A brand new stadium, with the same old disappointment. The 2020 Texas Rangers held their inaugural season at Globe Life Field, but failed to play any kind of meaningful baseball there. Instead, more successful squads took up residence there in October to show the world that baseball can be played in Arlington in 2020.
Too rough? Jersey game was on point. So at least Rangers fans will look great while cursing their team.
2020: Record: 22 – 38, .367%
2020 Finish: 5th in the AL West, 15th in the American League
Surprises in 2020
While Lance Lynn‘s continued career renaissance isn’t so much a surprise, but the fact that the Rangers waited until the offseason to trade him was. Lance Lynn was the best thing about the Rangers in 2020. Full stop. Finishing in the Top 10 for Cy Young voting for the second consecutive year, Lynn put up numbers we haven’t seen from him since 2015.
But Lynn is now on the White Sox after being dealt for Avery Weems and top pitching prospect Dane Dunning. So let’s talk about Nick Solak, Leodys Taveras, and Isiah Kiner-Fela, who are still members of the Texas Rangers.
Solak had a very good debut season for the Rangers, and while he didn’t put up staggering numbers like some other rookies, he showed that he can hack it at the big league level. Leading the team in doubles, Solak found himself in the Top 4 for almost every offensive category in 2020.
That’s a great start for a guy whose bat is desperately needed in Arlington.
Leodys Taveras hit the ground running in 2020 and made the most of his 33 games this season. Sure, his .227 average leaves a lot to be desired. It’s the speed that will truly become Taveras’s calling card. In only half of the shortened season, the 21-year-old Dominican outfielder stole eight bases, good enough for a share of the top spot on the Rangers. Speed kills, and Taveras is only getting started.
Finally, you have to tip your hat to Isiah Kiner-Fela for a solid 2020 season. The slash line doesn’t tell the whole story, as his sub-.700 OPS paints a different picture, but Kiner-Fela brought something to the Rangers that they were in dire need of: consistency. We’ll get to why that is in next section, but having a bat in your lineup that’s hitting at an MLB-level is a good thing. The Rangers should have more of those.
Disappointments in 2020
The average hitter on the 2020 Texas Rangers had a slashline of .217/.285/.364 with an OPS of .648. That’s bad. That’s really bad.
The Texas Rangers had the second-worst offense in the entire league, but I’m willing to go ahead and give them the bottom spot. Why? The Cincinnati Reds have a higher team OPS, and the Rangers who seem to live in a “Home Run or Bust” world failed to reach at least the .700 mark.
The Rangers have a problem at the plate. Is it because their offense is built around a player who is an all-or-nothing hitter? Or because they have little to no lineup construction? It’s unclear. All we know is that the 2020 Texas Rangers were made of MLB hitters who put out Minor League effort.
Looking Ahead to 2021
While it might not be what you want to hear, things are going to get worse before they get better. The AL West is becoming competitive. The Mariners get younger and better, the Angels push to get Trout a World Series ring and the A’s and Astros continue their battle for division dominance. The Rangers do not factor into this division at all. They are simply not a threat.
Can they be a divisional threat in the future? Sure. But that all depends on the system these young prospects are coming into. You can’t get a good running start if there’s a brick wall three feet ahead of the starting line.
Something needs to change in Arlington, and that thing is the internal culture. Chris Woodward‘s third season at the helm needs to be one of transformation. If not, things could get out of hand.
Projected 2021 Finish: 62-100, 5th in the AL West
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