Since Rangers’ first baseman Mitch Moreland has spent the past month or so, since he came off the disabled list on July 30, absolutely crushing the ball. As such, we can forgive those who haven’t so much noticed the work Moreland’s been doing at first base, which has been pretty stellar as well.
On Tuesday alone, Moreland made two key plays to help Texas to a 1-0 victory--a) starting an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the fourth, and b) making a diving play on what almost certainly would have been a game-tying extra base hit for Ben Zobrist otherwise, in the eighth.
According to Fangraphs.com, via the Dallas Morning News, Moreland ranks as the fourth best first baseman in the league in terms of Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 games, which tallies how many runs a player saves over that span; Moreland is only behind Adrian Gonzalez, Mark Texeira and James Loney in this regard, and all of these guys have Gold Glove Awards on their mantle.
“He’s really improving,” manager Ron Washington said, per the Morning News. “He’s getting there. He deserves a ton of credit for it. His hands are better because he’s improved his footwork. He’s quicker on his feet, and he’s moving better laterally. He is trusting his instincts.”