organization. With Moreland playing 1st base essentially full time, Choice will likely get the bulk of the at-bats at either the DH position or in left field when Choo needs time off. That trend will likely continue until Chioce either seizes the role and takes advantage of it, or Wash decides to go in another direction. I'd imagine the next few weeks will go a long way toward determining that. Furthermore, Choice's performance very well may determine the future of Alex Rios as a Ranger. Maybe not at the trade deadline this season as some have speculated, but certainly for 2015.
- Happy Yu Darvish Day, everyone. Tonight, Darvish faces off against Phil Hughes, who is having a bounceback season of sorts in Minnesota after spending his entire career in New York with the Yankees.