Category Archives: Texas Rangers

2018 AL West Predictions

1. Houston Astros

The Astros are the defending world series champions, but they arguably made their team even better this offseason with the addition of star pitcher Gerrit Cole. Either way, it’s very difficult to find a weakness on this roster. The Astros have a terrific lineup led by AL MVP Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer, and Alex Bregman. Houston also has other contibutors in their lineup, but those 4 guys are the core that will carry them for several years to come. Houston also has a terrific starting rotation with Dallas Keuchel, Justin Verlander, and Gerrit Cole leading the rotation. They also have Lance McCullers and Charlie Morton who provide even more depth to the rotation. Houston also has a reliable bullpen with closer Ken Giles and quality setup men Will Harris and Chris Devenski. Houston is definitely the favorite to win the AL West this year and they have all of the pieces to make a deep playoff run once again.

2. Los Angeles Angels

The Angels just missed out on the playoffs last season, but they made some offseason additions that could allow them to be a playoff team in 2018. Los Angeles added Ian Kinsler to be their starting 2nd basemen as that has been a major area of weakness for a few years. The Angels also added Zack Cozart this offseason as he will help to fill a void at the 3rd base position. Those two players will just make the Angels lineup even more dangerous especially with the team already having Mike Trout, Justin Upton, and Albert Pujols in their lineup. However, the key for the Angels will be their starting rotation as their starting pitchers failed to stay healthy last season. Garrett Richards is back in 2018 after missing most of last season due to injury and Andrew Heaney is also returning set to return from injury. The Angels also made a big splash in free agency by signing Shohei Ohtani, but it is a mystery as to how he will adjust to the MLB level since he has only played professionally in Japan. If the starting pitchers for the Angels can stay healthy then they should have a decent starting rotation especially if Ohtani is able to live up to the hype. Meanwhile, the Angels bullpen could be a major issue for the team heading into 2018. Blake Parker figures to be the team’s closer in 2018, but he is rather unproven in that role. The Angels also added Jim Johnson this offseason as a setup man, yet Johnson had an awful 2017 season for Atlanta as he had a 5.56 ERA. Los Angeles also has Cam Bedrosian as a late-inning option, but he struggled for the Angels last season with a 4.43 ERA. Los Angeles needs improvement from Johnson and Bedrosian if this bullpen is going to be successful in 2018. Overall, the Angels should be able to score plenty of runs with their deep lineup, although the starting rotation and bullpen are what is holding them back from competing with the Astros.

3. Seattle Mariners

Seattle is a team that has been on the verge of finally making the playoffs, but they just haven’t been able to do so. The Mariners will probably compete for a playoff spot in 2018, although it is unlikely that they will be able to secure a wild-card spot. Seattle has a very good lineup with Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano, and Kyle Seager providing the power in the middle of the lineup. However, the Mariners also acquired Dee Gordon this offseason who will be their new leadoff hitter with his tremendous speed. Seattle should be able to score runs, but the question will be their pitching staff. Felix Hernandez clearly isn’t the starting pitcher that he once was and he is not the ace of the rotation anymore. James Paxton is the team’s new ace, although the problem for Paxton is that he just can’t seem to stay healthy consistently. Mike Leake and Erasmo Ramirez will provide decent depth in their rotation as the 3rd and 4th starters. However, the Mariners need Paxton to stay healthy and Hernandez to return to form if their starting pitching is to be successful. Meanwhile, the Mariners bullpen should be very good as they have Edwin Diaz as a good closer. However, they also have plenty of depth with Juan Nicasio, Nick Vincent, and David Phelps being good late-inning options. Seattle should be a playoff contender in 2018, but the key to their success will be the starting rotation.

4. Texas Rangers

The Texas Rangers are a team that is definitely trending in the wrong direction as they were a good team a couple of years ago, but now they probably aren’t even a playoff contender. Texas still has a very good lineup and they can hit for some power with Joey Gallo, Rougned Odor, Adrian Beltre, Shin-Soo Choo, and Nomar Mazara leading the way. The team also has Elvis Andrus who can hit for some power as well and he provides tremendous speed as well. The Rangers will hit plenty of home runs this season, but they might still struggle to score some runs as they don’t have many players that hit for a good average. Texas also has a decent bullpen as they have Alex Claudio, Keone Kela, and Jake Diekman as solid late-inning options. However, they need to find which one of those guys will be their closer in 2018, although Claudio seems like the best option out of that group. The one major concern for the Rangers is their starting pitching as they have 5 veteran starters, but those starters all really struggled last season. Cole Hamels is the clear ace for the rotation, yet he needs to be much better than he was last season. Martin Perez, Doug Fister, and Matt Moore have all had success at the MLB level. However, those 3 guys seem to be trending in the wrong direction at this point in their careers. Texas has the lineup to be competitive, but they need more out of their pitching if they want to even be competitive in 2018.

