MLB.com’s 2018 player preview is out. It lists the top 804 players, ranked in order from best to worse. It’s meant as a guide for fantasy baseball. It’s a good look at talent levels among the league.
The top Ranger comes in at number 46, Elvis Andrus. Who would have thought that Elvis would be the best player the Rangers had to offer? Not that he’s not a good player. But he’s the highest ranked Ranger. How times have changed. Andrus has improved greatly, no doubt. The team around him has gone to shambles quickly, also no doubt.
This is going to be a really long 162.
Next, at number 86 is Rougned Odor. That’s what hitting 31 home runs will get you. The worst offensive player from 2017, and the worst 30-home run season of all time, and a guy with as much business having a glove on his hand as Michael Jackson, shows that 31 good swings per year is all you need.
Adrian Beltre is 143. There is no ranking in any planet on any universe where Rougned Odor is ahead of Adrian Beltre in any way. That’s what 31 home runs will get you.
Joey Gallo is 144.
Finally, at 179, is a Rangers starter: Cole Hamels. The leader of a pitching staff that includes nobody else.
The Ranger outfield goes from 182nd best player in MLB in the form of Shin-Soo Choo, the 186th in Delino DeShiels, and the 197th in Nomar Mazara. That is an outfield that didn’t inspire much confidence from the rankers at mlb.com. How much brilliance it inspires on the field remains to be seen.
Rounding out the top 500 are Mike Minor at 264, Willie Calhoun at 277, Robinson Chrinos at 308, Alex Claudio at 309, Matt Bush at 408, Keona Kela at 418, Doug Fister at 427, and Matt Morre 464.
On the Guys That Don’t Scare Anyone list are Martin Perez at 592 (currently the number two starter), Drew Robinson at 695, Darwin Barney at 679, Barolo Colon at 705 (which, coincidentally, is his weight), Ryan Rua at 741, and Jurickson Profar at 760 (so much for the prospect tag).
Comparing the Rangers to other teams in the division:
Number of Top 100 players:
Los Angeles, 3
Number of Top 200 players:
Los Angeles, 6
That second grouping gives pause for hope. The Rangers have a pretty good number of Top 200 players. The fact that only one of them is a starter, for now, dampens that hope.
One can debate and split hairs and disagree with final rankings. One cannot disagree with the fact that plenty of good seats will be available at the Ballpark by August.