The Texas Rangers hoped to make it out of Spring Training without too many injuries. They were already given bad news this offseason when they heard top prospect Jurickson Profar would miss another season after needing another surgery on his left shoulder. The worst news was yet to come.
The Rangers found out their ace Yu Darvish would be on the shelf for the season after getting a second opinion that he needed Tommy John surgery. He was shutdown back in August after injuring his elbow. They thought he could avoid Tommy John surgery with extra rest this offseason.
The Rangers had postseason aspirations last season, but lost 95 games due to all the injuries to key players. Can they get back to the postseason in 2015?
Here is the 2015 MLB season preview for the Texas Rangers.
2014 Win/Loss Record: 67-95
Key Additions: SP Yovani Gallardo, SP Ross Detwiler, RP Joe Beimel, RP Kyuji Fujikawa, C Carlos Corporan, SP Anthony Ranaudo, RP Anthony Bass, SP Ross Ohlendorf, RP Juan Carlos Oviedo, RP Jamey Wright, 1B Kyle Blanks, OF Ryan Ludwick & Nate Schierholtz
Key Losses: OF Alex Rios, RP Neal Cotts, SP Robbie Ross, RP Alexi Ogando, C J.P. Arencibia, OF Daniel Robertson, 2B Luis Sardinas, OF Jim Adduci, 1B Mike Carp & RP Scott Baker
Interleague Schedule: NL West
Projected Starters: Robinson Chirinos, Prince Fielder, Rougned Odor, Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, Jake Smolinski, Leonys Martin, Shin-Soo Choo & Mitch Moreland
Projected Starting Rotation: Derek Holland, Yovani Gallardo, Colby Lewis, Ross Detwiler & Anthony Ranaudo
Closer: Neftali Feliz
Fantasy Sleeper: 2B Rougned Odor – Some may not classify Odor as a sleeper, since he’s being drafted as a top-fifteen second baseman. I believe he has a shot at being a top-ten fantasy second baseman by the end of the year. Arlington is a hitter’s park and he has shown some power in the minors. I believe he’ll be at least a 15/15 player in his first full season in the Majors.
Prospect To Keep Your Eye On: 3B Joey Gallo – Gallo is the prospect Rangers fans are currently drooling over. He hit 38 homers in Low-A ball in 2013 and then hit 42 homers in-between High-A and Double-A last season. There’s no doubt he has enough raw power to put up elite power numbers in the Majors, but can he consistently hit Major League pitching? He struck out 179 times in 439 at-bats in 2014. His strikeout-rate nearly doubled from High-A to Double-A. His batting average also dropped by 101 points with the promotion. He could end up being similar to Jack Cust or Adam Dunn in the Majors. The 21-year old needs to spend this season developing his batter’s eye and patience at the plate.
Team Analysis: Last season was a disaster for the Rangers. Players were dropping like flies from a wide array of injuries. Martin Perez needed Tommy John surgery, Matt Harrison had spinal fusion surgery on his back, Prince Fielder had cervical fusion on his neck and Jurickson Profar’s shoulder appears to be that of a 90-year-old man.
The injury bug is still in full-effect in Texas. Profar’s shoulder is still a mess and he will miss the entire 2015 season. The worst injury was just diagnosed this week. Their ace Yu Darvish needs Tommy John surgery and will also miss the season. They have filled holes in the past with key trades, but they would need to pull off a blockbuster trade in order to fill the hole created by Darvish’s absence.
Texas was a World Series contender before last season. Things turned ugly in a hurry, but even with injuries to Darvish and Profar, the season is salvageable. I like the depth they added this offseason. Their bullpen might end up being one of the best in the American League. The Joe Beimel and Kyuji Fujikawa signings are sneaky. Fuijkawa was an elite pitcher overseas, but injuries kept him on the DL for most of his tenure with Chicago.
Texas may not make the postseason this season, but they will be competitive. They could be back in the AL West race by next year.
2015 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 79 (Prediction: OVER)
2015 Projected Win/Loss Record: 83-79 (3rd in 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.