Welcome to the final DAYS before opening day! I hope you have enjoyed spring training as much as I have. I am overjoyed! March began the official Ball Boy Blog previews of all 30 teams. The previews feature all the Free Agent signings, trades, NRI, bold predictions, and some cool fun facts at the end! We are starting at the top of the 2020 ranks and working our way down from best to worst! Enjoy!
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AL Team: Texas Rangers
Last Year Record: 22-38 and finished 5th in the AL West
Record x2.7: 59.4-102.6
Vegas Projected: Vegas has the Rangers winning 66.5 games in 2021. I have them winning a few more games and winning 70 with another last-place finish in the AL West.
1B Danny Santana(FA), OF Shin-Soo Choo(FA), RHP Edinson Volquez(FA), RHP Jesse Chavez(FA), C Jeff Mathis(FA), RHP Juan Nicasio(FA), SS Andrew Romine(FA), 2B Derek Dietrich(FA), RHP Corey Kluber(FA
OF Scott Heineman(non-tendered)
RHP Rafael Montero, RHP Lance Lynn, C Heriberto Hernandez, INF Osleivis Basabe, OF Alexnder Ovalles, SS Elvis Andrus, C Aramis Garcia
Free Agent Signings:
RHP Kohei Arihara- He is coming to the MLB with a low 90's fastball with a +changeup and slider and FOUR other pitchers in his arsenal. He brings with him 836IP with a 3.74ERA, 6.7K/9, 2.1BB/9 in his career.
LHP Hyeon-Jong Yang. The deal is assumed to be a minor league deal worth $1.3 deal with an invite to camp. The 32yo was posted seven seasons ago, and the Rangers were the top bid then. In 2020 Yang posted a 4.70ERA over 172.1IP. Yang is a former KBO MVP; from 2013-19 posted a 3.35ERA over 1200IP.
RHP Jimmy Herget- was resigned to an MLB deal for the 2021 season. During the 2020 season, he pitched to a 3.20ERA/5.23FIP over 19.2IP. Scott Heineman was re-signed to an MLB deal after being non-tendered and then was DFA with this signing, and I would assume he will be brought back on a MiLB deal(as of 12/11)
OF David Dahl- The 26yo OF is an absolute steal for the Rangers on a $3mil 1yr deal that should end in trade. It was just back in 2019 when Dahl was an All-Star and slashed .302/.353/.524 with 15HR over 413PA. Dahl can also pay each OF position very well as he owns a .985FLD% or better at each position and has only committed five errors in the OF over his four seasons. Chris Young made a tremendous first significant signing in Dahl.
RHP Mike Foltynewicz- Folty could only manage 3.1IP with 6ER, 4H, 4BB before being removed from the 40man roster and spending the rest of the season at the alternate site.
RHP Joe Gatto- Gatto has never pitched above AA.
RHP Josh Sborz- The 27yo Sborz lost his roster spot to Trevor Bauer. He saw action in 2019-20 in 13.1IP pitching to a 6.08ERA/5.14SIERA.
DH/OF Khris Davis-The Rangers are getting an aging slugger in Davis, who has hit .247 in each of the last four seasons.
C Jonah Heim- Heim made the only 41PA in 2020 but earned high praise from the pitching staff for his ability to manage a game. Heim has the chance to earn an everyday role with the Rangers.
RHP Dane Dunning-Dunning is only 26yo and just made his MLB debut in 2020, posting a 3.97ERA/3.99FIP, 9.28K/9 over 34IP.
1B Nate Lowe- Carrying a .251/.322/.447 line over 245PA in 71 games.
1B Jake Guenther, RHP Dane Acker,
Rule 5 Selections:
RHRP Brett de Geus- The 23yo reliever hasn't pitched above the high-A level in his two MiLB seasons and looks primed to make the massive leap to the MLB 2021 with the club. Geus has a 4.51ERA/5.17RA9/1.31WHIP with 130k-40BB over 123.2IP.
C Aramis Garcia- 27yo, carries a decent track record of success at the AAA level with a slash line .26/.308/.492 over 65PA in 2018. He missed most of the 2019 season with the Giants after a hip surgery. Garcia should have a chance to lock up a backup role in Texas behind Jose Trevino. The Rangers hope that Garcia shows well enough to let well-regarded prospect Sam Huff get a little bit more development time.
RHRP Ian Kennedy- Kennedy became the Royals full-time closer in 2019, having 63 appearances with a 3.41ERA/2.99FIP and a 44.4% groundball rate over 63.1IP. The 36yo could prove to be a valuable back-end-up or swing option for the Rangers.
RHP Tyson Ross- The 33yo opted out of the 2020 season and hasn't pitched in the MLB since 2019 with the Tigers, which saw him pitch 35.1IP 6.11ERA Injuries have derailed most of his career in recent memory.
C John Hicks- Hicks didn't play in 2020 but has appeared in parts of the last five seasons. He has hit .235/.280/.391 slash in 871PA.
UTL Brock Holt- The 32yo struggled in his time with the Brewers early in 2020, hitting .100/.222/.100 before he went to the Nationals and hit .262/.314/.354 in 70PA. The ability to play above-average defense at 2B,3B, LF, RF.
