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Rangers report card: Who aced, who slid by, who’s on probation

The 2016 season has ended for the Texas Rangers, far sooner than they expected after piling up 95 wins.

That means final grades are due.

Forget the American League Division Series, where only a select few players carried their weight. These grades are based on the regular season, when the Rangers posted the league’s best record.

They didn’t do it with a bunch of average performances. These grades, which include plenty of high marks, reflect that. No player received an F, though Tom Wilhelmsen would have had he hung around long enough.

Maybe some of the marks are too generous. Maybe a few are too harsh.

Here are the grades on the 28 players who made the biggest impact, good or bad, and were in the organization at the end of the season. Two incomplete marks were handed out, too.  

Grade: A

Matt Bush (A+): An exemplary mark, but not because of his journey. Fresh off a jail sentence, Bush became the man in the bullpen with three power pitches. 

Adrian Beltre (A): A rebound season after dealing with injuries in 2015, Beltre further cemented is Hall of Fame case with .300-32-104 season and great defense. He’s a pretty good leader, too. 

Elvis Andrus (A-): After a difficult ending to his 2015 season, the veteran shortstop came back with his finest season, which included the first .300 average (.302) of his career.

Alex Claudio (A-): This left-handed reliever hits 88 mph if he’s really pumped up. His best pitches are slow, slower and slowest, but the different look was effective. 

Sam Dyson (A-): Saves didn’t always come easily, but they came in droves after he assumed the closer’s role in May. And he worked. A lot. 

Carlos Gomez (A-): He slumped after homering in his first at-bat in late August, but was arguably the Rangers’ best player over the final month. Huge impact. 

Grade: B

Tony Barnette (B+): The import from Japan was the Rangers’ best reliever in July and August. His transition season, his first in the majors, couldn’t have gone much smoother. 

Ian Desmond (B+): He cooled in the second half after a torrid first half in which he was the Rangers’ best player, but his addition turned into a significant upgrade in center field.

Jonathan Lucroy (B+): The Rangers can’t wait to have a full season of the All-Star catcher after he hit 11 homers in 152 at-bats and impressed with his defense. 

Yu Darvish (B): A full season of what he showed over 17 starts could make him a Cy Young front-runner. He should be sharper in his first full season after Tommy John surgery.

Cole Hamels (B): The staff ace hit 200 innings and strikeouts despite not being at his best down the stretch. Going into September, he was the Cy Young front-runner.

Rougned Odor (B): He emerged as the team leader in homers (33) despite being streaky and missing seven games after an iconic punch. His defense and patience must improve.

Jurickson Profar (B): Perhaps a bit of high mark for a player who batted .239, but he sizzled upon his May call-up, learned first base, and, most important, stayed healthy.

Ryan Rua (B): A valuable platoon piece at first base also played all three outfield spots. He has some pop and runs well. There could be a bigger role from him in 2017.

Carlos Beltran (B-): A career-worst hitting drought in August skewed his numbers after an Aug. 1 trade, but the 39-year-old was a professional hitter and a respected veteran.

Colby Lewis (B-): He was a candidate for the All-Star team in June before an oblique injury sidelined him for two months. He wasn’t the same upon his return.

Nomar Mazara (B-): A first-half rookie of the year stumbled some in the second half, but he gave a glimpse at the kind of player he could be for years to come. 

Grade: C

Martin Perez (C+): His season might be best described as a long roller-coaster ride, but he deserves more credit than that. He made every start, logged 198  1/3 innings and got home with a 4.39 ERA.

Hanser Alberto (C): His bat lags well behind his glove, but that’s fine if his future is as a utility infielder. He also gets high marks for his cheerleading.

Robinson Chirinos (C): A broken arm sacked him in early April, and Lucroy sacked him Aug. 1. Chirinos’ might be best suited as a backup.

A.J. Griffin (C): The right-hander bailed out the rotation over the first month but then was no better than a fifth starter after returning in late June from injury.

Derek Holland (C): Another year, another serious injury. His numbers were skewed by an early dud at Toronto, and he wasn’t given much chance to pitch late.

Keone Kela (C): Elbow surgery cost him half the season, but this hard-throwing righty wasn’t the pitcher he was in 2015. He got going late, though, when it mattered most.

Jake Diekman (C-): A critical bullpen piece early, the lefty lost something in the second half of the season. Maybe he was worn down by an early heavy workload, but he couldn’t be relied upon.

Delino DeShields (C-): The Opening Day center fielder was in the minor leagues by May and didn’t resurface until late in the season. But he could be back in center in 2017.  

Grade: D

Prince Fielder (D+): When Fielder was on the field, he was one of the least productive hitters in baseball. Everyone knows why now. How soon did he know?

Shawn Tolleson (D+): The incumbent closer to start the season, Tolleson lost his job in May despite having 12 saves. Things got so bad he was sent to Triple A late.

Nick Martinez/Chi Chi Gonzalez (D-): The two most advanced starting pitchers in the minors were largely ineffective in June and July with the rotation ravaged by injuries. Martinez at least provided some decent relief work.

Grade: Incomplete

Shin-Soo Choo: Four trips on the disabled list made for a disrupted season for a key cog in the lineup. When healthy, though, he was productive.

Jeremy Jeffress: His performance in the ALDS is a reflection of the kind of pitcher he can be. Unfortunately, he needed to seek treatment after a DWI arrest in late August.

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