ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 23: Craig Gentry #23 of the Texas Rangers celebrates a win with Michael Young #10 and Adrian Beltre #29 against the Seattle Mariners at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on September 23, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Craig Gentry; Michael Young; Adrian Beltre
Everyone with an eye on Major League Baseball knows how ridiculous the Texas Rangers' offense has been as of late, as everyone is finally healthy at the same time.
The best analogy, perhaps, is that Nelson Cruz is hitting No. 7 or No. 8 in the lineup, and he finished the regular season with 29 home runs. In fact, the Rangers are just the sixth team in AL history to have four players with at least 29 home runs (Cruz, Mike Napoli, Ian Kinsler and Adrian Beltre).
They hit .320 as a team in September, which is just an insane number for a team batting average, and finished atop the league in team average, hitting .283.
So yeah, the Rangers lineup is pretty potent, but perhaps the scariest thing for the Rays, and other potential opponents down the line, is the lineup's versatility.
The postseason is all about getting your best guys on the field and having some key players on the bench to use in pinch-hit, pinch-run or defensive replacement situations.
That means the struggling Mitch Moreland won't be starting despite his torrid 2010 postseason. He's struggling too much at the plate, but he's a no-brainer on the playoff roster because of his defensive versatility. He'll also be a nice bat off the bench.
That means Michael Young and Mike Napoli should be the primary first basemen as Young will probably be the everyday guy because of Napoli's success this season behind the plate and calling the Rangers' young pitchers.
Craig Gentry will never start a postseason game, but he could be an invaluable weapon as a pinch-runner or pinch-hitter, and the same goes for Endy Chavez.
Michael Young was not happy this winter with the whole "move to DH" thing, and it made him even madder when the Rangers went out and traded for Napoli. But Young has played in the field this season more than he's DH'ed, and he and Napoli are the keys to the Rangers offensive versatility that makes Ron Washington the envy of every manager in the league.