It’s time for the annual RR3 predictions. So far, after six years of prognosticating, this site has been one-hundred percent right in predicting no World Series championships for the Texas Rangers.
Could this be the seventh year in a row?
It will be an interesting season to say the least. Sixty games. That means, if a team gets off to a bad start it will be so much harder to dig out of it. Going 5-10 will bury a team.
Every game matters so much. And that usually means starting pitching is even more important. That bodes well for the Rangers.
The Rangers have a two-time Cy Young Award winner and two pitchers who finished in the top ten in Cy Young honors last season in their rotation. Even their four and five guys are better than the ragged top-of-the-rotation imposters they’ve run out recently.
As the franchise’s golden years get further and further away in the rearview mirror, the Rangers organization needs to find the road back to respectability.
Maybe this rotation is the best chance they have. But they are not alone with great pitching. Houston sees them, and raises, with Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke. Oakland has a strong, if a bit under the radar, rotation as well. Chris Bassitt, Sean Manaea, Jesus Luzardo, and Mike Fiers, as well as the highly anticipated A.J. Puk, if he ever stops being injured. The Los Angels Angels are relying way too heavily on Shohei Ohtani coming back from Tommy John. Plus, they have announced he will pitch Sundays only. So, they have a lot of starts to expect from a Rangers-esque patchwork of retreads. Seattle is Seattle.
Rotation-wise, the teams rank like this: Houston, Texas, Oakland, Los Angeles, Seattle.
But the biggest question mark for the Rangers is their offense. The next generation of Mazara, Guzman, Odor, and Gallo that was supposed to be the future for the Rangers turned out to be mostly a ripple instead of a wave. Mazara is gone. Guzman may soon follow. Odor has mostly been lost. That leaves Gallo.
This team goes only as far as Joey Gallo can carry them.
Make no mistake, he is the engine. But, like with last year, it takes more than one hot bat to carry a team. Who is this year’s Hunter Pence? Maybe it’s Odor. Maybe he finally figures things out. Who is this year’s Danny Santana? Maybe it’s Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Or maybe it’s Danny Santana. Does Elvis have anything left in the tanks? Same question for Todd Frazier.
A lot has to go right for the Rangers offense to even come close to comparing to what the Astros run out on a daily basis. Altuve, Springer, Bregman, Guriel, Brantley, Correa. These are elite hitters. Oakland has a few of those as well in Matt Olson and Matt Chapman, in Marcus Semien and Ramon Lauerano.
The Angels have Mike Trout. That’s like saying a museum has a Picasso. It doesn’t matter that the rest of what’s hanging there is refrigerator magnet artwork. They have a Picasso. They also picked up Anthony Rendon, who might start the season in the IL with back issues.
Offense-wise, the teams are ranked like this: Houston, Oakland, Los Angeles and Texas. Seattle is Seattle.
The official Rangers Rounding 3rd predictions are:
A.L. West: Houston, Oakland, Texas, then Los Angeles. Seattle is Seattle.
A.L. Central: Minnesota, Chicago, Cleveland, Kansas City, Detroit.
A.L. East: New York, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Boston, Baltimore.
N.L. West: Los Angeles, Arizona, San Diego, Colorado, San Francisco.
N.L. Central: Cincinnati, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Chicago, Pittsburgh.
N.L. East: Atlanta, New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Miami.
Ashton Goudeau vs. Kyle Gibson
Game time: 7:05 on FSSW, KRLD 1080 AM