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2010 MLB Trade Deadline: Five Players the Rangers Should Target

Riding a seven-game winning streak on the road, the Texas Rangers have improved their record to 40-28, which is good for fourth best in all of baseball.

Even with the Rangers strong play, the Los Angeles Angels still sit only 2.5 games back of the Rangers after Saturday’s games, so it looks like the Rangers should be looking for some help when the trade deadline arrives.

Not everyone is going to be available at the trade deadline, but of the ones that are, the Rangers should be able to put up some pretty good offers for key pieces to a playoff run.

As we have seen in recent years, players like Cliff Lee, Manny Ramirez, and Mark Teixeira can make significant impacts to a contending teams’ chances at the end of the year and into the playoffs.

Many expect Texas to go after an ace-type pitcher at the deadline this year. Sure, Colby Lewis, CJ Wilson, and even Scott Feldman over his past few starts have been pitching great, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to add a true top guy for improved success along the way.

With the Rangers seemingly on the brink of a run of playoff seasons, this trade deadline seems like the perfect time to use their outstanding farm system to target some of the biggest names on the market. Which players should they go after most aggressively?

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Stephen Strasburg Immediately Improves the Washington Nationals

With each strikeout that Stephen Strasburg threw in his major league debut yesterday, Washington Nationals fans everywhere began to dream about what is to come for their relatively new major league franchise. Rightfully so, because last night will probably be seen as the starting point of a lot of special years for the Washington Nationals.

This franchise already has a ton of young talent. Obviously Stephen Strasburg is the main guy you can look at, but Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen, Ian Desmond, John Lannan and Ryan Zimmerman are all 25 years old or younger and are all having huge impacts on the team right now.

It’s not as if the Nationals are the bottom feeders of the MLB anymore, either. Yes, they have fallen back into a tie for last place in the NL East, but they have a respectable 28-31 record and are only going to keep adding young talent through their impressive minor league system. This team is young right now, but it is also learning how to win.

The Nationals have a lot to look forward to with their young talent at the major league level right now, but they also have the ability to get younger with more graduating minor league talent. Players like Derek Norris (catcher at High-A), Chris Marrero (first baseman at Double-A) and Bryce Harper (No. 1 overall pick) should be up in the next few years to help this improving team.

The main thing that Stephen Strasburg is doing for the Washington Nationals (besides helping them win a lot more games) is creating a buzz around the team. A ton of people tuned in to watch a Washington Nationals-Pittsburgh Pirates game last night! Think about that for a second.

Imagine how much he will increase attendance and therefore revenue for the Nationals. The extra money he will make the team can be used by the front office for higher priced free agents in the coming years, which will only help their chances of making the playoffs in the NL.

The Nationals front office showed that they were willing to spend this off-season by signing Ivan Rodriguez, Matt Capps, Jason Marquis and Adam Kennedy in a year that looked like it wasn’t going to be possible for them to compete. They are hovering around .500 right now and the only direction I see this team going is up.

Everyone will remember 2010 as the year the Nationals took that first step towards playoff baseball and everyone will remember June 8th, 2010 as the specific day where it was finally good to be a Nationals fan. Get ready for a lot more joy in the future, Nats fans.

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Stephen Strasburg, Jason Heyward and Mike Stanton: This Is Year Of The Rookie

After watching Stephen Strasburg carve through the Pittsburgh Pirates lineup in his major league debut to the tune of 14 strikeouts in 7 dominant innings, I couldn’t help but think how monumental 2010 could be in the history of baseball.

First, we had Jason Heyward make his much anticipated debut on Opening Day, April 5th. He hit a homerun on his first swing as a major league hitter and hasn’t looked back. His .266/.396/.511 stat line in 54 games this season is staggering for a 20-year old who is playing every day. Heyward seems well on his way to a fantastic career.

Today, we had the debuts of two huge prospects in the NL, Stephen Strasburg and Mike Stanton.

We were all awed by Stephen Strasburg’s 99 MPH fastball, knee-buckling curveball, un-hittable changeup and pinpoint control in his dominating first start. Everyone who watched any part of that game will be telling their grandchildren years from now that they saw Strasburg break into the major leagues. That’s the kind of performance it was and that’s the kind of career Strasburg is likely to have.

Mike Stanton was lost in all the hype of the Stephen Strasburg start, but he wasn’t so bad himself in his major league debut, going 3-5 and playing right field in the Marlins 10-8 loss to the Phillies. Stanton had insane power numbers in the minor leagues and is only 20 years old! I can’t wait to see what he can do as he continues to mature physically.