5. Oakland Athletics

Oakland is kind of a mystery team heading into 2018 as they have plenty of young talent, although they aren’t expected to be playoff contenders. Khris Davis is the clear threat in the Athletics lineup as he is one of the best power hitters in the game. However, the Athletics also have young players Matt Olson and Matt Chapman that have proven that they are capable of hitting for power as well. Oakland’s lineup certainly has the potential to hit home runs, but they probably won’t hit for average or score many runs in general. Meanwhile, Oakland’s starting rotation is a complete unknown as it is full of young and uproven starting pitchers. Kendall Graveman and Sean Manaea are probably the team’s best starting pitchers, but neither has proven themselves as the best of the group. Jharel Cotton and Daniel Mengden also have some potential, although they both haven’t been very good early on in their careers. Oakland’s rotation has tremendous potential since they are such a young group and they don’t have much MLB experience. However, somebody needs to step up and pitch well because they don’t really have a leader in their starting rotation. Oakland could have a good starting rotation, but it could also be terrible and we’ll just have to see which young starting pitcher can step up. Oakland’s bullpen has a chance to be good this season as they have Blake Treinen as a decent closer. Also, they have Santiago Casilla and Yusmeiro Petit as experienced late-inning options in their bullpen. However, Oakland’s bullpen has some quality depth overall and it should be the overall strength of the team heading into 2018. The Athletics probably aren’t going to be a playoff contender in 2018. However, don’t count the A’s out since they are an intriguing team with all of their young talent and they could be a sneaky team in 2018.



2018 AL East Predictions

  1. Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox were quiet for most of the offseason until they finally jumped into free agency in a big way by signing power hitter J.D. Martinez. Boston already had a terrific pitching staff led by Chris Sale, David Price, Drew Pomeranz, and Rick Porcello. Also, they have a very good bullpen led by elite closer Craig Kimbrel. Boston also had a very talented lineup already with players like Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, Hanley Ramirez, and Dustin Pedroia. Adding J.D. Martinez to the mix gives the team the power bat in the middle of their lineup that they desperately needed. Boston has won the AL East two years in a row and they are a stronger team than they were a year ago. The Yankees will certainly give the Red Sox some tough competition this season, but it is difficult to find a weakness on Boston’s team and they are still the team to beat in the AL East.


2. New York Yankees

The New York Yankees made it to the ALCS last season, but they actually appear to be a more dangerous team this season especially after the addition of 2017 NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton. He hit 59 home runs for the Marlins last season and he will form a dynamic duo with Aaron Judge who hit 52 home runs for the Yankees in 2017. New York also has catcher Gary Sanchez who has proven that he can be an elite power hitter as well. The Yankees also appear to have a really good pitching staff heading into the 2018 season. They have a terrific bullpen with Aroldis Chapman as the closer and Dellin Betances and David Robertson as very reliable late-inning options as well. New York also has a good starting rotation with Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray, and CC Sabathia. The only real concern for the Yankees is at 2nd base and 1st base. Ronald Torreyes and Gleyber Torres will compete for the starting 2nd base job, but they are both inexperienced players and it is unknown what they can provide in 2018. 1st Base is clearly the biggest area of weakness for the Yankees as Greg Bird struggled last season. Bird is the clear starter at 1st base, but he needs to bounce back in 2018 in order to help the Yankees lineup reach its full potential. New York is definitely a playoff-caliber team and they will compete with the Red Sox for the division, but the Yankees still have a few weaknesses that hold them back a little bit.

3. Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays are a team that has playoff potential, but they also have the potential to be a completely bad team in 2018. Josh Donaldson will obviously carry the Blue Jays lineup this season assuming that he can stay healthy. Justin Smoak will also probably provide some solid power in the middle of the lineup for the Blue Jays. However, it is unknown what the rest of the lineup will provide. Troy Tulowitzki and Russell Martin are proven MLB players, but they have struggled with injuries and inconsistent play recently. Curtis Granderson and Randal Grichuk are the new starting outfielders for the Blue Jays after being acquired by Toronto this offseason. However, it is a mystery as to how much they will provide to the Blue Jays lineup. Toronto’s pitching staff appears to be the strength of their team as they have a good starting rotation led by Marcus Stroman and J.A. Happ. Also, Toronto’s 8th and 9th inning options in the bullpen appear to be very good with Roberto Osuna as the closer and Ryan Tepera as a quality setup man. However, the Blue Jays need better production from the rest of their bullpen and they need to find another good setup man. Toronto isn’t on the same level as the Yankees or the Red Sox, although if all goes right for Toronto then they still could compete for a wild card spot in 2018.

4. Baltimore Orioles

Baltimore is kind of on the same level as Toronto as they are a team that won’t challenge for the division title, but they could still be a playoff contender. We all know that the Orioles will probably score a ton of runs this offseason as they have many dangerous threats in their lineup. Manny Machado is their best hitter overall, but they still have Jonathan Schoop, Adam Jones, Trey Mancini, Chris Davis, and Mark Trumbo as other dangerous hitters in their lineup. Baltimore also has an extremely good bullpen, but they will have to be without star closer Zach Britton for awhile as he probably won’t be back until at least late May. Brad Brach should be just fine as the closer until Britton returns, but Britton’s injury will still hurt the Orioles a little bit. The good news is that Baltimore has a very deep bullpen with Darren O’Day and Mychal Givens as solid late-inning options as well. Baltimore’s main weakness is their starting pitching as they don’t really have a clear ace on their team and they don’t really have any good consistent starters. Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, Chris Tillman, and Andrew Cashner are all decent pitchers. However, they are all very inconsistent and they aren’t enough to be a good starting rotation. Baltimore just needs their starting rotation to be decent and if that happens then the Orioles are good enough in other areas to possibly be a playoff team.

5. Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay is clearly hitting the rebuild button after getting rid of Corey Dickerson, Jake Odorizzi, Tommy Hunter, Evan Longoria, Alex Cobb, Steven Souza Jr., Steve Cishek, and Brad Boxberger. That is a long list of quality major league players that they let go of, but the issue is that they didn’t even come close to replacing those players. The only players that they added that are proven MLB players are Denard Span, Carlos Gomez, and C.J. Cron. Tampa now basically has inexperience at many positions on their roster with Matt Duffy, Daniel Robertson, Mallex Smith, Denard Span, and C.J. Cron as new starters in their lineup this season. Tampa is going to have a really difficult time scoring runs this season as their best hitter is probably Kevin Kiermaier and even he isn’t a great hitter. The Rays still have a good starting rotation led by Chris Archer. However, it is unknown what kind of production that they will receive from the rest of their young starting pitchers like Blake Snell, Jacob Faria, and Matt Andriese. Tampa’s bullpen is probably the strength of the team with elite closer Alex Colome and quality setup options Dan Jennings and Sergio Romo. Tampa is a very young team with many unproven players and it appears that it could be a very rough season for the Rays in 2018.

Rangers trade Lucroy to the Rockies

The Texas Rangers decided to trade away catcher Jonathan Lucroy to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for a player to be named later.


Texas Rangers analysis/grade:

This is a really bad trade for the Rangers as they are giving up an all-star caliber catcher basically for nothing. Lucroy wasn’t having a very good year for the Rangers, but he is surely worth more than a low-level prospect. He is set to be a free agent after the season, but the Rangers could have gotten at least something decent in return for Lucroy. This is a trade that just isn’t worth it for Texas since they are acquiring pretty much nothing for a player that has a proven track record of being a very good catcher. Lucroy would have been more valuable just to remain with the team for the rest of the season rather than only getting a low-level minor league player presumably. We’ll see later on which prospect the Rangers receive from the Rockies for this trade, but this is still a major fail for the Rangers since they basically are getting rid of a valuable catcher for nothing.

