It appears the Rangers are going into the season with the expectations that they are going to surprise a lot of people. That they are the underdogs. The 5’4” point guard, the 7’3” jockey. The Buster Douglas.
In an article on mlb.com yesterday, T.R. Sullivan gave a peek under the tent to the front office’s thinking.
“In some ways, the Rangers could be similar to the 2004 club, which surpassed expectations with young offensive talent. They went 71-91 in 2003, traded Alex Rodriguez in the offseason and their pitching was highly suspect going into 2004.
But they surprised everybody by going 89-73 — and the main reason was their young offensive talent, including Michael Young, Mark Teixeira, Alfonso Soriano, Hank Blalock, Laynce Nix, and Kevin Mench.”
A lot is expected of the under-25 crowd that includes Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara, Rougned Odor, Delino DeShields, Willie Calhoun, and Jurickson Profar.
The Rangers have a young core of talented hitters, but the proof is going to come in just how talented they really are. Can Gallo take the same major step this season that he took last season? How good is Nomar Mazara, and how well can he build on the 100 RBI season? Which is the real Delino DeShields, because he can be a huge spark plug to this lineup? And, the most important one of all, who is real Rougned Odor? It simply cannot be the one we saw last year.
So, we go into 2018 asking this: are their any Michael Youngs, Mark Teixieras, Hank Blalocks or Alfanso Sorianos in this batch of under-25s?
The Rangers either surprise the league, or they are surprised they ever thought they could fool people into thinking they had something.
I sure hope it’s the positive surprise.