The Rangers are a team built to have a decent championship window. The Rangers are built around a mix of young players like Elvis Andrus and Yu Darvish, and veterans like Adrian Beltre and Cole Hamels to shoulder the load during a long season. The Astros also have a long window since their team is mostly built from their impressive farm system. The Rangers and Astros will be battling for the division for many years to come.
Can the Rangers repeat as AL West champions?
Here is the 2016 MLB season preview for the Texas Rangers.
2015 Win/Loss Record: 88-74
Key Additions: OF Ian Desmond, RP Tom Wilhelmsen, C Bryan Holaday & OF Justin Ruggiano
Key Losses: SP Yovani Gallardo, OF Leonys Martin, SP Ross Ohlendorf, SS Adam Rosales, 1B Mike Napoli & OF Will Venable
Interleague Schedule: NL Central
Projected Starters: Robinson Chirinos, Mitch Moreland, Rougned Odor, Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, Ian Desmond, Delino DeShields, Shin-Soo Choo & Prince FIelder
Projected Starting Rotation: Cole Hamels, Derek Holland, Colby Lewis, Martin Perez & A.J. Griffin
Closer: Shawn Tolleson
Fantasy Sleeper: OF Josh Hamilton – How is a former top-10 fantasy baseball player now a sleeper? Well, he’s been a very broken man mentally and physically the last two seasons. The move back to Texas was good for him, but he just couldn’t stay healthy last year. He’s out until mid-May with a knee issue, so chances are he’s still floating around in the free agent pool after your draft. He could be worth occupying your DL spot for a month.
Prospect To Keep Your Eye On: 2B Jurickson Profar – He was once the #1 prospect in baseball, but for the past two seasons he has dealt with major shoulder issues. He’s going to spend a lot of time in the minors to get back to ‘baseball shape’. I have a feeling he will be back in the Majors by year’s end.
Team Analysis: The Rangers bounced back last season after a forgettable 2014 season. They edged out the Astros and Angels to win the AL West. The race is expected to be another close one this season with all three teams improving their rosters this offseason.
The Rangers have pretty much all their major pieces back this season except for Yovani Gallardo…but they are expected to get ace Yu Darvish back in mid-May from Tommy John. I think it more than evens out if Darvish comes back as strong as expected.
One sneaky signing I loved this offseason was Ian Desmond. He is only one season removed from being a perennial 20/20 guy. The move to the outfield is smart since Desmond has had issues with errors at shortstop. Desmond could have a bounce back season hitting in the hitter-friendly Globe Life Park.
The Rangers will be neck and neck with the Astros all season with the Angels creeping in and out of contention. This race will go all the way down to the last month of the season.
2016 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 83.5 (Prediction: OVER)
2016 Projected Win/Loss Record: 85-77 (2nd 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.