30 Teams in 30 Days - Texas Rangers

General Overview - The Rangers won this division last year with 95 wins. The loss of Ian Desmond and Mitch Moreland could be too much to overcome if their replacements don’t replicate their production. Myworld expects a couple wins to separate the Astros, Mariners and Rangers. The Rangers have the top two starters of these three teams in Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels, but their lineup will fall short to support the back end of the rotation.

Strength - Roughned Odor had a breakout year at second base. It will be hard to replicate the 33 homeruns but the Rangers need someone to replace the offense of Moreland and Desmond. A 19/135 walk to whiff rate and .296 OBA are cause for concern but Odor is still one of the best second basemen in the game. The nice season for Odor leaves future superstar Jurickson Profar without a position to play hanging on a utility role to get his at bats. Jonathan Lucroy was a nice acquisition to solidify the catching weakness from last year. At 31 years of age he may approaching the down side of his career, but he still has a season or two of solid play behind him before he reaches that level. If their health stands up Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels are two aces not matched by many. They will keep the losing streaks to a minimum. Yu Darvish has had injury issues and the rotation is too thin if either pitcher goes down for significant time. Myworld likes the stuff of Andrew Cashner, but he has always fallen short of his purported talent level.

Weakness - Shin-Soo Choo has missed a lot of games the last two seasons because of injury issues. Even when healthy his production has been below average. Not too sure what the Rangers will get from Carlos Gomez. They certainly want to get more than last year’s production, though the power numbers were decent. There is no set starter at first base. Joey Gallo could take the position but he has had some horrid major league struggles. Very few players can match his power but last year he hit .045 with 19 whiffs 30 at bats. They could go with the defense of James Loney or move Josh Hamilton there if Josh can stay healthy. Those questions also haunt them at the DH position, though this seems to be an ideal spot to keep Josh Hamilton healthy. The bullpen does not really have an established closer. Sam Dyson did a good job for them last year with 38 saves. If he fails to repeat his success Jeremy Jeffress or Matt Bush could take over. Tony Barnette closed for a number of seasons in Japan and had a successful season in the pen in his return to the major leagues. They have no established closer but they do have options if Dyson should stumble.

Nonroster Invitee - Watch for Cesar Puello possibly making it as a fourth outfielder for the Rangers. He was once a highly touted prospect for the Mets, got caught up in a drug suspension and has not been able to shake his struggles. James Loney is the best defensive option for first base if Joey Gallo should collapse in the spring. That is risking a lot with his unproductive offense. Josh Hamilton should make the roster if he can show he can stay healthy.

Breakout Prospects - Joey Gallo has had too many at bats over the last couple years to be considered a prospect. The Rangers have been waiting a long time for him to reach his potential. First base is an open spot for him. If all the contestants fail to produce at first base the Rangers could call on Ronald Guzman during mid-season just as they called on Mazara last year. Guzman does not have the power of Gallo but he is next in line. Connor Sadzeck hit the high 90s with his fastball pitching in AA but he still needs work on his secondary pitches and his command. If those improve he could be a mid-season callup, depending on need.

Prospects to Watch - Yeyson Yrizarri is still a few years away from playing shortstop for the Rangers, but they signed him to a $1.35 million bonus back in 2013. He is finally starting to put it together but a 9/91 walk to whiff will have to improve as he rises past A ball. Jairo Beras is one of these 6″6″ right fielders who bash 20 plus homeruns. Next year he will be playing in AA. Yohander Mendez was signed the same year as Guzman. The Venezuelan lefthander has a nice 6′5″ frame and a fastball in the low 90s. He had some success in AAA but needs to improve his command. The Cuban defector Andy Ibanez plays the same position as Odor. He lacks the power of Odor but makes better contact. He could play third base but lacks the power for that position, a position also occupied by Adrian Beltre.

Expected Finish - Myworld predicts five games will separate the Astros, Mariners and Rangers from first to third. The Rangers will draw the short stick and finish in third, just missing the wild card.

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