If you look back over the last few World Series winners, there are several things that you will see they all had in common. Great starting pitching and bull pens, an offensive that was good situational as well as could mash the ball from time to time, a mixture of young talent and veteran leadership, and a good bit of luck. So how many of these qualities do the Rangers have going into the 2014 season, and what can they do to get the ones that they are missing? In the case of luck, there is not a lot that can be done, that is one category that it is really tough to manufacture, you either have it for the season or you don’t. So lets take a look at the other factors.
When it comes to having an ace on the pitching staff, I think few will argue against the Rangers having that. Yu Darvish has been solid and dependable since joining the Texas Rangers in 2012. Darvish is 29-18 with a 3.34 ERA since joining the Rangers, and his WAR in 2013 was 5.8. We all need to remember that he lost three 1-0 games, and those are games that he will most likely win this season with the Rangers revamped offense. I am very happy with the Rangers number one guy, but after him, unfortunately because of the Derek Holland injury and the unknown of pitchers like Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis, it looks shaky. IF Matt can return to his former self, he will be very good, and IF Alexi Ogando can stay healthy for a whole season, he will be very good, and IF Martin Perez does not go through a sophomore slump, he should give the Rangers 12-15 wins and IF Colby Lewis even makes the big club, he is not exactly ace material. That is where the afore-mentioned luck comes into play.
As far as leadership on the offense goes, I believe that Adrian Beltre has that covered. He appears to be the team leader at the moment, on the Hague Sports Podcast on Blog Talk Radio Rangers radio play by-play man Eric Nadel seemed to agree with me. “I think it’s unquestionably Beltre, I think it’s his team right now, and I don’t think anyone would suggest it’s anybody else” Nadel said. He went on to call Beltre the heart and soul of the team and reminded me that he was the guy who carried the offense last season. I expect Beltre to really be able to have an even better offensive season in 2014 because he will have better bats around him. And speaking of that, I expect the Rangers offense to be better this season. I expect more walks from Choo and to Prince Fielder, I expect more home runs from Fielder and Beltre, and I expect the speed of Elvis Andrus and Leonys Martin to help. And of course a little more of that luck.
If Neftali Feliz can return to anywhere close to his former self, the Rangers are set up to have one of the best bull pens in the American League, and this is the one area I worry about the least. The arms out there are good, they all have some experience now, and the Rangers have three possible closers in the mix, who should all be late innings solid relievers. Besides Soria and Scheppers, the Rangers also have Neal Cotts, Robbie Ross and Jason Frasor just to name a few. I look forward to watching the pen pitch in 2014.
So do the Rangers have what it takes? With a little luck, I believe they are close. With a lot of luck in that starting rotation, I am sure of it.