Nolan Writin’ Staff Rangers Season Projections

May 16, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus (1) celebrates with his team during the game against the Cleveland Indians at Globe Life Park in Arlington. The Indians defeated the Rangers 10-8. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
May 16, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus (1) celebrates with his team during the game against the Cleveland Indians at Globe Life Park in Arlington. The Indians defeated the Rangers 10-8. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
2 of 4
Next
Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /

Rangers Mix Veteran Leadership and Young Talent For Big Season

by Reagan Brown, Staff Writer

Outlook

The Texas Rangers will be looking to repeat as American League West champions in 2016. It won’t be easy, however. The Astros have an uber-talented young squad, and now will have one more year under their belts. Not only that, but the Mariners are also improved from last year. The M’s always seem to underachieve, so let’s hope that that streak doesn’t end now. The Angels are pretty much up in the air. They could end up winning 90 games with Mike Trout and company, or they can flop due to their core getting old (see Pujols, Albert). The A’s are, well, the A’s. Logic says they win 65 games this season, but with Billy Beane behind the scenes, who knows what could happen between now and September. On to the projections:

Biggest Surprise

The Rangers’ biggest surprise player of the 2016 season will be Matt Bush. With the velocity and deception he possesses as a pitcher, I think he’ll get called up to the club around May to early June. I think he’ll eventually become another set up man, and perhaps move into the Closer’s role. I also believe there won’t be a “set” closer this season, instead having guys like Sam Dyson, Tom Wilhelmson, Shawn Tolleson, Keone Kela, and Jake Diekman get save opportunities whenever Jeff Banister sees fit.

Biggest Let Down

Shawn Tolleson. I love the guy, but he just doesn’t seem like he’ll be able to repeat what he did last season. He was overworked last year, and showed significant decline going into the final couple weeks of the season. It might’ve just been me, but I didn’t have much confidence in him. Every time he came into a save situation, I was extremely nervous about him blowing it. This isn’t something you want to feel when your closer comes in. He has average deception as a pitcher, and he’s only able to throw about 95. By about May, I think his ERA will be bloated to about 4.50, and he will be subsequently moved down in the order for bullpen arms.

Top Pitcher

To hopefully no one’s surprise, the top pitcher in 2016 will be Cole Hamels. He’s one of the most consistent pitcher in the MLB, and with a full offseason with the Rangers, he should be a lot more acclimated than he was last summer. His final stat line:

Record – 18 – 7

ERA– 3.13

SO – 190

Team MVP

This season, the team MVP will be Ian Desmond. Desmond will have a career year this year, regaining value as a free agent going into 2017. He will eventually become the starting center fielder, moving Delino DeShields to left. This will be mostly due to Desmond’s much better arm, and preparing DDS for Lewis Brinson moving into the everyday center fielder’s role in 2017. Desmond’s final stats:

BA – .272

HR – 25

RBI – 102

Runs– 97

OBP – .320

BB – 55

Final Record

94-68 (1st in AL West)

AL West Standings

  1. Texas Rangers: 94-68
  2. Houston Astros: 90-72
  3. Seattle Mariners: 85-77
  4. Los Angeles Angels: 80-82
  5. Oakland Athletics: 73-89

Playoff Projection

The Rangers, winning the West, will already be in the ALDS. I project they beat the Boston Red Sox in the best of 5 series 4-1. In the American League Championship Series, I project that the Rangers will sweep the Toronto Blue Jays 4-0, going to their first World Series since 2011. In the World Series, the Rangers will lose to the Chicago Cubs 4-2, allowing the Cubs to break the curse after 100+ years.

Final Take

This year looks to be a great year for the Texas Rangers. They will get Yu Darvish my mid-May, creating perhaps the best 1-2 starting pitching rotations in all of baseball. The bullpen looks mighty fine, which is not something you could say going into the 2015 season. Their lineup won’t lead the league in offense, but will be a top 5 offense if their guys can perform to their career averages. The enigma is Josh Hamilton. Reports say he is working at first base, which could help with his ongoing knee issues when he plays on the grass in the outfield. The Rangers will once again take advantage of the Astros’ youth, capturing the AL West crown for the fourth time in the last seven years. They’ll make it to the World Series, but will be knocked out by another youth infused team. Let’s hope I’m wrong on that one.

facebooktwitterreddit