Grade: F


Colorado Rockies analysis/grade:

This is a terrific low-risk trade for the Rockies as they are acquiring 2-time all-star catcher Jonathan Lucroy in exchange for basically nothing. Lucroy is having a down season in 2017 as he is only hitting .242 with 4 home runs and 27 RBI’s. However, Lucroy was an all-star just one season ago when he hit 24 home runs so he still has the potential to be a big impact player for the Rockies. The catcher position has been a major weakness for Colorado as both Tony Wolters and Ryan Hanigan have struggled to produce offensively. Even if Jonathan Lucroy plays like he did for the Rangers this season he still is a big upgrade at the position for the Rockies and he is still a dangerous hitter in the 8th spot of the Rockies lineup. Lucroy is likely only a rental player as he is a free agent after the season, but if he can just be half the player that he used to be then he will still make a major impact for the Rockies. The Rockies are giving barely anything up in exchange for Lucroy, so this trade has absolutely no risk and at the same time it could produce a huge return. Colorado is already a playoff-caliber team, yet this trade just makes the Rockies even more dangerous offensively especially if Lucroy can play like he did just a year ago.

Grade: A+

jonathan lucroy

Biggest need remaining for every AL West team

Houston Astros – Biggest need: 1st baseman

The Houston Astros don’t have a big need, but if there is one position that appears to be a little bit of a concern then it would be 1st base. Yulieski Gurriel will be the team’s starting 1st baseman in 2017, but he has limited MLB experience which makes me wonder how he will fare with the everyday job at 1st base next season. Gurriel hit .262 with 3 home runs for Houston last season, but the Astros should add at least some depth to the 1st base position. It might not work out with Gurriel as the everyday 1st baseman and the Astros should find another 1st baseman that can fill in if Gurriel doesn’t do well. There are many options left in free agency and they would be smart to add some depth to 1st base.

Los Angeles Angels – Biggest need: Catcher

The Los Angeles Angels didn’t get much production out of the catcher position with Geovany Soto and Jett Bandy. Now, both Bandy and Soto have departed this offseason which means there will be a new starting catcher for the Angels in 2017. Carlos Perez will see more playing time as a backup catcher next season. However, Martin Maldonado was acquired from the Brewers this offseason in order to be the new starting catcher. Maldonado has some power as he hit 8 home runs last season, but he needs to be a more consistent hitter as he only had a .202 average. It’s tough to find solid catchers these days, but the Angels could really use one because the combination of Maldonado and Perez doesn’t look too promising.

Oakland Athletics – Biggest need: Centerfielder

Oakland has some big needs to fill before next season, but the biggest need that they have is in center field. Jake Smolinski is projected to be the starting centerfielder for the Athletics in 2017, but he has never been very good even as a backup outfielder. Smolinski can hit some home runs as he hit 7 last season, but a .242 average is a little concerning. I don’t see Oakland going out and signing a quality centerfielder. However, there are still a few out there if they choose to go that route and it would probably improve their lineup.

Seattle Mariners – Biggest need: Left Fielder

The Mariners outfield isn’t looking too good for next season as they have three starting outfielders that aren’t very solid players. However, left field appears to be a major weakness for Seattle heading into next season. Ben Gamel is projected to be the starter in left field for the Mariners in 2017, but the issue is his lack of experience. Gamel only has 48 career at-bats and he only has a .188 average to show for it. There are still some quality left fielders in free agency and the Mariners should sign one to compete with Gamel for the starting job.

Texas Rangers – Biggest need: 1st baseman

Texas lost starting 1st baseman Mitch Moreland in free agency and it has created a major vacancy at the position heading into next season. Right now Ryan Rua would be the starting 1st baseman for Texas and he has only played 44 games at the position in his career. Don’t be shocked if the Rangers make a move to sign a quality 1st baseman and it has been rumored that they will reach a deal with Mike Napoli. Either way, the Rangers should add an everyday 1st baseman soon, although their options are starting to run out.

Rangers trade Luke Jackson to the Braves

Once again the Braves made a very odd trade as they acquired right-handed pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for right-handed pitcher Tyrell Jenkins and left-handed pitcher Brady Feigl.

