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FanGraphs Gives Nelson Cruz Love

Matt Klaassen, one of the best authors at FanGraphs, speaks up about the underratedness of Nelson Cruz. And he has a theory for why he's so underrated: the Rangers are boring.

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If you like good pitching (Lewis and Wilson, in that order), good defense (Elvis Andrus, Julio Borbon, Cruz, Hamilton, and now Adrian Beltre), and good hitting (Hamilton, Cruz), the athletic and well-balanced Rangers are a fun team to watch. They are the clear favorites to win their division again this season, and they really have only just started to tap the talent in their excellent minor league system. And, of course, there are various storylines around the team that make it "interesting" to read about.

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They are boring because the front office is smart. Perhaps they could have handled the leaking of Michael Young news more deftly, but for those of us trying to see the situation from a baseball standpoint, it’s just a team who recognizes a player overpaid for his talents who is taking up roster and payroll space better used elsewhere. They understand the importance of both depth and upside in the farm system. They obtain undervalued guys in trades who turn into major contributers (like Cruz). They understand the importance of evaluating and valuing fielding properly. They aren’t letting up after winning the division title. In other words, while there is plenty to talk about "outside" of baseball stuff, inside the baseball stuff they tend to do things right, which makes for little to complain about, but also means that some of the good things go unnoticed — like Nelson Cruz. It’s just another smart thing the Rangers did.

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More in there, like about how on a rate basis, Nellie might just be better than the defending American League MVP. You should read everything Klaassen writes, so read the whole thing.

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Interesting theory, which might also apply to Ian Kinsler. Many of us watch the Rangers every day and realize how exciting to watch, but I guess if a smart front office is boring, I'll take everyone else getting bored.

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I'm guessing this is a sign the Rangers will rank pretty well in their organizational rankings.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.