By Jared Sandler | @sandlerJ
105.3 THE FAN — MLB.com created a cool “Mt. Rushmore” campaign that asks fans to identify the people who’d make up their favorite team’s Mt. Rushmore. The results will be unveiled as part of the All-Star festivities in Cincinnati.
Going along with the theme, each week I’ll introduce a new Rangers themed Mt. Rushmore prompt and unveil the four faces who best demonstrate that prompt. Feel free to play along yourself.
Week 1 — Texas-Born Players
Week 2 — Best First-Round Picks
This week — Best Rookie Years*
* After spending hours and hours and hours deliberating Yu Darvish’s eligibility for the list, I determined that he would not be eligible just to make it a little more fun.
Pete Incaviglia (1986): He still holds the franchise’s record for most home runs (30) and RBI (88) for a rookie, while also leading the league in strikeouts (185), so “Go big or go home!” I guess. The Oklahoma State Cowboy holds the distinction as the 15th player in MLB history to debut in the majors without ever playing minor league baseball.
Elvis Andrus (2009): Yes, I’ve been very critical of Andrus, disappointed by his lack of development, but it’s because of the hype and his debut season. Not only did he tie Cecil Espy for the franchise’s stolen base record for a rookie with 33, but he was caught just 6 times. His success rate, 84.6%, was the third best in baseball that year for those with at least 30 steals. Andrus also hit .267 with six home runs.
But, this is only half of why he got on this list. The other part? His defense. Since 2011, Andrus has gone slowly downhill defensively. His first three years were his best and he came on strong in his rookie season. He gets some credit for commanding such a demanding and important position.
Mike Hargrove (1974): The organization’s first ever AL Rookie of the Year award winner, Hargrove hit an impressive .323 in his debut season. Not a power guy, Hargrove hit just four home runs as a part of just 28 extra-base hits and he didn’t steal any bases, but it is tough to not include a guy with hardware. And to further put his season in perspective, Hargrove’s average was almost 80 points better than the league mean that year.
Neftali Feliz (2010): Another product of the Mark Teixeira trade, Feliz announced his presence with a bang. He actually debuted the prior season, but had rookie eligibility in 2010, a year in which he won the AL Rookie of the Year.
Feliz set a franchise record with 40 saves as a rookie, holding opposing hitters to a .176 average. He struck out 71 in 69.1 innings, pitching in 70 games. Plus, he allowed just one run in 7.1 postseason innings, converting all four of his save chances.
(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)