The Texas Rangers are in the midst of a magical season. While the future should remain their top priority, they certainly don’t want current strengths to go to waste.
It’s time to accept that the Texas Rangers are for real this year. Three games from the halfway point and they’re tied for a Wild Card spot, plus they’re still in shouting distance of the division — 6.5 games behind the Astros. The Rangers have given us many reasons to believe they are a playoff team in 2019.
The main reason? Their offense is deep, talented, relentless and dominant. Texas hitters have touched the plate 435 times this season, tied for 3rd most in MLB. They rank 5th in the American League in slugging percentage, 5th in OPS and 6th in OBP.
What’s most impressive is that the offense is producing at such a high level without being overly reliant on the long ball. In fact, they rank 15th in baseball with 109 team home runs.
Youth and experience have blended perfectly. 25-year-old Joey Gallo is experiencing a breakout year, and 24-year-old’s Nomar Mazara and Willie Calhoun have especially turned it on of late. Though, the veterans have found a way to steal much of the spotlight from the younglings.
Hunter Pence, age 36, has literally come out of nowhere to become the Texas Rangers’ top run producer. He is on the verge of making the American League All-Star team and earning MLB’s Comeback Player of the Year.
Danny Santana, 28, has earned every bit of the playing time he’s received. After stepping between the white lines of a major league park only 15 times in 2017, he’s already done so 54 times this year, and is hitting .309 with an .883 OPS.
Logan Forsythe has also been an outstanding offseason find. The 32-year-old has taken on a leadership role with the team while also helping all throughout the diamond. He’s been solid at the plate, providing timely hitting and sneaky pop.
The Rangers are on their way up. They already have a lot to build on for next season, but next season won’t include the trio of Pence, Santana and Forsythe. And the chances of them striking gold with three veteran signings in 2020 are close to zero percent. Heck, there’s even a small chance that Elvis Andrus won’t be back in 2020.
The future should remain atop the priority list. That said, the organization should not shrug its shoulders at the current offense. Texas’ one-through-nine, and bench, are playoff capable. Their offense has been overmatched by very few pitchers, and it has proved sustainable into late June.
If the Rangers have a reason to make a push towards the playoffs by being aggressive on the trade market, it’s to take advantage of their elite hitting. You could toss Mike Minor‘s name on the list of reasons as well, but there is something to be said about a team that is tied with the New York Yankees in runs scored, and ahead of the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros.
Texas doesn’t want to hit the brakes and allow the Red Sox to pass them by. They don’t want to watch the great offenses of the Yankees and Astros in the postseason while their great offense is preparing for the next season. They owe it to their hitters to make a playoff push, and the trade market may very well play a key role in ensuring that happens.