A Key For 2016: Shin-Soo Choo

Prior to the 2014 season, the Texas Rangers signed Shin-Soo Choo to a 7-year, $130 million deal. Things started off rocky with an injury-filled 2014, and heading into 2015, he was one of my picks for a bounce-back season. He started slowly, but ended up picking up steam, good for a fWAR of 3.5.

In order to once again be competitive with the Astros (and Mariners) in the AL West this season, Texas will need Choo to once again provide value by getting on base and hitting for extra bases.

Choo's defensive runs saved of -11 in 2015 plays about in line with what we can expect from him going forward, so he is one of those players that needs to provide excess value with his bat.

The question of the bat depends on which Choo you think is the real Shin-Soo Choo. As an example, here is a time-lapse GIF of Choo's isolated slugging by month in 2015.

Courtesy: eSPN Stats & Information

Courtesy: eSPN Stats & Information

Furthermore, Choo's first-half wOBA in 2015 was .308, while his second half wOBA was .443. With a first-half BABIP of .265 and second-half BABIP of .420, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. Of course, a full season of somewhere in the middle would have Choo being an immensely productive member of the Texas lineup.

This season, the hope would be that Choo can be more consistent throughout the year. He doesn't need to be an MVP candidate, but if he can replicate last season's wOBA of .365 while being at least serviceable in right field, I'd think that Texas would take that in a heartbeat.

I'm still of the opinion that Shin-Soo Choo is one of the more valuable pieces Texas has on the roster. No, he's not the most exciting to some fans, but when he's playing up to his potential, his run-creating value is potentially higher than anyone else on the Rangers. The Rangers will need that value to once again compete in 2016.