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 left fielder. Last year saw a jumbled mess in left featuring several players. Among them: Ryan Rua, Ryan Strausborger, Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli — yes, Mike Napoli — and Will Venable. This year, the hope is that Hamilton can carry a lot of the load and be relieved by recently acquired Justin Ruggiano along with Rua.
Hamilton: 374 plate appearances, 17 doubles, 1 triple, 14 home runs, 49 RBIs, .259 batting average, .313 on-base percentage, .438 slugging percentage
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These projections have Hamilton playing roughly half the season, which is probably about right given his vast injury history, and that's going to leave a lot of work to Ruggiano and Rua, and possibly even top prospect Nomar Mazara later in the season if he shows he's ready to make the jump. But the numbers aren't half-bad for Hamilton in the limited time he is projected to play. You're basically looking at a 30-homer, 100-RBI pace, which isn't bad at all.
It appears 2016 will be one more crapshoot of a year in left field before the suspected arrival of Mazara, who the Rangers see as a future all-star in the corner outfield. They won the AL West and easily could've been in the ALCS with the mess that was left field in 2015, so who's to say they can't do it again?