April 5, 2020

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Texas Rangers 2020 Season Preview, Roster Breakdown and Prediction

By Jay Patel

Texas comes into 2020 with eyes on a playoff appearance. They haven’t made it to the postseason since 2016, and have been trying to create a roster that can bring them back to success. Last season, the Rangers were among the average teams in baseball, but made some impressive moves to shore up the rotation.

2019 Recap:

Record: 78-84

Team MVP: Danny Santana

Team CY Young: Mike Minor

Team Most Improved: Danny Santana

Offseason Grade: B. The Rangers aren’t expected to win a tough AL West, but they made moves to make themselves more competitive than last year. The main story this off-season was the retool in the starting rotation. With Mike Minor and Lance Lynn, the Rangers already had a solid 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation. That didn’t stop Texas from making a trade for 2x CY Young Award winner Corey Kluber from the Cleveland Indians. Additionally, it only cost them an expendable outfielder (Delino DeShields) and a decent bullpen piece (Emmanuel Clase). Texas didn’t stop there, as they added the 4th and 5th rotation pieces in Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles. Moreover, 3B was a big need for the team, and they addressed it by signing Todd Frazier. It’s not splashy, but it’s a solid addition. Overall, the Rangers didn’t make a splash, but they got the right pieces for the right price to possibly take a step forward in 2020.

Projected Lineup:

C – Robinson Chirinos

1B – Ronald Guzman

2B – Rougned Odor

SS – Elvis Andrus

3B – Todd Frazier

LF – Willie Calhoun

CF – Danny Santana

RF – Joey Gallo

Bench:

 C – Jeff Mathis

INF/OF – Nick Solak

INF – Isiah Kiner-Falefa

OF – Scott Heineman

Starting Rotation:

  1. Mike Minor
  2. Lance Lynn
  3. Corey Kluber
  4. Kyle Gibson
  5. Jordan Lyles

Bullpen:

CL – Jose Leclerc

Rafael Montero

Jesse Chavez

Nick Goody

Joely Rodriguez

Luke Farrell

Brett Martin

Cody Allen

Roster Analysis & Key Players to Watch:

The Rangers starting rotation is their biggest strength. The rotation features above-average to solid option all the way down, and they have young options as well in the minors such as Kolby Allard. There’s some bullpen openings, but most of the competition will be figured out, and veterans such as Cody Allen could earn a spot. For the offense, the bench could use some work, but the Rangers have power hitters in their lineup such as Joey Gallo (22 homers in 2019), Rougned Odor (led team with 30 homers in 2019), and Danny Santana (28 homers in 2019).

Danny Santana: At 29, Santana enjoyed a breakout season with the Rangers, batting .283 with 28 homers and 81 RBIs. He’s played for the Twins and Braves before joining Texas in 2019, and showed out in a big way for his new team. Santana will have to prove last season was no fluke because he was one of the best players on the offense. His success this season will be huge for the Rangers, and for the power of this lineup.

Mike Minor & Lance Lynn: Minor and Lynn become the dynamic 1-2 punch of the Rangers rotation after signing free agent deals last season. The Rangers added three more solid options to take the load off of them. Lynn and Minor pitched 208.1 innings each last season, the most of the team. Lynn led the team with 16 wins and 246 strikeouts while Minor led the team with a 3.59 ERA. Furthermore, both of them started over 30 games last season, so health was not a concern. They’ll have to once again perform at a high level, which is pivotal for the Rangers success this season.

Jose Leclerc: 26-year old Jose Leclerc is slated to begin the season as the team’s closer. Last season was a bit of a letdown for the young kid, pitching to a 4.33 ERA in 68.2 innings. He converted 14 saves, but blew four. His 100 strikeout to 39 walks is a solid ratio, so he has strikeout stuff. With the rest of the Rangers bullpen filled with question marks, Leclerc will need to be lockdown when given the ball.

The Farm System:

The Rangers farm system is filled with high-ceiling prospects. Two rank among the top 100 in 3B Josh Jung (55th) and C Sam Huff (74th). Development setbacks have pushed Rangers prospects away contributing at the big league level. However, there’s enough talent for this system to start contributing very soon.

Season Projection and Prediction: In the AL West, there’s going to be stiff competition with the Astros, Athletics, and an improved Angels club. The Rangers made several solid additions to improve some weaknesses on the roster. However, it will be tough to win this division, or even compete for a Wild Card spot with the competition in the AL. At best, the Rangers are fringe Wild Card contenders, but that could be a reach. Texas has improved, but without solid depth on the bench or bullpen, the Rangers will face another season without making the playoffs.