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30 in 30

The Turf’s 30 in 30: The Texas Rangers

The Rangers are rebuilding… again.

Jeff Bannister by Mike LaChance is licensed under CC 2.0

The Turf’s 30 in 30: The Texas Rangers

Estimated Reading Time: 2 Minutes

2018: Record: 67- 95

2018 Finish: 5th in the AL West, 11th in the American League

Surprises in 2018

The Rangers breathed a sigh of relief as Shin-Soo Choo had a bounce-back season, as he was an All-Star for the first time as a Ranger. The Rangers hope he can continue to have seasons that justify the significant money they’ve invested in him.

Jose Leclerc had an elite season for a reliever, finishing with a 1.56 ERA and 13.3 K/9 with solid peripherals (1.90 FIP) to support his strong season. While not a surprise, Adrian Beltre continued to be a joy to watch in his final MLB season.

Disappointments in 2018

When you have 95 losses, there are always plenty of disappointments. Let’s start with the pitching, which had the third worst ERA in the league, which makes sense when your top pitchers are Mike Minor and Big Sexy (the always entertaining ageless wonder, Bartolo Colon). You pair that with a defense that gave up the third most errors in baseball and you’ve got a recipe for losing.

The bats weren’t much better: Shin Soo-Choo led the bats with a 2.8 WAR, a few other players were adequate (Beltre, Rougned Odor), Joey Gallo hit 40 home runs…and struck out 200 times, but the biggest problem is no one on the team could reach base. Only 5 players had even an average OBP (using Fangraphs metrics, anything above a .320). When you can’t get on base, keep runs off the board, or prevent runs on defense, bad things happen.

Looking Ahead to 2019

The Rangers have eschewed a total rebuild in hopes of doing a light rebuild. There’s no doubt there’s some talent on the roster.

If Joey Gallo can raise his OBP and cut his strikeouts, he could be a solid MLB talent. He knows how to hit home runs and is increasing his defensive utility playing multiple positions in 2018.

They have some talented trade chips if they decide to go that route in Shin Soo-Choo and Jose Leclerc and could continue to build up what is an improving farm system.

There’s no hope for the Rangers to contend in 2019, but they’re hoping to put a passable team on the field and acquire talent in an attempt to make a run at things in 2020. If some of their talent in the lower minor leagues takes big steps forward, that could become a reality.

Ryan Neely is an Actor, Writer, and Director (but really, who isn't nowadays?) based in New York. A native Texan, Ryan is an Astros super-fan, as well as a fan of the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Aggies sports teams. You can spot him playing baseball and football all over Riverside park, he'll be the guy on the field taking it way too seriously. He recently created a comedy web series called, "A Day Late and Ten Pounds Overweight" and can be seen masquerading as the first captain of the first college football team ever.

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