These three guys are going to be dominant for a long time, but they aren’t alone in their rookie stardom. Here are some more dominating rookies who should be the face of the MLB for years to come:

  • Neftali Feliz (2.73 ERA and AL-leading 15 saves)
  • Drew Storen (1.93 ERA in 10 relief appearances)
  • Justin Smoak (15% walk rate, 25% line drive rate and 6 homeruns)
  • Buster Posey (.455 avg in 35 PA this season)
  • Starlin Castro (19-year old defensive whiz hitting .272)
  • Madison Bumgarner (1.80 ERA in 10 innings with 10 strikeouts)
  • Jaime Garcia (1.47 ERA in 67.1 innings)
  • Ike Davis (.261/.360/.451 in 41 games)
  • Mike Leake (5-0 with a 2.22 ERA in 73 innings)
  • Austin Jackson (hitting .318 with speed on the bases and in the outfield)

Even with all of these impressive rookies that have made their debuts already, there are even more top-notch talent players on the way for later in this season. Players like Aroldis Chapman, Pedro Alvarez, Carlos Santana, Tanner Scheppers, Desmond Jennings and Kyle Drabek could also make their debuts during this season.

We haven’t seen a wave of young talent like since 2001 when Ichiro, Albert Pujols, CC Sabathia, Alfonso Soriano, Roy Oswalt, Brian Roberts, Adam Dunn, Ben Sheets, Carlos Zambrano, Josh Beckett and Carlos Pena all made their debuts.

Be sure to enjoy the 2010 MLB season, because it will probably be remembered as the year with one of the best rookie classes ever and the year that two of the best players ever (Strasburg and Heyward) made their debuts.

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Texas Rangers’ Top 20 Mid-Season Prospects

The Texas Rangers are clearly dedicated to building from within after they traded away their franchise first baseman, Mark Teixeira, for Jarrod Saltalamacchia and four other big-league prospects.

Four of the five players received in that trade (Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison, Neftali Feliz and Saltalamacchia) have made significant impacts in the major leagues and have shown Rangers fans that it is okay to trust the decisions that general manager Jon Daniels makes when it comes to the farm system.

So, when will these players make an impact in Arlington and what should MLB fans expect from some of the most highly touted prospects in all of baseball?

Let’s take a look at the top 20 prospects in the Rangers system.

*Note: I did not include Neftali Feliz, even though he is eligible as a rookie this season. This is his second year with the team and is still settling in. If I included him, he would rank No. 1.

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Keys for Texas Rangers in Upcoming Tampa Bay Rays Series

Coming off a tough 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox that finished up a eight-game road trip, the Texas Rangers will come home this weekend to face the best team in all of baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays.

Can the Rangers steal a series at home against the Rays and prove to the rest of the AL West that they should be taken seriously?

The Rangers are reeling just a bit in their last 10 games (3-7) mainly because of poor pitching performances from the majority of their starters. Over that 3-7 stretch, Texas starters have pitched an average of 5 2/3 innings per start and have recorded a 6.27 ERA.

The Rangers rotation was a strength of the team at the beginning of the year, but it is turning into a nightmare in recent weeks. Their poor production is really putting a serious strain on important bullpen arms like Neftali Feliz, Darren Oliver, Darren O’Day and Frank Francisco that could come back to hurt them at the end of the year.

This series will be a good test for the Rangers because they probably wont be scoring too many runs against the stout Rays rotation.

Starting pitchers CJ Wilson, Tommy Hunter and Rich Harden must step up their game in order for the Rangers to have a chance in low scoring affairs.

The Rays are obviously the best team in baseball for a reason. Their 3.17 ERA is the best in the AL and their 5.19 runs per game is the third best rate in baseball.

The Rangers must find a way to keep their offense rolling. Coming off two nine-run games in Chicago, most of the Rangers lineup is hitting their stride. Michael Young is on fire over his last 10 games and should carry it over at home where he has hit .346 this season.

Vladimir Guerrero injured himself in a freak accident in batting practice before Wednesday’s game and missed the last two games of the Chicago series. He is questionable to return for the Rays series, but it would definitely be a big boost for Texas if they can get their dominant DH back for this crucial series.

Even without Vlad, this hot Rangers lineup should be a pretty good match-up for the three Rays starting pitchers, all of which have sub 4.04 ERA’s. Will the 100 degree forecasted temperatures for this weekend’s series turn this series into a hitter’s dream?

This will definitely be an interesting series in Arlington this weekend and everyone in the MLB should take note if the Rangers happen to take two or three from the Rays.

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The 5 Texas Rangers Who Deserve All-Star Spots

The Texas Rangers led the AL West by 1.5 games going into action on Friday, May 28th. It is clear that this team has plenty of all-star caliber players, but which ones really deserve to play in the 2010 summer classic?

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