Texas (78-84) finished in 3rd place in the AL West 29 games back of 1st place Houston last season. They were 19 games behind 2nd place Oakland and 6 games ahead of 4th place Los Angeles. The Rangers were 10 games ahead of last-place Seattle. Texas was still way too far out of reach for a wildcard as well trailing by 18 games for that final wildcard spot.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
DH Shin-Soo Choo (For a guy who is starting to creep up there is age, he is holding his own. Outside of 2016 he has been healthy and played the bulk of most seasons and his numbers have remained consistent with no real drop-offs despite his age of 37 years. He actually hit a career-high 24 home runs last season and stole 15 bases, his most since 2013. His .265 batting average has increased in each of the past 4 seasons as well. He still scored near 100 runs at 93 and knocked in 61 runs from the leadoff spot. He is still a good all-around guy to have on your team. I have no doubt he keeps in going again in 2020)
SS Elvis Andrus (Another veteran at the top of the Texas lineup that still has something to give. Elvis’ main offering is his speed. 2018 was his worst season with only 5 stolen bases but that was due to injury. He bounced back last season in a big way with 31 steals, his most since 2013 to make up for 2018. He still hit .275 in 600 at-bats and knocked in 72 runs while scoring 81 runs. If he could only improve on his 34 walks form last season he could score more runs and steal even more bases. All told the two old guys at the top of the lineup are still doing a great job for the Rangers)
OF Joey Gallo (Joey was having a heck of a season while he was on the field last year. He was batting .253 with 22 home runs, 49 rbi’s, 54 runs scored, he had 61 hits, 15 doubles, 1 triple and stole 4 bases. Here is the impressive part, he did it in 70 games. I will let you do the math if he was healthy and played a full season. He was even hitting left-handed pitching extremely well. They say he is 100% healthy heading into 2020 and if nothing else he should be full of confidence coming into this season)
OF Danny Santana (Danny was one of the few 20/20 guys of the 2019 season belting 28 home runs and swiping 21 bases. Both came out of nowhere last season. He had 17 homers in his 7-year career leading up to 2019 and he had only stolen 15 bases in the past 4 seasons. So everybody was pleasantly surprised and now they are expecting him to keep it up and that might be the hard part. It could be that he finally got nearly a full season of playing time in too. He hit .283 and drove in 81 runs and scored 81 runs with 23 doubles and legged out 6 triples as well. I will be interesting to see if keeps it up this season)
3B Todd Frazier (Todd is escaping the bright lights on New York and bringing his talents to Texas this season. Todd hit .251 his highest average since 2015 last year and his numbers have remained fairly steady since 2017. The days of 2016 and before are long gone though. The best I think you are going to see from Todd is 20-23 home runs, 70 rbi’s, 70 runs scored and a .240/.250 batting average. He is moving to a betters hitters park, so maybe that will help him some)
2B Rougned Odor (Rougned is a tough guy to figure. Two of the past three seasons he hit just .205 or less. Three of the past four seasons he drilled at least 30 home runs. Two of the seasons where he hit .205 is when he hit the 30+ homers. What they want to see is a season like in 2016 when hit 33 home runs and batted .271. For those frustrated Texas fans, he has not yet had back to back seasons with that horrible batting average and last year was .205, so hopefully, that means good things are ahead in 2020. Last season despite the poor average, did hit those 30 homers and knock in 93 runs while scoring 77 runs and even stole 11 bases)
OF Willie Calhoun (Texas has been excited about Willie for a couple of seasons and he finally got some playing due to injuries last season and he played 83 games and had some decent numbers. He hit .269 with 21 home runs with 48 rbi’s, scoring 51 runs scored, he had 83 hits (14 doubles/1 triple) and walked 23 times. Even though that might be considered a breakout season by many, I don’t because it was his first real chance of serious playing time. I look for even better things to come from Willie)
C Robinson Chirinos (After spending 2013 through 2018 in Texas, he tried Houston last season and I guess he preferred Texas better and signed again with the Rangers for the 2020 season. Last season in Houston he hit .238 with 17 home runs, 58 rbi’s and 57 runs scored. He caught 114 games. He has been fairly consistent the past three seasons. He is one of those guys where what you see is what you are going to get. Don’t expect more, don’t expect less)
