Quick recap in case you missed it: The Angels traded C/1B Mike Napoli and OF Juan Rivera to the Blue Jays for OF Vernon Wells on Friday, January 21st.  Four days later the Blue Jays flipped Napoli to the Rangers for RP Frank Francisco.  If you want a complete breakdown of this, read my partner’s article 

 

Also one more note before we dive into Napoli ’s numbers and what he brings to the Rangers lineup.  The word “Napoli” in Italian is translated “bad beard”…maybe Texas could have used some of that karma against the bearded Giants in the World Series.

 

Some quick Mike Napoli numbers to make you smile…

 (Batting Average / Slugging PCT. / OPS – On-base + Slugging PCT.)

 

At Rangers Ballpark:      .292 / .394 / .573

 Career vs. LHP:             .287 / .391 / .537

2010 vs. LHP:                .305 / .399 / .567

 

Certain LHPs

Cliff Lee (PHI):               .286 / .474 / .571

Dallas Braden (OAK):     .450 / .450 / .700

Brett Anderson (OAK):   .375 / .444 / .625

CC Sabathia (NYY):       .308 / .438 / .615

Jason Vargas (SEA):      .333 / .412 / .667

Andy Pettitte (FA):         .429 / .500 / 1.000

Ricky Romero (TOR):     .429 / .556 / 1.286

 

Smiling yet?...want more??

 

Opening Day Bench

2010:    Taylor Teagarden           Ryan Garko       Joaquin Arias     David Murphy

2011:    Matt Treanor                  Mike Napoli       Andres Blanco   David Murphy

 

How about that?...Really, you want more??

 

Sabermetricians have a measuring tool known as “Weighted Runs Created Plus” (wRC+), in short it values a player’s offensive productivity compared to league average, and park-adjusted.

 

Here are the rankings of MLB hitters versus LHP from 2008-2010:

Vladimir Guerrero – 90th

Michael Young – 64th

Nelson Cruz – 53rd

Ian Kinsler – 24th

Adrian Beltre – 19th

Mike Napoli – 5th

 

In fact the only four batters who have been better: Albert Pujols, David Wright, Kevin Youkilis, and Carlos Beltran.

Those four will earn between $12-18.5MM in 2011… Mike Napoli will make between $5.3-6.1MM this year.

 

The Rangers will face a ton of right-handers, but the list of lefties in the AL: Jon Lester (BOS), Jason Vargas (SEA), Brian Matusz (BAL), CC Sabathia and maybe Andy Pettitte (NYY), Ricky Romero and Brett Cecil (TOR), John Danks (CWS), and of course Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez, and Dallas Braden (OAK).

 

Don’t get me wrong on this next point, I’m a believer in Mitch Moreland, I think he has a solid career ahead of him at Texas, but unless something happens Moreland and Napoli will likely be platooning at 1B (Napoli vs. LHP, Moreland vs. RHP).  Compare their 2010 seasons vs. LHP:

Moreland:          .200 / .304 / .300

Napoli:              .305 / .399 / .567

 

OK, you happy yet?...Really more??

 

Over the past few years, since the Teixeira trade, the Rangers have gone through many options as the back-up 1B, especially trying to find a right-handed hitting 1B to back up the likes of Chris Davis and Justin Smoak, some of those names: Ryan Garko, Jorge Cantu, Joaquin Arias, Andruw Jones, Chris Shelton, and Ben Broussard…over all those names, give me Mike Napoli.

 

Final note:  Though there are still plenty of questions to be answered before Spring Training ends and Opening Day, here is my Opening Day lineup that will take the field to start 2011, to defend the AL Championship, and to face Boston left-hander Jon Lester:

 

1 – Elvis Andrus (SS)

2 – Ian Kinsler (2B)

3 – Josh Hamilton (LF)

4 – Adrian Beltre (3B)

5 – Nelson Cruz (RF)

6 – Mike Napoli (1B)

7 – Michael Young (DH)

8 – Yorvit Torrealba ( C)

9 – Julio Borbon (CF)