2020 MLB Preview: Texas Rangers

The Texas Rangers have two number-two starting pitchers in Mike Minor and Lance Lynn. That’s a nice problem to have, but the problem is they don’t have a number-one starter to go along with them. Minor and Lynn had 30 of the team’s 78 wins last year. The drop-off from them to the three, four, and five starters is steep.

The offense wasn’t all that great either. Hunter Pence led the team in average after revisiting the building blocks of his game: swinging like a hungry man chasing a taco and throwing like you don’t have an elbow. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6hCMKA9GBU

Pence is gone. Elvis Andrus is the offense. No knock against Andrus, but that’s a problem if he and 200 strikeouts from Joey Gallo are the way you try to score runs. Nick Solak did look good in 33 games (.293 average) while second baseman Rougned Odor increased his strikeouts, decreased his average by 50 points and is now taking three more seconds to round the bases after a home run than he did his rookie year just five years ago. I guess if you don’t make contact much, you should enjoy the time you have on the bases while you can get it. The weird thing about Odor’s .208 season was he had a career high in balls barreled-up.

Regardless, Texas was third in the American League strikeouts and ninth in walks in 2019 but most importantly, eighth in talent… maybe. Danny Santana hit .319 as a rookie six years ago, but had four disappointing partial seasons after. His career was revived last year in Texas where he hit .283 with 28 homers. Can he repeat it? 153 strikeouts say no. The Rangers are hyping him and fellow outfielder Willie Calhoun. Like Santana, Calhoun hit 16 homers in his last 60 games.

The addition of Corey Kluber to the starting lineup helps with experience but his numbers from last year wouldn’t have helped the overall 5.06 ERA of this club, they would have just contributed to it. Texas gave up the fifth-most hits, sixth-most walks and the eighth-most home runs. i don’t know if the new home ballpark will help with that last one or make it worse. All I know is the old ballpark in Arlington was beautiful and hot as hell on an 80-degree day in the sun.

They managed 78 wins a year ago. I’m not sure how, but I am sure it doesn’t hurt that they get to play Seattle a bunch every year. It also doesn’t hurt they can turn walks, errors, and bloop hits into doubles because they are good at stealing bases: 131 in 2019, best in baseball). So, steal away Rangers! With no pitching prospects in MLB’s top 100, and a bunch of questions in the batter’s box, they’ve got nothing to lose… except fewer games, maybe. They tread water: 75 wins.

Coronavirus 60-game prediction: 27-33.

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