RHP Nick Vincent- In 2020 with the Marlins, he owns a 4.43ERA over 22.1IP. He owns a career of 3.38ERA over 399IP.
RHP Spencer Patton- Over the last four seasons in the NPB, he owns a 3.68ERA over 205.2IP.
OF Delino DeShields Jr.- In 2020, he posted a .252/.310/.318 in 120PA with the Indians. DeShields is back with the Rangers after spending just one year away.
RHP Sam Gaviglio- The 30yo brings in a 4.88ERA over 296.2IP at the MLB level.
RHRP Hunter Wood- The 27yo Wood owns a career 3.32ERA over 86.2IP with a 12.6% swinging-strike rate.
RHP Edubary Ramos- The 28yo pitcher will compete for a bullpen spot with the club after not pitching in 2020. As Phillie's pen member over the last four seasons before 2020, he has pitched to a 3.71ERA/3.72FIP over 155.1IP over 173 appearances.
RHP Jharel Cotton- Cotton hadn't pitched in the MLB since March 2018 when he underwent Tommy John Surgery. Cotton has shown to be an alright bullpen arm and depth rotation piece. It will be interesting to see where he lands this spring training.
INF/OF Charlie Culberson- Since 2016, Culberson has tallied 556PA and combined to hit .266/.312/.440 slash. Look for Culberson to be a vet presence and depth piece on a rebuilding Rangers team.
OF Jason Martin, RHP Edubray Ramos, RHP Luis Ortiz, RHP Drew Anderson, C Drew Butera, RHP Justin Anderson, RHP Jason Bahr, RHP Matt Bush, RHP Jake Latz, RHP Luis Ortiz, RHP Ferney Ozuna, RHP Alex Speas, RHP Hunter Wood, C Matt Whatley, INF Yonny Hernandez, INF Andy Ibanez, INF Curtis Terry, OF Adolis Garcia,
3B Isiah Kiner-Falefa, OF Joey Gallo, RHP Rafael Montero
RHP Yerry Rodriguez, RHP A.J. Alexy, C David Garcia
Returning from IL:
RHP Jose Leclerc
Camp Invitees- INF Josh Jung, RHP Cole Winn, LHP Hans Crouse, INF Davis Wendzel, OF Bubba Thompson, OF Steele Walker: each are top 30 organization prospects.
LHP Avery Weems- Weems is 23yo; in his 60.1IP of rookie ball in 2019, he had a 2.09ERA, 11.0K/9, 1.5BB/9.
-The team optioned 3B Sherten Apostel, P Joe Gatto, and P Tyler Phillips to AAA camp.
-Newcomer Jonah Heim has been playing exceptionally well will be taking the everyday job behind the plate. See his profile above.
-Kyle Cody has been pitching very well in camp and will have his innings managed in 2021. He should still play a significant role for the team in 2021.
Fantasy Impact Players
Pitchers- Kohei Arihara, Dane Dunning, Mike Folty, CL Jose Leclerc
Position- 1B Nate Lowe, 2B Nick Solak, SS Isiah Kiner-Falefa, OF David Dahl, OF Joey Gallo
Upcoming 2022 Free Agents:
-The Rangers are going deep into their rebuild. Khris Davis, Jordan Lyles will each be a free agent next season.
-RP Ian Kennedy and 2B Brock Holt, if they make the club and play well during the season, could bring value.
-RHP Joely Rodriquez carries a $3 mil club option.
Storylines to follow
Leody Taveras started slowly in camp; he quickly got turned around and looked to be gunning for CF's everyday job.
-Folty has been dealing in camp, and the righty is due for a significant rebound in 2021 and a possible piece the Rangers could flip during the season.
-The Rangers have plenty of rebound candidates, but none more important to the Rangers than 3B Rougned Odor. After posting a -0.6WAR with a .167/.209/.413 slash. The clock is ticking for Odor at 27yo to re-establish his value. If he can get back to his career average of .728OPS, then I see a trade to a decent team in his future this season.
-The Rangers have one NRI who will make the opening day roster in LHP Hyeon-Jong Yang. Yang is a former KBO MVP, who from 2013-19 posted a 3.35ERA over 1200IP. I have no doubt the Yang, along with Arihara, provides the rangers two exciting options.
-The Rangers who two attractive breakout candidates in RHP Dane Dunning and OF David Dahl. Both are 26 years old; both were essentially given up on by their previous club too early. However, give me Dunning here at the top of the rotation for the Rangers. If he can build off the small sample size from 2020(3.97ERA/3.99FIP over 34IP.) Dunning may end up being the more valuable piece of the Lance Lynn trade.
An investment group headed by President George W. Bush purchased the Rangers in 1989. Bush left the team when he was elected Governor of Texas in 1994.
Hall-of-Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan recorded his 5,000th strikeout, 300th win, and sixth and seventh no-hitters with the Rangers.
Thanks for reading today, I am so grateful for your time reading, and I hope you enjoyed reviewing and previewing the Rangers 2021 with me. I also want to thank my partners over at Repp Sports for RAZE Energy. Thanks to this clean and sufficient energy, I can have the intense focus to deliver content to you guys consistently. Click here to save 15% right now with the code "BALL BOY" at check out.