Texas Rangers' Mitch Moreland Still Having Trouble Fixing Power Outage

By Thom Tsang
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

When Mitch Moreland went on the DL with a strained hamstring in early June, he left as not only one of the hottest hitters on the Texas Rangers, but one of the best in MLB.

Since returning? Well … not so much.

It’s a story that you’ve likely heard before, but that makes it no loss frustrating for the Rangers, who are still trying to figure out how to where their first baseman went — you know, the one who posted a .300/.349/.630 triple-slash in May, the latter number boosted with no small thanks to the whopping eight homers he crushed over that 109-PA span.

That’s because the one they got back resembles nothing like that guy.

For those who are wondering just how much a couple of weeks away can really derail a hitter’s momentum, you need to look no further than than the brutal .205/268/.288 triple-slash that Moreland has put up over 82 PA in 22 games since his return to the Rangers lineup.

Even if hitting eight home runs in a month might not end up being his calling card, the one lone long ball that he has mustered (though it did come against Max Scherzer to help break his near-historic streak) is simply not good enough production for anyone in the lineup, let alone the  first baseman for a contender.

In fact, at -0.4 fWAR, Moreland has been the team’s worst player since returning, and is actually hurting the team on a daily basis.

The numbers, like a spiking 50 percent ground ball rate in the last month (43.3 percent overall), suggest that Moreland may be pressing to find better contact at the plate (73.9 percent in last month vs. 76.2 overall) after the layoff, but it’s also clear that it has all but sapped the power he demonstrated in May, when he was hitting grounders at a 37.8 percent rate.

Combined with the continued struggles of Lance Berkman prior to the veteran getting hurt (as expected), it’s little wonder why the team’s offense is hanging in the middle of the pack at 14th place in July (56 runs), just as their 6-7 record in 13 games this month also reflects the issues for the team as they break for the All-Star game.

The Rangers will have to hope that the break is enough to recharge Moreland’s batteries, because they’re unlikely going to continue being able to afford an offensive black hole at first through the rest of the season.

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