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Texas Rangers 2018: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Expert Insight

Elvis Andrus

Elvis Andrus

The Rangers’ reign atop the AL West came to an end after two seasons as the Houston Astros stormed to the division title and then all the way to the world championship. In so doing, they became the first Texas team to win the World Series and put some heat on their rivals to the north to catch up.


The Rangers have a fine offense returning, but as of early January, their rotation was lacking the significant upgrade it needed. Their bullpen was thought to be improved, but primarily because it couldn’t possibly be as bad as it was in 2017. That’s on paper, though. The Rangers were also thought to be overmatched in 2015 before streaking to the West crown. That said, a division title seems out of reach, but they could play for a Wild Card spot if things click.

Opposing Scouts Size Up the RANGERS

“The Rangers have the power to flirt with a Wild Card spot, and if they hit enough to be in the hunt by midseason, they’ll go get a big pitcher and make a run. They could have four lefties in the rotation, but for now it looks like a whole lot of mediocrity behind Cole Hamels, who wasn’t right physically last season but should be fine now. Matt Moore is worth a try, but he really got hit hard with the Giants last year, and Arlington can be a tough place to pitch. I like the signing of Mike Minor, but I’d like it a lot more if they’d kept him in the bullpen. Rougned Odor was a big disappointment last season. He never made the adjustment on pitches up in the zone, and he looked like your typical modern player, tons of homers and strikeouts, and not much else. Elvis Andrus turned the corner, though, with his best season, and you’ll take whatever you can get from Adrian Beltre, who is still terrific in the field, at the plate and in the clubhouse.”

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Beyond the Box Score

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Swan Songs

Three key veterans could be playing their final season with the Rangers. Future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre is in the final year of his contract, shortstop Elvis Andrus could opt out of his deal, and lefthander Cole Hamels is in the last guaranteed year of his contract.

Far East Detour

Chris Martin, one of the Rangers’ offseason bullpen acquisitions, spent the last two years in Japan, though he grew up in Arlington and went to high school only four miles from Globe Life Park. Martin was also out of baseball for three years because of a shoulder injury and worked warehouse jobs before playing Independent ball with the Grand Prairie (Texas) Air Hogs to restart his career. After two tough seasons in the majors in 2014 and ’15, he went to Japan and starred with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, where he was a teammate of Shohei Ohtani.

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Fond Memories

Matt Moore will be returning to the site of his second start in the major leagues, and it was dazzling. He started Game 1 of the 2011 American League Division Series for Tampa Bay and allowed only two hits in seven scoreless innings as the Rays cruised to the win. The Rangers won the next three games, and Moore says that he didn’t have an appreciation for the magnitude of the stage he was on back then. The Rays returned to the playoffs only once more before trading him in 2016.

Giving Back

Hamels and his wife, Heidi, donated a $9.4 million mansion they built near Branson, Mo. The house, which is 32,000 square feet and sits on 100 acres, was donated by The Hamels Foundation to Camp Barnabas, a non-profit that helps provide “life-changing experiences to individuals with special needs and chronic illnesses.”

Homegrown Leaders

The Rangers hired Colby Lewis, the franchise’s postseason leader in victories, to be a special assistant to general manager Jon Daniels. Lewis, who did not pitch in 2017, will work primarily with minor leaguers. 

Fighting Spirit

Jake Diekman, who missed the first five months of last season to undergo three operations to correct ulcerative colitis, was selected as the 2017 winner of the Hutch Award, given annually by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. The award is given to the MLB player who “best exemplifies the fighting spirit and competitive desire” of Hutchinson, who lost his battle with cancer while managing Cincinnati in 1964.

Projected Lineup

LINEUP
CF    Delino DeShields (R)
DH    Shin-Soo Choo (L)
SS     Elvis Andrus (R)
3B     Adrian Beltre (R)
RF     Nomar Mazara (L)
1B     Joey Gallo (L)
C       Robinson Chirinos (R)
2B     Rougned Odor (L)
LF     Willie Calhoun (L)
BENCH
OF     Ryan Rua (R)
OF     Jurickson Profar (S)
UT     Drew Robinson (L)
C       Brett Nicholas (L)
ROTATION
LHP     Cole Hamels
LHP     Matt Moore
RHP     Doug Fister
LHP     Martin Perez
LHP     Mike Minor
BULLPEN
RHP     Seung Hwan Oh

RHP     Matt Bush

LHP     Jake Diekman
RHP     Keone Kela
LHP     Alex Claudio
RHP     Chris Martin
RHP     Tony Barnette