Before every series I will post these charts to help you get ready for the games, The methodology is described below.
Next up for the Astros is a team that most Astros fans THINK they know well. I would say these are not the Rangers you think you know. Let's dig into the details and you will know what I mean.
Overall Preseason WAR Comparisons
You can see the projected WAR comparison position by position. Overall, this would say the Astros have a talent advantage vs. the Rangers but it is all in the bats and the bullpen. The Rangers projected to have the superior SP. The Rangers have invested a ton of free agent money in their middle infield and starting pitching and the projected WAR reflects that. By the WAR method the Rangers would be predicted to win 84 games in 2023.
Chart 1- Position Player Roster
Defensive Positions and rosters with bench and key minor league players. Who is injured? Then, the relative scores to arrive at who is better.
By this comparison the Astros are projected to be significantly better than the Rangers batting. The Rangers have Seager out with a hamstring injury.
Chart 2- The Projected Batting Orders
In this section I predict the general batting order I expect both teams to use this series. I MIGHT update this as the series progresses. You also see how the batting lineup compares with the 2023 projected grades.
Chart 3- Pitching Rosters
Starters and Relief pitcher rosters with key minor league players. Who is injured? Then, the relative scores to arrive at who is better.
The result here will SHOCK and possibly anger Astros fans. As shown in the WAR table the Rangers grade out to have the advantage in starting pitching. The Astros have an advantage in the bullpen. Overall, this analysis gives the Rangers a SLIGHT advantage in pitching.
The Rangers are currently THIRD in the league in FIP. This analysis is not as ridiculous as I suspect most will believe.
The Rangers optioned Taylor Hearn to AAA yesterday. IF Sborz is ready (he has pitched to rehab appearances, I think they will be calling him up for this series.
Chart 4- Starting Pitching Matchups
In this section we look at the SP matchups by game.
For everything I said about the Rangers having the SP advantage, the Astros are missing likely their two top SP in the rotation; and I would give the ASTROS the SP advantage in THIS series.
Seeing the Rangers staff, you can see why they choose to send their 6th LHP down. Can the righty bats (Bregman, McCormick, etc.) take advantage of the two LHSP the Astros will face? I say YES.
Series Prediction- I believe the Astros will win at least two of three in this series. Because they are face the two LHSPs, I will even say a sweep is possible.
As we have discussed in the previous Astros Report Card Articles here is the grading scale for the position players.
To account for the value of defense a player can get a letter grade bump up or down based on their projected defensive WAR (or actual defensive WAR for 2022) for their primary defensive position.
For the pitchers we will use these two scales- one for 2023 based on projected FIP and the other for the 2022 actual FIP- data.
The overall score will be based on the point values to the right. The differences are tallied in the columns to the right.
Overall Score = Starter Differences + Bench Differences / 2 + MiLB Players Differences /4