AL West rivals: Texas Rangers

AL West rivals: Texas Rangers

Over the next couple of weeks, we will take a look at each of the Astros AL West rivals and finally a microscopic look back on to our own Astros. Today we continue the topic with the Texas Rangers. We will include some stats from 2019 and 2020 since 2020 was such an odd wad season.

  • Last Playoff season – 2016 (Swept by Toronto Blue Jays in ALDS)
  • Last Playoff winning series – 2011 (Over Detroit Tigers in ALCS)
  • Lost consecutive WS – In 2010 to the Giants and 2011 to the Cards
  • 2019 Record – 78-84  3rd place in the AL West – 29 games back / 45-36 at home / 33-48 on road / 25-21 one run games / 7-6 extra inning games – They were 6-13 against the Astros
  • Hitting – 5.00 runs/game (6th in AL) / .248 BA (9th) / .319 OBP (7th) / .750 OPS (8th) / 223 HRs (T-8th)
  • Pitching – 5.42 runs/game (12th in AL) / 1.459 WHIP (14th) / 33 saves (T-9th) – Starters – 5.37 ERA (12th)  / Relievers – 4.73 ERA (11th)
  • 2020 Record – 22-38  5th place in the AL West – 14 games back / 16-14 at home / 6-24 on road / 7-6 one run games / 2-2 extra inning games -They were 5-5 against the Astros
  • Hitting – 3.73 runs/game (15th in AL) / .217 BA (15th) / .285 OBP (15th) / .648 OPS (15th) / 62 HRs (13th)
  • Pitching – 5.20 runs / game (11th) / 1.384 WHIP (12th) / 10 saves (15th) – Starters – 5.32 ERA (12th)  /  Relievers – 4.63 (11th)

Review.

The Rangers were below average in 2019, but they were very bad in all phases of the game in 2020. Like the Astros, their offense fell in 2020, but in their case, it became the worst offense across the board in the American League. Their pitching was bad in 2019 and bad in 2020. They looked to need a re-build, but they really just did some tweaking this off-season.

Offense.

In 2019 their offense was good, especially in scoring (6th in the AL) and it fell to last in 2020. Hunter Pence, who had given them a very good ½ year was gone. In 2020, Joey Gallo (no surprise), Roughned Odor, Elvis Andrus, Willy Calhoun and the catching pair of Jeff Mathis and Robinson Chirinos were all below the Mendoza line as was Danny Santana, who was a surprise contributor in 2019. Even steady Eddie, Shin-Soo Choo fell off.

Choo left in free agency. The Rangers traded Andrus, who they were replacing at SS by young Isaiah Kiner-Falefa, to Oakland for Khris Davis and other parts including prospect C Jonah Heim. Davis is in the OF/ DH mix with Gallo, Calhoun, Leody Taveras and David Dahl. Dahl was signed as a free agent out of Colorado where he had been an All Star in 2019 and a bad player in 2020. They picked up Nate Lowe and put him in front of Ronald Guzman on the depth chart at 1B. They moved Odor to 3B (Kiner-Falefa’s old spot) and gave the catcher spot to Jose Trevino who was decent in a limited time in 2019.

Overall, offensively the Rangers seem to be relying on a lot of guys improving in 2021. But even if they do, that it is hard to see this offense being anything above mediocre.

Starting Pitching.

The Rangers starting pitching has been a weakness lately and their answer was to take their best pitcher, Lance Lynn and trade him. Well, Lynn was entering the last year on his contract and they received back pitcher Dane Dunning from the White Sox, who had a nice cameo in his MLB debut after a strong run through the minors. In what looks like a smart move, the Rangers signed 28-year-old hurler Kohei Arihara one of the top starting pitchers out of Japan. The Rangers also signed former Astro Mike Foltynewicz, who was an All Star in 2018, a so-so pitcher in 2019 and injured in 2020. They are trying to match up those three with Kyle Gibson, who has also been so-so and former Astro Jordan Lyles, who has been so bad to make up their new rotation. Again, this might be a better rotation, but hard to see it more than a below-average group.

Bullpen.

The Rangers bullpen has been consistent. Consistently bad in the last few years. Former closer Jose Leclerc will be taking back the 9th inning spot from Rafael Montero, who was traded in the off-season. Brett Martin, Demarcus Evans and Joely Rodriguez, who were all very good in small samples in 2020 are back looking for more significant innings. The Rangers signed Ian Kennedy, who was excellent out of the pen in KC in 2019 and not so much in 2020. Matt Bush who has pitched only 8 innings (in the minors) since 2018 is also in the mix.

The bullpen could be improved, especially if Kennedy is back to his good self in 2021. But again, that may just get them up to the middle of the road.

2021 Prediction: 70-92 and fifth in the AL West

If everything breaks their way the Rangers could get closer to .500, but rarely does everything break a teams’ way.

37 comments on “AL West rivals: Texas Rangers

    • Thanks for the compliment Mr. Bill – it is a labor of love. As I said once, it combines my two favorite “hobbies” – writing and sports.
      But it means nothing if y’all aren’t reading it.

      And huzzahs to my Houston Coogs, who somehow overcame their bad shooting from the field and missed free throws down the stretch and gritted out a ticket to the Sweet Sixteen with great defense, rebounding and just enough offense.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Houston Chronicle did not even cover the Cougar’s win. I was up for hours last night waiting to read a story covered from a Houston perspective.
        Roaches.
        This morning there is a generic story by the AP in the Chronicle. It’s the same story I read on google.

