The bats should be good. In fact, they might be better this year than last season. Mainly it’s addition by subtraction. Gone are strikeout machines Carlos Gomez and Mike Napoli.
The infield is solid, almost spectacular.
Adrian Beltre turns 39 the second week in. It doesn’t matter whether he turned 29 or 19 or 99, Adrian Beltre is an elite player who is still playing at the top of his game. The guy drove in 71 runs last year in just 94 games. Injuries can slow him down. Major league pitching can’t. While nobody wants to think about it, Beltre is the ideal candidate for a July trade.
Elvis Andrus has crafted quite a turnaround story. He goes into 2018 knowing this will probably be his last as a Ranger. He can opt out after 2018. The market is fickle, though. But Scott Boras doesn’t sign with the same team. Still, he will be a Ranger for the entire season, and will be one of the top four short stops in the American League.
Rougned Odor cannot possibly have a worse 2018 than his 2017 was. What he was was the worst offensive player in the American League. But he hit 31 home runs. Which, in past years would have been impressive. But in the Year of the Home Run, that’s table stakes. Odor can do one thing well, hit home runs. He can’t hit for average. Can’t get on base. Can’t run, mainly because he can’t get on base. Can’t play defense. If the Rangers are truly to have a breakout 75-win season, Odor has to be 2016 Odor. If he’s 2017 Odor again, he should be released.
By all nerdfest calculations, Joey Gallo is in for a monster season. He is the quintessential one-way offensive hitter. All he can do is hit home runs. He’s working on going the other way, and working on being more selective. Even a minor uptick in curtaining strikeouts and in making better contact will be a major upgrade for him.
Ryan Rua will be the starting left fielder for the Texas Rangers in 2018. By the end of April, Ryan Rua will not be the starting left fielder for the Texas Rangers. That’s because he cannot hit consistently. This is his do or die year. I predict the latter.
Delino DeShields is the underappreciate spark plug. Even though he has struggled to get respect. He has speed, will score more than 100 runs, and just might get a fielder’s glove for his birthday.
Nomar Mazara is one of Big Three, along with Gallo and Odor. The Big Three are about the only success stories this front office has had in developing its own players. Mazara quietly put up a 100-RBI season. He disappears for weeks at a time. He can’t hit left-handed pitching. But he drives in runs.
When not injured, Shin-Soo Choo has been one of the more productive hitters in baseball. He will start the season as the Rangers DH, a job he has openly said he didn’t want. Choo is a head-case. This might not go well.
Robinson Chirinos seems to have been the Rangers backup catcher for twenty years. I seems like this season he finally gets the nod as “the” catcher.
The Rangers have an upper-echelon offense. And they are going to need it with the defense and starting pitcher this teams runs out onto the field every game.