Texas Rangers 2021: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Season Prediction

How will things shape up in the AL West?

An eight-game losing streak in mid-August sealed the Rangers' fate for 2020, and, as it turns out, beyond. The Rangers decided to enter into a rebuild, a course that took them to the worst record in the American League and could keep them there for 2021. Things might not be much better in 2022. Veterans have been traded, benched, or not re-signed. Rookies and prospects were given opportunities, and young players were acquired via trades or free agency. They will be the focus of the 2021 Rangers, not necessarily wins and losses, with the hopes of infusing veterans into the team over the offseason ahead of 2022.

 

Opposing Scouts Size Up the Rangers

Texas Rangers logo"Their core from the last few years just isn't getting it done, and they're eager to move on. I love the idea of shifting Isiah Kiner-Falefa, a Gold Glover at third base, over to short. Rougned Odor was another miss; he'll never hit and they've had it with him, so expect to see a lot of Nick Solak. And when you look at Joey Gallo, outside of one half in 2019, he's always been the same guy: low batting average, home runs, and strikeouts. That's just who he is. They sold high on Lance Lynn and got Dane Dunning, who could be in the rotation for a while, and now they need to flip Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles to get more useful pieces. Keep an eye on Jonathan Hernandez — he's a plus arm with five years of control, and he got enough innings in the minors to be more of a multi-inning relief ace than strictly a closer. That's the spot for Jose Leclerc, if he's the same guy after shoulder surgery."

 

Beyond the Box Score

 

New home Globe Life Field opened July 24, when the Rangers beat the Rockies 1–0 on Opening Day. The $1.2 billion facility features a retractable roof and air conditioning, which players who once toiled in the searing Texas heat welcomed. The ballpark was initially thought to be a pitcher's park after the Rangers struggled to hit home runs in 30 home games. However, the four playoff teams to play there over three rounds dispelled that notion.

 

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New GM in town For the first time since 2005, the Rangers have a new general manager. Chris Young was hired away from the MLB commissioner's office to become the GM of his hometown team. Young grew up in Dallas, still lives there, and made his MLB debut for the Rangers in 2004. Jon Daniels remains the top executive as president of baseball operations, a title he had held along with GM since 2013. One of Young's areas of focus will be analytics. The Rangers invested heavily in analytics and research and development, and Young will help streamline messaging to the players.


Controlling COVID The Rangers struggled to get out of the starting gate for summer camp as their best player, Gallo, tested positive for COVID-19 despite being asymptomatic. Lefthander Brett Martin also tested positive. But that was it for the Rangers, who stuck to MLB protocols and instituted some of their own to help them get through the season without an outbreak. It wasn't easy, especially on the road. Players were permitted in their rooms only, though the team set up hotel ballrooms that allowed for socially distanced activities.


Draft stumper The Rangers' five-player draft class was panned by analysts, with no pick receiving more negative attention than second-rounder Evan Carter. A prep outfielder from Elizabethton, Tenn., Carter was the 50th overall pick. The so-called experts on TV broadcasts of the draft admitted to never hearing of him. The Rangers, though, believe he would have been known had COVID-19 not forced the cancellation of high school seasons. They consider Carter to be a potential five-tool player.


Sticking with baseball Righthander Kyle Cody was an all-state basketball and football player in Wisconsin before deciding to play college baseball at Kentucky, which is known for men's basketball. Cody, though, never felt the urge to attempt to walk on to the Wildcats' hoops team, and he only met coach John Calipari once. "He had no idea who I was," Cody said.

 

Projected Lineup

 

LINEUP

CF    David Dahl (L)

SS    Isiah Kiner-Falefa (R)

RF    Joey Gallo (L)

1B    Nate Lowe (L)

DH   Khris Davis (R)

2B    Nick Solak (R)

LF    Willie Calhoun (L)

3B    Rougned Odor (L)

C      Jose Trevino (R)

 

BENCH

OF    Leody Taveras (S)

C      Jonah Heim (S)

1B    Ronald Guzman (R)

OF    Eli White (R)

 

ROTATION

RHP    Kyle Gibson

RHP    Jordan Lyles

RHP    Dane Dunning

RHP    Kyle Cody

LHP    Taylor Hearn

 

BULLPEN

RHP    Jose Leclerc (C)

RHP    Jonathan Hernandez

RHP    Demarcus Evans

RHP    Brett de Geus

RHP    Jimmy Herget

LHP    Brett Martin

LHP    Joely Rodriguez

RHP    Joe Gatto

 

2021 Prediction: 5th in AL West

 

(Joey Gallo photo by Tracy Proffitt/Four Seam Images via AP)

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