Texas Red Bulls: Sinking Like a Stone

In the hours after the last update, the team started to turn things around. There was a 10-2 run over a 12-game stretch, but the surge was short lived. We finished 74-88, 5th in the division and actually got demoted back to Stone Level. We had a positive run differential in that update when we were 43-53, but it evaporated as we scored 749 and allowed 780.

2026 REVIEW

The offense wasn’t too bad with the bulk of the lineup toting a wRC+ north of 100, with Joe Sewell (126) leading the club in a part-time role (352 PA). Three of the four players who logged at least 600 PA were above average: Jackie Jensen (110 in 622 PA), Jerry Mumphrey (106 in 616) and Ray Durham (109 in 611). Derrek Lee just missed with a 93 wRC+, but he led the team with 686 PA.

There were four offensive players north of 3.0 WAR: Mumphrey (4.2), Sewell (3.6), Jensen (3.4), and Durham (3.2). Nobody else topped 1.6, though. Melvin Mora and Hubie Brooks were held back by not playing or awful defense. Mora posted a 117 wRC+, but just a 1.6 WAR as the primary DH. Brooks was at 115 and 1.2 with terrible work at both 3B and SS. I think Brooks is going to lose time to both Chone Figgins and Nick Madrigal going forward.

Madrigal came up for a little cup of coffee at the end of ’26 and hit .296/.375/.519 in 33 PA. The high contact/low strikeout profile plays well, and I see him becoming a bigger part of the team in 2027 as a super utility with both infield and outfield eligibility.

There won’t be any acquisitions for the offense right now. Subs like Brooks, Madrigal, and Carlos Correa might find their way into the lineup more often if the starter ahead of them struggles through the first two months or so, but for now I’m holding off on getting anyone else.

On the mound, Noah Syndergaard (3.99 ERA, 1.26 WHIP in 214.3 IP) and Adam Wainwright (3.61, 1.26 in 107 IP as in-season acquisition) were solid, but the other starters had ERAs ranging from 4.43 to 5.47 and WHIPs north of 1.45. Only two relievers had sub-4.00 ERAs and Satchel Paige barely hit the mark at 3.97 while the leading reliever ERA of 3.31 came from lefty specialist Mike Stanton, so it was only 32.7 IP.

The pitching just wasn’t good enough and definitely held us back more than the hitting. I could be making some moves on the rotation as Jack Flaherty and Emil Yde may have overstayed their welcome. Flaherty is reliant on HR variance to perform well as his best season came when he had a 0.9 HR9, compared to 1.1, 1.2, and 1.4 in his other three seasons. I might consider him for the bullpen as his Stuff rating jumps from 87 to 98, but I might just put him back on the market.

Yde is a day 1 Red Bull and while he opened with a big season (3.42 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 117 ERA+ in 231.7 IP), he’s really been more of an innings eater since then save another spike season in 2025: 85 ERA+ in 2023, 99 in 2024, 116 in 2025, and 90 in 2026 while averaging 210 IP/season.

I’m inclined to trust the bullpen as-is and leave that group for now. I’m hoping the two gold cards in the pen can show out. Willie Hernandez wasn’t great in his debut season (4.43 ERA, 1.49 WHIP in 83.3 IP), but I still think that card can do a lot better. Mike Maddux (1992 iteration) was acquired late in the season (26.3 IP) so I haven’t really been able to see what he can do yet.

2027 SO FAR

We’re 4-10 so far, but on a 2-game winning streak.

Let’s burn it to the ground!!!

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Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

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mrhappy

Wow, why would anyone not want to support fangraphs with stuff like this on the site?!