1B Ronald Guzman (Ronald entered the 2018 season as a rookie and as the starting 1B for Texas and put up decent numbers that satisfied the team at least enough to start him again in 2019. Last season Ronald got worse. His average went from .235 to .219, Home runs from 16 to 10, rbi’s from 58 to 36, runs scored from 46 to 34, hits from 91 to 56. Now granted he did play in fewer games (123 to 87) but you get my point. I am assuming they have no one better in the system. I would have a very short leash on this guy once the season does finally get underway on this guy)
RHP Corey Kluber (How strange is it going to be to not see Corey in a Cleveland uniform? Mainly due to injuries, Corey had a season he would rather forget about. He made just 7 starts going 2-3 with a 5.80 era pitching only 35.2 innings. Corey has looked good this spring before the work stoppage and should be back to his dominating self as the ace of the Texas staff in 2020)
LHP Mike Minor (Mike is entering his 3rd season with the Rangers and has done nothing but win for them so far. Last season he was 14-10 with a 3.59 era in 32 starts and ate up 208.1 innings, the exact same as Lance Lynn, how weird is that? He gave up just 190 hits and struck out 200 batters in those innings pitched. He and Lynn could be twins with stats so similar. I get the feeling Mike is a little under-rated and does not get the respect he deserves)
RHP Lance Lynn (Lance in his first season with the Rangers last season did a nice job going 16-11 with a 3.67 era in 33 starts giving the team 208.1 innings of work. He allowed just 195 hits in those innings and struck out 246 batters, some impressive numbers. His fastball has increased for the third straight season and has done a great job keeping the ball in the park. Lance has just been one of those reliable guys you can count on no matter what team he has pitched for over the years. Nothing spectacular, but he gets the job done)
RHP Kyle Gibson (Kyle comes over from the Twins and joins the Rangers staff in 2020. With him, he brings from last seasons 13-7 record with a 4.84 record. He is not as dominant as the first three pitchers on the Texas staff. He did strike out one man per inning pitched but allowed 175 hits in 160 innings pitched. 2018 was probably a better season for him despite having a 10-13 record. Gibson struggled in the 2nd half last year and ended up in the bullpen. He was dealing with some health issues and his stamina came into play. He found ways to win games last year in spite of everything, so there is no reason to think he cannot do it again)
RHP Jordan Lyles (Jordan signed a two-year deal with Texas after playing for Milwaukee & Pittsburgh last season. He made 17 starts with Pittsburgh going 5-7 with a 5.36 era. Once acquired by Milwaukee it gave him a new life. In 11 starts he was 7-1 with a 2.45 era. He knows how to miss bats. Even in Pittsburgh, he was striking out more than one man per inning, while his hits allowed per inning improved greatly once he moved to Milwaukee. I sort of getting the feeling coming over to Texas is going to do wonder for his career. He has always been a 4th or 5th starter and/or bullpen pitcher, but he is still just 29 years old and has 9 years of experience already. He still has more to offer)
CLOSER – RHP Jose Leclerc (Jose was 2-4 with 14 saves and 4 blown saves and 7 holds last year. His era was 4.33 and he appeared in 70 games. He had a rough season and was demoted from his closing duties for a short while. I think it was just to give him a break mentally to get his head on straight. Leclerc has been given the job to start the season, but he is going to have to prove he is worthy of it.
I have a good feeling about this team. First of all, they are opening a brand new stadium. That alone gets the blood going, gets the fans there, gets the excitement going. If the team can get off to a good start and they get some momentum going, who knows.
No, they are not going to win the division with the cheating Astros in it, but they might be able to contend for a wildcard if everything falls into place. They have put together a pretty solid pitching staff if you have not noticed. I really like it a lot and they have some guys who can pound the ball.
I love to root for the underdog and this season that would be any team that is in the same division as the Astros. Maybe I am pushing my luck saying this team has a shot at the playoffs, but I do see them playing at least 500 ball this season and that would push them OVER the total.