Well, it's spring time again, and that means it's time to make bold and, in some cases, downright irresponsible predictions about the upcoming season of baseball.
But petty grudges aside, Kruk's words are encouraging. While I can't really endorse his call, it's good that someone has noticed the Rangers' positive, albeit gradual, turn as a franchise. Most of the 2009 projections I’ve heard have the Rangers dropping 85-90 games and, call me a hopeless, chauvinistic homer, but I can't believe the Rangers will be quite that bad. They have power, as they always do, but as they proved last year, these Rangers can manufacture runs as well; this is a relatively new idea in Arlington, one that seemingly came with Ron Washington.
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But even with all the positives, 2009 will not see the Rangers win the West. A second-place finish and a wild card spot, I can believe; but those pesky Angels are still pretty loaded, even in the absence of K-Rod and Mark Texeira. Namely, their fourth (fourth!) starter, All-Star Joe Saunders, won three more games (17) than the Rangers team-leader in wins last year, Vicente Padilla (14). The Rangers’ bats will certainly get to these pedigreed Angels starters every once in a while, but in the end, good pitching wins out over good hitting, and the Rangers do not (yet) have the arms to match up to the Halos.