Rangers evaluation:

The Rangers had high hopes for Luke Jackson when they drafted him 45th overall in the 2010 MLB draft. However, the patience that the Rangers had for Jackson has apparently run out as they traded him to the Braves. Jackson has tons of talent, but it was his pitch control that really held him back with the Rangers. Meanwhile, the Rangers are getting some decent young talent in return for Jackson. Tyrell Jenkins is a talented right-handed pitcher who projects more as a bullpen arm long-term for the Rangers. Jenkins went 35-27 with a 3.64 ERA in the minor leagues mostly as a starter. However, Jenkins really struggled for the Braves last season as he went 2-4 with a 5.88 ERA in 52 innings. Jenkins has struggled with pitch control as he walked 33 batters at the MLB level compared to only 26 strikeouts. Jenkins has to develop some more and it would probably be best if the Rangers send him to Triple-A to start the 2017 season. Jenkins could contribute to the bullpen soon, but he needs to figure out some better control in order to be more successful. Also, Brady Feigl is another player that the Rangers will have to be patient with and develop for awhile before he can be a successful MLB player. Feigl had Tommy John surgery in April 2015 and he has basically missed all of the last 2 seasons because of it. Feigl put up some good numbers in the minor leagues as he is 5-5 with a 2.74 ERA. However, he will soon be 26 years old and he will only just be starting double-A in 2016. We’ll see what type of pitcher he is after Tommy John surgery. However, he is still several years away from being an MLB player if he ever reaches that level. I don’t really see the purpose of the trade for the Rangers as they are giving up a quality prospect that needs some development. Meanwhile, they are getting 2 players that they will need to definitely develop for awhile which makes me wonder why they would even make this trade.

Grade: D+

Braves evaluation:

This trade makes a little more sense for the Braves as they are getting a very talented prospect that they can develop. Luke Jackson has an electric arm as he has the possibility to reach 100 MPH with his fastball. However, he has struggled a lot to learn how to develop his pitches and his minor league numbers prove that as he is 38-26 with a 4.24 ERA. The Braves certainly will have a lot of work to do with Jackson to try and help him develop some more quality pitches. Atlanta will likely send Jackson down to either Double-A or Triple-A in order to develop some pitch control so it will take awhile for him to develop. The Braves gave Tyrell Jenkins a chance to prove himself and he certainly didn’t prove that he’ll ever be more than a good minor league player. Also, Brady Feigl doesn’t have much potential and he doesn’t have much of an MLB future at all after Tommy John surgery. The Braves are hoping that Luke Jackson can one day be a power arm in their bullpen. I can see why Atlanta made this trade, although it will take some serious development to make Luke Jackson a decent MLB pitcher.

Grade: C



Rangers re-sign Carlos Gomez to a 1-year deal

The Texas Rangers and outfielder Carlos Gomez are reuniting for the 2017 season as the team re-signed Gomez to a 1-year/$11.5 million contract. It was a rough season for Gomez in 2016 and he was released in August after hitting .210 with the Astros. Gomez was ultimately picked up by the Rangers and he was much better in 33 games for them as he hit .284 with 8 home runs. Gomez is an all-star caliber player, but consistency offensively was an issue last season. It will be interesting to see if he can return to the type of player that he was just a few years ago with Milwaukee as he still has many valuable skills. Gomez still can hit 20 home runs in a season and he still has tremendous speed. This is a really good signing for the Rangers as this contract gives Gomez a chance to prove himself for one season. Gomez will be the everyday centerfielder for Texas in 2017 after the departure of Ian Desmond in free agency. We’ll see if Gomez can put together a consistent season for Texas in 2017 and if he can then he will be a key piece to the Rangers success.


Rangers sign Cashner to a 1-year deal

The Texas Rangers improved their pitching depth majorly as they signed veteran starting pitcher Andrew Cashner to a 1-year/$10 million deal. Cashner had by far the worst season of his career in 2016 as he went only 5-11 with a 5.25 ERA with the Padres and Marlins. However, a couple of years ago with San Diego he was one of the top starting pitchers in the national league as he had a 2.55 ERA. Cashner has been a very reliable pitcher throughout his career and in a starting pitcher market that is horrible this offseason then the Rangers had to make a move like this to bolster their starting pitching. Texas has proven all-star caliber pitchers Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish already. However, the depth behind those two pitchers is certainly not very good. The hope is that last year was just a down year for Cashner and that he can return to the consistent pitcher that he used to be. Just based on his past seasons I believe that Cashner can be a quality starting pitcher once again and he is certainly one of the best 3rd or 4th starters that you’ll find in any starting rotation. At least Texas is only giving Cashner a 1-year deal so that he has the incentive to prove himself before hitting free agency once again next year. Cashner might not be the same player that he was during his years with the Padres, yet the Rangers desperately needed starting pitcher and this is a signing that they needed to make.

Grade: B-