The Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister has won the AL West in both of his first two seasons at the helm. They have been a tour de force on offense and has gotten by with their pitching. Their bullpen has actually been one of the best in the Majors and have bailed out the back-end of their rotation many times a year ago.
The Mariners made a few huge moves this offseason and the Astros young roster is expected to improve even more this year. Did the Rangers do enough this offseason to hold off both teams in the AL West?
Can Carlos Gomez be the Comeback Player of the Year?
Here is the 2017 MLB season preview for the Texas Rangers.
2016 Win/Loss Record: 95-67
Key Additions: 1B Mike Napoli, SP Andrew Cashner, SP Tyson Ross, RP Anthony Bass, SP Dillon Gee, RP Eddie Gamboa, RP Adam Loewen, 1B James Loney, 3B Will Middlebrooks, OF Travis Snider, SP Allen Webster & RP Wesley Wright
Key Losses: OF Ian Desmond, 1B Mitch Moreland, RP Shawn Tolleson, SP Derek Holland, OF Carlos Beltran, DH Prince Fielder & C Bobby Wilson
Interleague Schedule: NL East
Projected Starters: Jonathan Lucroy, Mike Napoli, Rougned Odor, Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, Ryan Rua, Carlos Gomez, Nomar Mazara & Shin-Soo Choo
Projected Starting Rotation: Cole Hamels, Yu Darvish, Martin Perez, Andrew Cashner & A.J. Griffin
Closer: Sam Dyson
Fantasy Sleeper: OF Carlos Gomez – Gomez has become a fantasy zombie. He was once one of the most-coveted fantasy players, but just fell off in his last half-season in Milwaukee and entire tenure in Houston. His bat found life again when he found himself in Texas late last season. He hit .284 in his final 33 games in 2016. He is surrounded by heavy hitters and he could have a 20/20 season for the Rangers. His average draft position is currently 193rd, but he should easily out-perform where he’s being drafted.
Prospect To Keep Your Eye On: SP Yohaner Mendez – The lanky Venezuelan had a great year in Double and Triple-A last season. The back-end of the Rangers rotation is a little weak, so if Mendez gets off to a hot start, he could find himself starting for the Rangers. He did have two relief appearances at the end of the year, but struggled giving up six runs in three innings. He could even be called up in relief before a spot opens up in the rotation.
Team Analysis: As a Cubs fan, the Rangers scared me late last season. They were the one team I did not want the Cubs to face in the World Series. Their lineup was formidable from one through nine. They weren’t able to keep a few of those bats this offseason. Ian Desmond, Mitch Moreland and Carlos Beltran all left for new deals.
The Rangers were able to sign some players to fill in for the players that left, but two of those players might not be ready for the start of the year. Newly-signed starters Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross could both miss the start of the season with injuries. They have some depth and should be find, but let’s hope the injuries aren’t something that linger.
The AL West is stacked and the Rangers will face stiff competition by the Astros and Mariners. I just think their offense will lead them to the division title. The Rangers will be a pain for opposing pitchers all season.
2017 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 85 (Prediction: OVER)
2017 Projected Win/Loss Record: 90-72 (1st 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.