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      • Heck of a game OP – It felt like what I call “a bridge too far” game. It just felt like no matter how hard the Coogs battled that it was going to be too big a hill to climb. They got in trouble when Jarreau got hurt. He had been battling hip problems most of the game, but playing through it. Then he tried to get through a screen and the Rutgers big guy got away with a hip check that put him down and out for a while. Rutgers got out to a 10 point lead then.
        The Coogs were really struggling with one of their best shooters Marcus Sasser (his uncle was James Sasser – great player for Texas Tech) hitting nothing – he went 1 for 9 from the field and 0 for 5 from three – but he drilled two important free throw at the end. Grimes shooting and Jarreau’s grittiness and drives to the basket were most of their offense this game.

        I like how the Coogs play ball. They play really good defense, they all go for the rebounds and get a lot of second chances, they never let up even though things got dire in this game and by playing every possession tough they held on until they got just enough offense to win this game.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I too checked last night on the “Spit” site and the big story was the Rockets setting a record for the losses in a row. The Astros were way down at the bottom of the page. (And they want us to pay for that?)

        Liked by 1 person

  1. On paper . . . our offensive firepower certainly looks light years ahead of that of the Rangers. Moreover, our pitching look perhaps 10% better (assuming their staff goes injury-free and ours suffer one or more additional devastating injuries). Our defense should be at least as good [I am being generous here].

    But alas, the game is not played on paper. The question I wonder about is not ‘does our team have more talent than _________ (in this case, the Rangers’? The question I think about is ‘does our team have the energy and enthusiasm, and the managerial inspiration, to employ that talent in such a way to actually win games on the field against inferior opponents.’?

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  2. Thanks again Dan. I read your article and look up the stats for the Rangers and it becomes very evident. The best trade for the Astros ever made, was done by the Rangers owners. They traded Nolan Ryan for Jon Daniels.

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  3. Mr. Abreu could really use a good outing today. And some of us fans would like to see the offense actually show signs of intelligent life as well.

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  4. Some Rangers thoughts:
    * I think the Rangers will open the roof of their stadium a lot during games.
    * The Rangers are projected by Fangraphs to have the lowest accumulated WAR by their position players in the major leagues, 4.0. They are 28th in total WAR for their entire roster.
    * Roughned Odor is projected to be their starting third baseman.
    * The Ranger finished last in our division, but were 5-5 against us last season.
    * The Rangers starting lineup boast 6 guys who can bat Left Handed. With Valdez on the shelf, the Astros have an all RH starting rotation.
    * In writing this comment I spelled rangers with a small r, having to go back and correct this numerous times. I think I have it all fixed now.

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    • So does that cut back their overall projected team WAR to 30th in the majors.
      To be truthful it almost seems impossible that there would be not some progression back to the norm for Odor, Calhoun and Gallo, though the norm is not that great. And yes I mentioned above that Odor was moving to 3rd base where he will be even less of a hitter vs. the norm

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  5. Other than three straight batters being given 1st pitch balls, that first inning by Abreu may have been the best inning pitched I have seen by a Houston starter. But the Mets first three batters didn’t exactly show much plate discipline.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Abreu looked very good through three – that may be it for the young man. The Astros rolling in the 3rd – led by nice opposite field hitting by Straw and Altuve. 3-0
    I could not hear the whole thing, but what I did hear of the interview with Brent Strom was enjoyable. He basically said that Abreu was living the high life a little too much before 2020 (He’s talking about having money to eat better and getting lazy about getting in shape). So, Abreu had to watch his buddy Framber come in in great shape and break out and so for 2021 he is down 25 lbs. and in a much better place.
    He talked about how being overweight was behind Abreu’s control problems last year – your body is off – not balanced – not in sync.

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  7. Bases loaded, nobody out, a run in, and top of the order – Jose Altuve, no less – up to bat . . . . DON’T OVERTHINK IT!

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      • Jose just shook his head and smiled. I watched the replay and thought – what was Jason Castro thinking? He didn’t follow the age old rule – make sure it clears the infield before you commit to the next base.

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      • He seemed to be following my rule – I was slow to begin with and now I am old and slower and I have to leave earlier to get there at the same time….

        Liked by 1 person

    • I just dropped in to see what consistency his consistency was in.

      Emmanuel was also super sharp, and totally in command – until an error on Altuve, a couple of bad calls, and one hanger resulted in a three-run homer to ruin his pitching line.

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      • I like the Kenny Rogers and the First Edition reference Mr. Bill.
        I thought the same thing with Emmanuel – it was like how many outs does he need to get. Altuve dropped an easy grounder and then the ump squeezed him out of a K. Should have gotten out unscathed.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. This is Tags guess on the Opening Day Roster. Not any surprises. Just a confirmation of most of the previous posts here. (I do think a trade should be made with the Arizona Diamondbacks dumping Cishek or Joe Smith. One would think Arizona could use another “sidewinder.” )

    Liked by 2 people

    • I was talking last season that I thought LMJ would hopefully get an extension. His age and the TJ surgery behind him and the fact he was affordable because he had never been an ace pitcher. I still believe Lance has the ceiling of a Charlie Morton, who never showed anything until his age 32 season.

      Liked by 1 person

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