The Texas Rangers couldn’t make it out of Spring Training unscathed. Geovany Soto and super prospect Jurickson Profar are expected to be out at least three months with injuries. They aren’t a deep team, so these injuries will be felt early.
Texas made some big moves by acquiring Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo to compete with the Joneses in the AL West. Oakland and Los Angeles will be pests and stay in the race all season.
Ian Kinsler was a big piece in Texas’s resurgence. Prince Fielder will be a nice source of offense, but will his weight become an issue late in the season?
Will the Rangers starting rotation be good enough to make the postseason?
Here is the 2014 MLB season preview for the Texas Rangers.
2013 Win/Loss Record: 91-72
Key Additions: 1B Prince Fielder, OF Shin-Soo Choo, SP Joe Saunders, C J.P. Arencibia, 3B Donnie Murphy, RP Pedro Figueroa, RP Shawn Tolleson & OF Michael Choice
Key Losses: 2B Ian Kinsler, C A.J. Pierzynski, OF David Murphy, OF Nelson Cruz, DH Lance Berkman, OF Craig Gentry & 2B Jeff Baker
Interleague Schedule: NL East + Colorado Rockies
Projected Starters: Geovany Soto*, Prince Fielder, Adam Rosales, Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre, Shin-Soo Choo, Leonys Martin, Alex Rios & Mitch Moreland
Projected Starting Rotation: Yu Darvish, Martin Perez, Matt Harrison, Alexi Ogando & Tanner Scheppers
Closer: Joakim Soria
Fantasy Sleeper: C J.P. Arencibia – Geovany Soto is slated to miss about three months with a torn meniscus. Arencibia and Robinson Chirinos will be the go-to catchers until he’s ready to come back. Arencibia has a lot of pop and in Global Life Park in Arlington (it’s a lame name, I know), he will hit double-digit homers. His batting average will be ugly, but if you need power, Arencibia could be a nice source.
Prospect To Keep Your Eye On: OF Michael Choice – It looks like Choice will make the Opening Day roster, but isn’t expected to start. He has shown power in the minors and even hit 30 in Hi-A. He didn’t hit as many in Double-A and Triple-A, but still had double-digit power and hit around .290 combined. Since he’s not a starter at the moment, he’s more of a player to keep an eye on.
Team Analysis: Two weeks ago, I sat down and projected the records of every MLB team. Since then, Jurickson Profar and Geovany Soto suffered injuries that will cost them months, Yu Darvish has a nagging injury that may keep him out a few starts and Neftali Feliz was sent to the minors after losing velocity. I thought they were a tier above the rest of the AL West, but all these injuries makes the AL West race very interesting. They were active this offseason by trading Ian Kinsler to Detroit for Prince Fielder and they opened their wallets for free agent Shin-Soo Choo. Texas looks like they could be a team that struggles early, but once Profar and Derek Holland returns, they could be a dangerous second-half team. I am excited to watch this race unfold in August and September.
2014 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 87 (Prediction: OVER)
2014 Projected Win/Loss Record: 92-70 (1st AL West)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.