Texas Rangers

Rangers hand out 2018 awards. Who won what in the first year of their rebuilding plan?

Texas Rangers right fielder Shin-Soo Choo (17) lines out to San Diego Padres starting pitcher Tyson Ross (38) in the fifth inning as the Rangers play the Padres at Globe Life Park in Arlington, TX, Tuesday, June 26, 2018.
Texas Rangers right fielder Shin-Soo Choo (17) lines out to San Diego Padres starting pitcher Tyson Ross (38) in the fifth inning as the Rangers play the Padres at Globe Life Park in Arlington, TX, Tuesday, June 26, 2018. mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

Shin-Soo Choo was the Texas Rangers’ lone All-Star in 2018, when he set a single-season club record for consecutive games reaching base, and on Friday he was selected as the Rangers Player of the Year by media who covers the team.

Reliever Jose Leclerc, who finished the season as the closer, was voted as the Pitcher of the Year; infielder/catcher Isiah Kiner-Falefa was picked as the Rookie of the Year; and center fielder Delino DeShields was picked as the winner of the Harold McKinney Good Guy Award.

A tough second half tarnished Choo’s numbers as he finished a .264 batting average after batting .293 in the first half. But his .810 OPS was tied with Joey Gallo for the best on the team and his .377 on-base percentage led the club.

Choo finished a distant second to Gallo in home runs, 40-21, but Gallo was a distant second to Choo in walks, 92-74.

Leclerc’s season rated as one of the best in franchise history for a reliever.

He finished with a 1.56 ERA, finished the season with a 21-inning scoreless streak, and posted the lowest opponent batting average (.126) by a reliever in the majors.

The .1257 mark was the fourth lowest by a reliever in MLB history.

Kiner-Falefa wasn’t expected to be in the majors until later in the season, but he was summoned from Triple A after Rougned Odor strained his left hamstring April 9 and never went back to the minors.

Kiner-Falefa finished the season as the backup catcher, a position he had played relatively sparingly in the minors, and posted a .261 batting average and 24 extra-base hits in 356 at-bats.

The McKinney Award goes to the player who is most media-friendly, and DeShields didn’t shy away from talks about his injuries and his struggles during the season. He also spoke knowledgeably about multiple topics and was often at his locker to face questions when others on the team were not in the clubhouse.

The players will be honored Jan. 25 during the Dr Pepper Texas Rangers Winter Warmup at Texas Live! The event, which includes a concert by Sam Riggs, will be from 6-9 p.m., and tickets are available at texasrangers.com/winterwarmup.

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After 11 seasons covering the Rangers for the Star-Telegram, Jeff Wilson knows that baseball is a 24/7/365 business and there is far more to baseball than just the 162 games each season. There’s also more to Jeff -- like a family and impressive arsenals of Titleist hats and adidas shoes -- but sometimes it’s hard to tell.
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