The Top 10 Texas Rangers’ Players Heading into the 2012 Season: A Fan’s Take

The Texas Rangers look like they have their lineup and pitching rotation in place and prepare to try to make it to their third consecutive World Series. The only way to get back is for their players to play up to their talent levels and meet their heightened expectations. Here is a look at the Top 10 Rangers' players for 2012.

Ian Kinsler
Wikimedia Commons

1. Michael Young: Before the 2011 season, the Texas Rangers attempted to trade Michael Young and the long-time Rangers' star seemed ready to leave. Thankfully, they kept him and he had one of his best seasons with a .338 batting average, 106 RBIs and 88 runs scored.

2. Josh Hamilton: All the offseason was surrounded by news of Josh Hamilton relapsing on his sobriety. However, he is only one year removed from his MVP season. He struggled some in 2011, hitting .298 with 25 home runs and 94 RBIs. That is a drop-off, showing how great Hamilton can be.

3. Mike Napoli: No one was talking much about Mike Napoli when he came to Texas in 2011. However, over the second half of the season no one in the majors hit the ball as well as Napoli and he was definitely a postseason MVP, hitting .328 with three home runs, 15 RBIs and 11 runs scored in the playoffs and World Series.

4. Adrian Beltre: Everyone knew that Adrian Beltre was talented but some questioned if he would play strong even with a nice contract. The veteran responded by hitting .296 with 32 homers and 105 RBIs.

5. Nelson Cruz: Nelson Cruz could be No. 1 on this list if he would just stay healthy. He came to camp this season in better shape than ever and claims his new workout program will protect him from hamstring injuries. The Rangers have to hope he returns to his 2010 average, when he hit .318, while keeping his power up (29 home runs in 2011).

6. Derek Holland: He is not the Rangers' ace but he has all the talent in the world to claim that position. After throwing his masterful shutout in the World Series in 2011 (his fifth of the season), he finished this spring with a 2-0 record and a 5.14 ERA, most of the damage coming in his final performance of Cactus League play.

7. Ian Kinsler: Ian Kinsler seems to finally be over his injury problems and finished 2011 with his second 30-30 season, hitting 32 home runs while stealing 30 stolen bases. His average has never been great, hitting .255 in 2011, but his power and speed is awesome.

8. Alexi Ogando: Alexi Ogando is not a starter but he is the best security blanket the Rangers' have in their bullpen. If any of their starting pitchers falls into trouble early, they can call Ogando in from the bullpen to help settle things down. He finished spring with a 4.22 ERA, while starting one game in case they need him early in the season.

9. Elvis Andrus: Elvis Andrus will be the Texas Rangers' breakout player of 2012. In spring, the 23-year old shortstop hit .400 with two doubles and a triple as well as 14 runs scored. He isn't a power hitter but his speed and hitting will make him the perfect leadoff man.

10. Mike Adams: I am scared to death of Joe Nathan as the closer. However, I love his setup man, Mike Adams. In spring, Adams finished with a 3.00 ERA in six games, giving up two runs on four hits while striking out five. Adams will come in and shut down opposing hitters for Nathan to take over in the ninth.

Author Shawn S. Lealos has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma (2000) and has been a Texas Rangers fan his entire life, watching the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate play for over 30 years. While Texas has moved their Triple-A team, Shawn still remains a loyal Rangers fan and awaits the year they finally win the big one.

Source: MLB.COM

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Updated Tuesday, Apr 3, 2012