Levine: Moreland Could be Lineup's X-Factor | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Levine: Moreland Could be Lineup's X-Factor

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    SEATTLE, WA - APRIL 26: Mitch Moreland #18 of the Texas Rangers is congratulated after hitting a tie-breaking sacrifice fly in the eighth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on April 26, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

    Mitch Moreland hasn't had the luck of a healthy season very often in his career.

    His one full season came in 2013 when he played 147 games and hit a career-high 23 homers with a career-high 60 RBIs. On the flip side, he saw his batting average dip more than 40 points from the 2012 season, and a similar decline in on-base percentage.

    Last year, Moreland never found his power stroke, but then we found out why as he was shut down to have ankle reconstruction surgery for a chronically bad ankle that had bothered him down the stretch in 2013, as well. That led to Moreland playing just 52 games in 2014 as one of several Rangers who dealt with season-ending injuries.

    Now, he's back and looks to be basically a full-time player, whether he's playing designated hitter, some left field or maybe even some first base. And at least one member of the Rangers' front office thinks Moreland could be the X-factor for the Rangers' lineup.

    "I almost see him as a sleeping giant, not a lot of people are talking about him," assistant GM Thad Levine said in a radio interview with 105.3 The Fan last week. "People see the top of our order, the middle of our order, but they really overlook what the second half of our order can do, and I think that’s headlined by Mitch. We still think very highly of him. I think this is a bounce back year for him, and if he has a good year it’s going to be very difficult for American League starting pitchers to get through our lineup."