ZIPs is an annual projection from Fan Graphs. It looks at a team’s moves and comments on its roster makeup.
Here’s what they said about the Rangers offense.
Batters: The Rangers undergo rebuilding with a refreshing urgency you don’t always see, though that’s hardly surprising since they’re not actually a small-market team. While their previous rebuild kinda struck out, that one, which I always refer to as the “skinny rebuild,” wasn’t quite as focused as this go-around. This time, while they’re developing their talent from within, they’re also going after top free agents, guys who are likely to still be good the next time the Rangers are a contending team, and who are of a caliber that’s hard to develop yourself. A lot of teams blunder this approach, deciding to gird their rebuilding loins with quantity rather than actual quality. That’s kind of what the Padres did in the early going, first acquiring Matt Kemp as if he were a foundational talent and then giving an absurdly large deal to the very ordinary Eric Hosmer. The Rangers haven’t made a bunch of confusingly gigantic commitments to middling players; they signed average players to fairly short, sensible deals (John Gray, Martín Pérez, Andrew Heaney) while going all-out for the players who can really make a difference (Jacob deGrom, Corey Seager, and Marcus Semien).
Now, as a contender, the Rangers are still an incomplete squad, as you can see when looking at the offensive projections. The middle infield is absolutely elite and while Nathaniel Lowe isn’t likely to hit .300 again, he’s an adequate starter who won’t reach free agency for another four years, even though it feels like he’s more of a veteran than that. Josh Jung’s cup of coffee was a bit bitter, but ZiPS believes he’s of a similar quality vintage as Lowe. Jonah Heim took a big step forward offensively and while nobody’s going to confuse him with J.T. Realmuto, his bat has improved enough to make his excellent defense matter quite a bit. Mitch Garver is a useful role player who can provide some additional pop while being able to more than fake it at catcher.
Where there’s still a problem is in the outfield. Leodys Taveras’s defense gives him a serviceable floor, but he’s still not really an offensive plus. Adolis Garcia is popular and has excellent power, but he isn’t young, his plate discipline is unimpressive, and he’s probably not as good in center field as his limited numbers in the majors suggest. However the playing time situation in left field works out, it’s likely to project at the bottom of the league. Bringing in someone like Bryan Reynolds would be very satisfying here