Building a good team is like putting together a good rock band. You usually have one person fronting the band (like Bon Jovi), one or two others everyone knows and who occasionally get their own songs to sing (like George Harrison and Ringo Starr) and then the ones you whose names you seldom remember (or even know) but play an integral part in the band’s success (like the horn section of Chicago).
The Rangers offensive line-up is a good example of the rock band approach. Josh Hamilton’s your lead singer. Other members of the band who get their times to shine on guitars and vocals are Michael Young, Nelson Cruz, Ian Kinsler and Adrian Beltre.
Then there’s the horn section. A group like Chicago wouldn’t be Chicago without the horn section, yet they are as anonymous as anyone. For the Rangers, Mitch Moreland is in the horn section (along with David Murphy).
Moreland, like Ian Kinsler, was a lowly 17th round draft pick for the Rangers. If things had gone the way they’d planned all along, Moreland wouldn’t even be wearing a Texas uniform in 2011. He might not even be in the organization at all. Instead, Chris Davis was supposed to be manning first base for the next ten years in Arlington.
Davis, however, failed to take advantage of his many opportunities. His high strikeout rate and low average led to a demotion midway through the 2009 campaign. When he got off to an equally slow start in 2010, he was jettisoned to AAA early in favor of Justin Smoak. When Smoak went to Seattle in the Cliff Lee deal, Davis had yet another shot and couldn’t convert it, so the Rangers brought up Mitch Moreland for a shot. Moreland hasn’t relinquished his position since.
At the end of the season, when everyone talks about how the best players in the Rangers rock band performed, it will be easy to forget the horn section. The odds are, however, that Mitch Moreland will have a higher batting average than some of them, he’ll have more home runs than some of them, he may even wind up with more RBI’s than some of them.
Currently, Moreland is third on the team in batting average, fourth in home runs, fourth in runs scored, fourth in doubles and third in walks. Not bad for the anonymous horn section.