All offseason, we've heard about how the Rangers are going to be better this year in the pitching rotation because they'll have a full season of Cole Hamels and will hopefully get Yu Darvish back from his Tommy John surgery layoff in either late May or early June.
But just how much better? And why?
Our buddy Gerry Fraley of The Dallas Morning News threw out a pretty huge stat this week analyzing a pretty key reason why everyone is so high on the rotation being so much better this year.
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Forget the fact Derek Holland missed four months a year after missing the first five months of the 2014 season and he's bound to be more productive in 2016 — knock on wood. That doesn't even figure into Fraley's tidbit.
Here's what Fraley said as his reasoning for picking the Rangers to repeat as AL West champs:
They won the division last season despite getting only 12 starts total from LHP Cole Hamels and RHP Yu Darvish. What happens if they get about 50 starts from them this season? With Darvish and Hamels, the Rangers are unlikely to lead AL rotations in walks and finish last in strikeouts as they did last season.
Lead in walks and last in strikeouts — yuck. That's not a recipe for success, yet somehow they managed to win the West last year with that awful combination. It's hard to believe that happens again.