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Texas Rangers

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Projected WARMarket Value

18.7 168

Lineup

10.1 91

Rotation

2.7 24

Bullpen

Projected WAR by grouping is from Fangraphs’ depth charts.
Historically each win is worth ~$9 million on the free agent market

Projected Team

Lineup
  • Delino DeShields Jr., CF
  • Shin-Soo Choo, DH
  • Nomar Mazara, RF
  • Adrian Beltre, 3B
  • Joey Gallo, 1B
  • Elvis Andrus, SS
  • Rougned Odor, 2B
  • Robinson Chirinos, C
  • Drew Robinson, LF
Rotation
  • Cole Hamels, LHP
  • Matt Moore, LHP
  • Doug Fister, RHP
  • Mike Minor, LHP
  • Martin Perez, LHP
Manager
  • Jeff Bannister

Health Check

“What do the Rangers need to have happen to contend in 2018? The projection systems and Vegas see Texas ending up in the high 70s for a win total, but there’s always a couple of teams each year who exceed expectations, and the Rangers could well be one of those clubs in 2018. They need at least a couple of the starting pitching candidates that have major question marks surrounding them — Minor, Fister, Moore, potential relief-to-starter conversion project Matt Bush, ancient non-roster-invitee Bartolo Colon — to turn the question mark into an exclamation point. They need Adrian Beltre and Cole Hamels, veterans who struggled with injuries in 2018, to stay upright. They need the bullpen, problematic the last two years, to click.

But perhaps most importantly, the Rangers need their young position players to produce. The major reason the Rangers aren’t in “burn it down” mode is that they have an impressive group of young hitters who are major leaguers, or major-league ready, and who could make an impact. Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara, Rougned Odor, Willie Calhoun, Delino DeShields, Ronald Guzman — not every one of those guys will be contributors in 2018, of course, but if a couple of those guys like Gallo, Mazara and Odor can perform like folks think they are capable of, this could be a very good young offense. Much of the Rangers success going forward — not just in 2018, but in the years beyond that — hinges on this group of young hitters.”

—Lone Star Ball

Key Player

The 2018 Texas Rangers are a weird team. They have a young collection of position players, a pitching staff full of question marks, and are not thought to have much chance of overtaking the defending World Champion Houston Astros in the American League West. And yet, whether this team is good or bad, the Rangers are worth watching, if only for Joey Gallo.

There’s no one in baseball with more power than Gallo. Statcast had to change its system this offseason because Gallo hits the ball so high, and so far, his blasts weren’t being measured properly. Gallo is a freak of nature, someone who redefines the term light tower power, and after struggling in big league opportunities in 2015 and 2016, Gallo broke out in 2017 with 41 home runs in just 532 plate appearances.

But don’t take my word for it: just ask major-league pitchers. They have learned quickly what Joey Gallo is capable of, and are frightened to throw him anything to hit. In 2017, no player in MLB saw a lower percentage of balls in the zone than Gallo, who was at 36.1 percent. Freddie Freeman was No. 2 on the list, at 39.1 percent, and that 3 percent difference between Gallo and Freeman was the same as the difference between Freeman and Hunter Pence, who was 25th. Pitchers didn’t just adjust for Joey Gallo’s power — they stopped throwing him strikes to a degree no other hitter in MLB was close to matching.

And he still hit 41 home runs.

Joey Gallo has said this spring he wants to be more rounded, do more than just hit home runs, and even home runs aside, he’s a fun guy to watch. He’s huge, but he’s also faster and more athletic than you would expect. He’s incredibly expressive — Joey Gallo Faces are already a thing among Rangers fans. He makes plays in the field and on the basepaths, and even when he swings and misses, it can take your breath away.

But when Gallo gets a hold of one, its like nothing else in baseball. Joey Gallo at bats are must-watch TV. Joey Gallo is reason enough to watch the Texas Rangers in 2018.

—Adam Morris, Lone Star Ball

Best Case

Texas is hoping the players they already have are going to be enough to fix their starting nine, and they might be right. Rougned Odor struggled, but was productive the year before that. Adrian Beltre might be 39, but he still mashed, so if he’s healthy, he can still star. Nomar Mazara and Delino DeShields are both young enough that steps forward wouldn’t be shocking. Not having Mike Napoli around in 2018 could be a real boost to the offense, too. If they also get useful campaigns from rotation adds Matt Moore and Doug Fister, there could be a wild card on the horizon.

Worst Case

All of the new rotation additions — Matt Moore, Doug Fister, and Mike Minor — fail to give Cole Hamels any of the support he needs, and it becomes even more obvious that Texas should have chased former ace Yu Darvish harder. Rougned Odor doesn’t rebound, Adrian Beltre is a 39-year-old who can still hit but can’t always be on the field, and the young players like Delino DeShields and Nomar Mazara don’t take the steps forward the offense needs them to in order to compensate for all of the above.