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Mitch Moreland has been a pleasant surprise in Texas

May 19, 2013, 11:00 PM EDT

Detroit Tigers v Texas Rangers Getty Images

Entering tonight’s game against the Tigers, Mitch Moreland has a .921 OPS with ten home runs and has arguably been the Rangers’ most dangerous hitter thus far in the 2013 season. Going into the season, first base was assumed to be a weak spot for the Rangers as Moreland had been more or less average offensively despite seeing right-handed pitching an overwhelming majority of the time.

As Gil Lebreton of the Star-Telegram points out, members of the media weren’t the only ones who slept on Moreland. Even the Rangers themselves were looking elsewhere for first base options, only to settle on Moreland when none of them materialized.

But the truth is that they’re probably just as taken aback as us media heathens by Moreland’s current rampage. They’ve been shopping for a “real” first baseman, truth be told, since the latter half of 2011, when Moreland hit .241 and only five home runs. In the postseason that year, Moreland had only three hits in 29 at-bats.

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Even after signing free-agent pitcher Yu Darvish from Japan, a $111-million investment, the Rangers were reported to be avid suitors of free agent Fielder. His courtship lingered into the third week of January, 2012.

Rangers fans will wince at the memory of this, but part of the hangup was Josh Hamilton, himself a future free agent.

Lebreton also warns, however, that Moreland also had good stats through May 18 in the past two seasons as well, perhaps a harbinger of things to come.

  1. insidefastball - May 19, 2013 at 11:54 PM

    I was expecting this from him a couple of years ago. I am just surprised it took him this long to start putting up solid numbers.

  2. bendover09 - May 20, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    That is pretty immature to say the Rangers themselves were looking for first base help . If that was the case they would’ve sent Mitch back to the minors or via trade. Better yet, released. The kid has been battling pressure since he came up to th bigs and never really got settled in. Fans and team saw glimpses of his talent but wverything he hit a streak he was plagued with injury . This is reason WHY the rangers never let go of Moreland.

  3. ptfu - May 20, 2013 at 12:14 AM

    Moreland’s playing for his job now. Profar is up, which creates a logjam when Kinsler is healthy again. Andrus isn’t going anywhere and Profar has nothing left to prove in the minors, or on the bench in the majors. Berkman’s hitting well so they won’t get rid of him.

    IMHO Moreland will be competing with Kinsler for the first base job, and I think Kinsler’s got the inside track based on past performance and current contract.

    • beefytrout - May 20, 2013 at 12:33 AM

      Kinsler will end up in RF before they use him at 1B. And Profar has quite a bit to prove in the majors – not sure what you think he’s “proven” on the big league level yet.

      Moreland has always been a personal favorite. Glad to see him having a great year.

      • ptfu - May 20, 2013 at 8:46 AM

        I said Profar has nothing left to prove in the MINORS. Which of course is not the same as establishing yourself as a major leaguer. But the point is, if the Rangers think Profar is ready for the Show, then he needs to play every day in the Show. This isn’t some organizational depth guy, this is the Future. Kinsler will have to move somewhere.

        That said, I didn’t consider Kinsler in the outfield. You may have a point there chief. Moreland’s hitting far better than anyone in the outfield right now so he looks a lot more secure than I thought he was.

      • beefytrout - May 20, 2013 at 9:22 AM

        Fair enough, that was a bit of reading comprehension fail on my part. But you bring up an excellent point – if Profar was ready to be a day in, day out player on the Rangers roster, he would be. I – and a lot of Rangers fans – think he needs more time at AAA, and there’s no reason not to give it to him because he’s not going to outperform Kinsler or Andrus at this point.

        Now, in 2014, that’s a different story. I’m hoping the Rangers let Cruz walk and shift Kinsler out there (or replace him with a FA). Hopefully at that point, Profar is ready to take over the 2B spot… and if he’s not, trade him for some value (preferably some middle relief).

      • coloradogolfcoupons - May 20, 2013 at 11:33 AM

        Re: BEEFYTROUT: You said “Hopefully at that point, Profar is ready to take over the 2B spot… and if he’s not, trade him for some value (preferably some middle relief).”

        You must work in the Angels front office LMAO! You want to trade the consensus #1 Prospect in ALL OF BASEBALL for MIDDLE RELIEF?????

        Thanks for starting my Monday with a long, gut-wrenching, belly-busting laugh.

      • beefytrout - May 20, 2013 at 11:46 AM

        Pretty big fail on your part, coloradogolfcoupons.

        Exactly how long is Profar supposed to ride the “#1 Prospect in all of baseball” title? I would think by 2014, the Rangers would know what they have on their hands. Either he’s ready to perform at the big league level, or he’s not. And there is still a question about whether or not he can, to the degree that would require the effort needed to get him into the lineup every day.

        And IF he’s not able to perform at that level (which is what I said originally – IF), then why would the Rangers keep him around?

        Keep on laughing though.

  4. markofapro - May 20, 2013 at 6:38 AM

    Moreland is healthy and in shape. He is a baseball player.

  5. proudlycanadian - May 20, 2013 at 6:52 AM

    I do not know how he is doing it, but I sure hope he can keep this up. He was a late afterthought on my fantasy team; however, he now has a starring role.

  6. gt929 - May 20, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    Moreland was a pitcher and outfielder in college. The Rangers taught him to play 1B. If they feel they have to move Kinsler to 1B, and they let Cruz walk, Moreland has already played plenty of RF so that’s where he’ll probably go. Myself, I think Profar will be traded.

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