Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections are a good measure of what to expect from players in the upcoming baseball season. We'll take a look at the Rangers' projections on a position-by-position basis. Szymborski can be found on Twitter at @DSzymborski.
Today we'll look at the projections for the Rangers at designated hitter, which will surely be a platooned gig from time to time but will most likely feature a lot of Mitch Moreland.
Moreland:357 plate appearances, 17 doubles, 11 home runs, 46 RBIs, .248 batting average, .304 on-base percentage, .409 slugging percentage
Moreland has been a guy the Rangers have obviously been rooting for to seize some kind of starting job ever since he emerged on to the scene in the 2010 postseason as a call-up. He has some serious pop, and eclipsed 20 homers in 2013, but that was really the only year he's been healthy for the majority of the season. Last year, he dealt with a bum ankle that he kept quiet, but it did a number on his numbers and eventually ended his season early in the summer.
Moreland is a better defensive first baseman than Prince Fielder, but the Rangers aren't paying Fielder his type of money to be a DH, and Fielder wants to play first base, so that'll happen more often than not. Moreland will be the club's full-time DH, especially against right-handed pitching, and the Rangers will hope he can stay healthy and hit 25 homers with 70-80 RBIs in the bottom of the order. Are those numbers in pipe dream territory? Possibly, but the Rangers hope not.