30 Teams in 30 Days: Texas Rangers Preview

Texas Rangers Preview!

 

The 30/30 Club

Club 4: Texas Rangers

Day four of our 30/30 Club series focuses on the other team located in the heart of Texas, the Texas Rangers.  The 2017 season was a struggle both on and off the field, as injuries forced players into the lineup who weren’t starter-worthy, and the guys who were on the field struggled to hit, finishing 13th in the AL in batting average and was 2nd worst in strikeouts.

Past reports:

BaltimoreChicago ALHoustonAtlantaChicago NLArizona
BostonClevelandLos AngelesMiamiCincinnatiColorado
New York ALDetroitOaklandNew York NLMilwaukeeLos Angeles
Tampa BayKansas CitySeattlePhiladelphiaPittsburghSan Diego
TorontoMinnesotaTexasWashingtonSt. LouisSan Francisco

 

2017 Record: 78-84, tied for third in American League West

Acquisitions: SP Doug Fister (free agent), RP/SP Mike Minor (free agent), Matt Moore (trade with SF), C Curt Casali (minors – ST invite), SP Jon Niese (minors – ST invite), SP Bartolo Colon (minors – ST invite), 2B Darwin Barney (minors – ST invite), 3B Trevor Plouffe (minors – ST invite), SP Edinson Volquez (minors – ST invite), SP Jesse Chavez (free agent)

Departures: RP Jason Grilli (free agent), SP Andrew Cashner (free agent), CF Carlos Gomez (free agent), SP Miguel Gonzalez (free agent), 1B Mike Napoli (free agent), RP Nick Martinez (free agent), SP AJ Griffin (free agent)

Projected Lineup:

SS Elvis Andrus

CF Delino Deshields Jr

RF Nomar Mazara

3B Adrian Beltre

1B Joey Gallo

LF Willie Calhoun

2B Rougned Odor

DH Shin-Soo Choo

C Robinson Chirinos

Projected Rotation:

SP Cole Hamels

SP Martin Perez

SP Doug Fister

SP Matt Moore

SP Mike Minor/SP Matt Bush

Position Battles:

Texas has a very open battle for the fifth starter spot, as they are trying to convert relievers Mike Minor and Matt Bush into starters to fill the back end of their rotation, with the loser of the battle moving to the bullpen.  Minor has starting experience with the Atlanta Braves, but hasn’t started a game since 2014 (he missed 2015 and 2016 due to Tommy John surgery and setbacks from the surgery).  Matt Bush has only made one professional start, and that was back in 2010, so the edge would have to go to Minor in this battle.

Outlook:

The Texas Rangers appear to be at the back end of a potential playoff window, and for aging veterans like Adrian Beltre, that doesn’t appear to be a good sign.  The Rangers rotation has major questions, starting with that back end of the rotation with Minor and Bush battling for that spot, but there are still questions besides the 5th spot, as Matt Moore has struggled for the past two years and Doug Fister hasn’t been all that effective since 2014 with the Nationals.  The offense has question marks as well, particularly on the right side of the infield where 1B Joey Gallo and 2B Rougned Odor both struggled to hit over the Mendoza line last year.  Odor took a huge step back from 2016, and without any improvements from him in 2017, the offense could continue to struggle.  The Rangers are expected to have top prospect LF Willie Calhoun start the year in the big leagues.  Calhoun has been on the fast track in the minors and has hit at every level since making his professional debut in 2015.  Calhoun was acquired at the trade deadline last year in the deal that sent Yu Darvish to the Dodgers.  The Rangers need a lot of things to go right if they are going to contend in 2018.

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