There wasn't a worst player in baseball last season through the first month than the Rangers' $130 million man, Shin-Soo Choo.
There might not have been a better player in baseball over the final few months of the season, and there definitely wasn't, at least not in the American League, in the final month of 2015, as Choo took AL Player of the Month honors while leading the Rangers on a tremendous stretch run to clinch the AL West.
This year, Choo is hoping he can buck a career trend of being a bad starter to the season, especially coming off his awful 2015 April which was bad, even by his low standards.
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“Over my career, I think I’ve had only one great start," Choo told the Star-Telegram. "I don’t know why.”
It's not a rare thing. In fact, several Rangers in recent memory have been notorious slow starters, including Mr. Ranger himself, Adrian Beltre. But nothing has been as futile as Choo's starts, especially not last season's when there was actually talk about the Rangers trying to pawn him off to someone else for pennies on the dollar similar to the way they acquired Josh Hamilton from the Angels.
Then, something happened after the all-star break shortly after Jeff Banister dropped Choo to as low as eighth in the order and even stripped him of everyday duties, giving the Rangers a $130 million platoon man.
Following the break, Choo slashed .343/.455/.560/1.016. After batting.400 and posting a .515 on-base percentage in September, he took home American League’s Player of the Month honors.
“The man was as good as anybody in the game last year in the second half,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “Not just offensively, but defensively too.”
In order for the Rangers to be contenders again in the increasingly tough AL West, they're going to need Choo to be more like second-half-2015 Choo and less like the slow-starting Choo we've seen for the majority of his career.