The 2018 Texas Rangers didn’t really have a great season. They finished 5th in the AL West with a record of 67-95. Two consecutive losing seasons for the Rangers and they go back into a small rebuild phase. The team has a core of position players that they hope to keep in the future. What the teams needs to improve upon is pitching. They finished last season 3rd worst in the league with a 4.93 ERA among all teams pitching staffs.
The Rangers were not very active in the offseason. They did make one move to try and address the need for pitching. The Rangers signed pitcher Lance Lynn to a three-year, $30 million deal. Lynn’s numbers last year were not the greatest, with a 4.77 ERA with the Minnesota Twins and the New York Yankees. Lynn did post a career 3.38 ERA in his 6 years with the St. Louis Cardinals. The Rangers are hoping that is the Lance Lynn they will receive. Lynn does have a high walk rate at 3.5 BB/9 in his career, so don’t expect him to pitch far into games often. But at the end of the day, Lynn helps fill the rotation and is a proven pitcher in the MLB.
Lance Lynn getting his throwing done in the bullpen pic.twitter.com/tNLoOIfcUH
— TR Sullivan (@Sullivan_Ranger) February 17, 2019
Other than Lynn the Rangers have made some small additions to the team. Signing Jesse Chavez to a two-year deal helps the Rangers bullpen. Chavez started last season with the Rangers and in his time with them posted a 3.51 ERA in 30 appearances. He was traded to the Cubs midseason and posted a 1.15 ERA in 32 appearances. If Chavez continues to pitch like he did when he was on the north side, then the Rangers have a reliable arm most nights coming out of the pen.
Shelby Miller and Jeanmar Gomez are two other arms the Rangers signed hoping to help the pitching. Miller will most likely be a part of the starting rotation while Gomez will fight for a spot in the bullpen. They got Asdrubal Cabrera on a one-year deal to help fill a void at third base after Adrian Beltre announced his retirement.
When looking at the Rangers depth chart, there are 5 players who have been with the team for a few years and who you expect to be with the team for the foreseeable future.
The first that comes to mind is the veteran shortstop Elvis Andrus. While Andrus’ numbers dip and spike from year to year, he is normally good at being in the lineup. With the exception of last season, Andrus has appeared in at least 145 games in every season in his career. He is undoubtedly one of the teams best leaders now especially since Beltre is gone.
Elvis Andrus doing his best Jeter impression 😳🔥
— Ballplayer™ (@BaIIplayer) April 24, 2017
Rougned Odor is only 25-years of age and will enter his 6th MLB season. Odor doesn’t really have a specialty in terms of traits. His approach is not good. He strikes out almost 3-times the amount he walks. He can hit for power which he has shown in 2016 and 2017 when he hit at least 30 home runs both seasons. One things that we all love about Odor is that he gave us this beautiful memory.
Nomar Mazara will enter his 4th season with the Rangers and he remains the team’s right fielder. I think it’s safe to pencil in 20 home runs for Mazara, since he has hit 20 home runs exactly in all three seasons thus far in his career. The same thing goes for Mazara as it does for Odor. He strikes out way more than he walks, which is hopefully something the Rangers can fix over time.
Joey Gallo will enter his 3rd full season with the Rangers and he continues to do exactly what the team thought he would; hit 40 plus home runs but also strike out almost 200 times a season. His career batting average is just above the Mendoza line, but when you can pencil in 40 home runs, it’s kind of hard to argue with that.
Shin-Soo Choo has played 14 years in the majors and the past 5 with the Rangers. What’s really good about Choo is that he knows how to take his walks and he knows how to get on base. Choo has been one of the top 3 players on the Rangers in OBP in all 5 seasons with the club. While he will primarily DH, he adds a veteran presence to the team and can maybe teach some of the younger guys how to take walks.
— Joe Trahan (@JoeTrahan) May 27, 2017
The guy who will be the other top pitcher next to Lynn is Mike Minor. In his first season with Texas, he posted a 4.18 ERA in 28 starts. He was also the team leader in wins with 12. (Even though wins are not a good stat to evaluate pitchers), he accounted for almost 1/5th of the teams win count. In his 2nd season with the Rangers, he will hope to improve upon his first and try to help the team win as much as they can
The Texas Rangers have a lot of work to do as a team before they can find themselves back in the playoff race. There are two things in particular.
First of all the offense is going to need to strike out less and get on base more. The team finished with the 4th most strikeouts as a team. The team ranked 15th overall in on-base percentage but was bottom 10 in batting average.
The team has a nice core of players who could become pretty darn good players if they can cut back on the strikeouts. They have 6 guys on the current roster who are age 25 or younger. Which gives this team a decent window of competition. There are a few prospects who could be included in those 6 but are not because they have yet to play a full season with the team.
The majesty of Joey Gallo swings pic.twitter.com/8Mx4mokKRP
— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) February 13, 2019
Pitching is the other main piece that needs to be addressed for the team. As previously stated, the Rangers were 3rd worst this season in team ERA. They were 3rd worst in team allowed batting average and were last in the league in strikeouts. The team doesn’t have any good arms ready to be called up just yet so free agency or trade are the best options for the next few seasons.
The Texas Rangers team MVP will be Nomar Mazara because I see him as the most likely candidate to reduce his strikeout numbers. The team’s Rookie of the Year will be Willie Calhoun, mainly due to the fact he is their only rookie of importance. Lastly, the team’s Cy Young will be the newcomer Lance Lynn who will want to prove his worth to his new team.
The Rangers are in for a long year. They will finish 5th in the AL West. They won’t be as bad as teams like Balti-snore (Baltimore) and Sigh-ami (Miami), but they won’t be a very exciting team to watch. Looking on the bright side, at the end of the season, we will have highlights of Joey Gallo tearing the covers off baseballs.
Final Record Prediction: 64-98
Team MVP: Nomar Mazara