Projecting the Texas Rangers’ batting lineup entering 2019

SURPRISE, AZ - MARCH 05: Rougned Odor #12 of the Texas Rangers bats against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning of the spring training game at Surprise Stadium on March 5, 2018 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
SURPRISE, AZ - MARCH 05: Rougned Odor #12 of the Texas Rangers bats against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning of the spring training game at Surprise Stadium on March 5, 2018 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

We take a look at the Texas Rangers’ offense and predict how the lineup will be constructed come the start of the regular season.

Who knows what the next three months will bring as far as trades, signings and injuries go. A little and a lot can change, that’s why projections are always risky. But, they’re fun, so we’ll take what we have on December 31st and project the Texas Rangers’ lineup on March 28th of 2019.

First, let’s determine which Rangers start where…

Catcher: Isiah Kiner-Falefa

First base: Ronald Guzman

Second base: Rougned Odor

Third Base: Patrick Wisdom

Shortstop: Elvis Andrus

Left field: Joey Gallo

Center field: Delino DeShields

Right field: Nomar Mazara

Designated hitter: Shin-Soo Choo

No real surprises there I wouldn’t think. Third base and center field assignments could change, but the rest are practically guaranteed as long as no one gets hurt. DeShields is always viewed favorably by the club; CF should be his position to lose entering camp. Though, views can change, especially with a new manager at the helm.

Third base is a crap shoot at this point. The Texas Rangers don’t really know what to expect from any internal candidates. They’ll have to see what Patrick Wisdom, Nolan Fontana, and Jack Reinheimer have to offer this spring. Externally, they’ve entertained Josh Harrison as a possible free agent signing at the hot corner. No other candidates have surfaced.

Projected Lineup

  1. Shin-Soo Choo
  2. Elvis Andrus
  3. Rougned Odor
  4. Nomar Mazara
  5. Joey Gallo
  6.  Isiah Kiner-Falefa
  7.  Ronald Guzman
  8. Patrick Wisdom
  9. Delino DeShields
Texas Rangers
SEATTLE, WA – MAY 16: Delino DeShields #3 of the Texas Rangers hits a single to drive in Isiah Kiner-Falefa #9 to take the lead over the Seattle Mariners in the eighth inning at Safeco Field on May 16, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images) /

Dissecting 1-3 in the lineup

As he has for most of his 14-year career, Choo will begin the season batting leadoff. The 36-year-old is coming off a very solid season. He posted a .377 OBP in 2018, a mark which led the team by a mile. He gets on base at a high rate and provides consistent pop from the top.

Andrus is a prototypical second place hitter. He hits for good contact, reaches base often, and has the ability to execute the odd jobs, whether it be laying down a sac bunt or pushing the ball to the right side on a hit and run. He could be viewed as a three-hole hitter as well; however, he’ll need to flex his muscles more often, kind of like he did in ’18 with his 20 home runs.

I’m giving Odor a ton of props slotting him third. Does he deserve such a slot? Probably not, but maybe he can put it all together in 2019. If he can keep the strikeout totals from piling up, he could be a very good third place hitter. Odor will be protected by the Rangers’ best hitter in Nomar Mazara; therefore, he should get some pitches to hit.

Dissecting 4-6

Mazara is certainly one of Texas’ better RBI guys. He drove in over 100 runs in 2017 and 77 in ’18, playing only 128 games. He’s yet to truly breakout his boomstick, notching 20 four-baggers in each of his three big league seasons. Perhaps the upcoming season will see Maz drive the ball out of the ballpark more frequently.

A player that drives the ball out of the park very frequently is Joey Gallo. The slugger will be in prime position to drive runners home hitting fifth in the lineup. He’s too inconsistent to trust in the top four as of now; thus, a spot just outside the top four seems fitting.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa is needed to breakup a long string of left-handed hitters. He’ll do so by hitting in front of Ronald Guzman. IKF will also wedge between two high-strikeout hitters with his contact bat.

Dissecting 7-9

Guzman had a nice rookie season, but he’s still a ways away from earning a spot in the top half of the lineup. Sophomore seasons are always challenging; he and Kiner-Falefa will need to prove they can improve on their rookie campaigns. Batting 7th, the big lefty bat will give Texas some good pop at the bottom of the lineup.

Patrick Wisdom had a quality stint with the St. Louis Cardinals last year in his rookie season. Over 32 games, he hit .260 with a .362 OBP and an .882 OPS. He’s 27 years old and stands at 6’2”, 220 lbs. He gives the Rangers a right-handed bat with some power.

Next. Where does the Rangers' rotation currently stand?. dark

DeShields’ blazing speed makes him a great leadoff candidate, but the Texas Rangers have tried that many times, and it hasn’t worked well most of the time. He produces little power and swings an inconsistent bat. Thus, Texas would be wise to minimize his at-bats by placing him at the bottom of the lineup. His speed out of the nine-hole will be vital, however, as the lineup turns to the top.