The Texas Rangers in 2020: A year in review

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 23: Nick Solak #15 of the Texas Rangers reacts after being called out on strikes against Travis Bergen #47 of the Arizona Diamondbacks during the seventh inning at Chase Field on September 23, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 23: Nick Solak #15 of the Texas Rangers reacts after being called out on strikes against Travis Bergen #47 of the Arizona Diamondbacks during the seventh inning at Chase Field on September 23, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

This holiday season, we reflect on the 2020 Texas Rangers season, which was filled with many ups and downs.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: The year 2020 started out with a lot of hope and reason for optimism, only to turn into one of the worst years in recent memory.

Not only does that sentence describe this year for most of us, but its also an accurate description of the year that the Texas Rangers had.

To start the year off, there was legitimate reason to believe 2020 would be better than the last couple of years, with some thought that the Rangers could even push for a Wild Card spot.

With an expanded playoffs and a shortened season, why not?

Alas, the team would not even come close to achieving their goal of reaching the playoffs, among other things to fall short for Texas this past year.

What went wrong for the Texas Rangers in 2020?

Going into Spring Training back in February, the projected roster looked a lot better than it did in 2019.

Beginning with the starters, Texas brought back a solid one-two punch atop their rotation in Lance Lynn and Mike Minor.

Both veteran hurlers were coming off seasons in which they reached over 200 innings pitched and 200 strikeouts.

Minor was even an All-Star in 2019.

Filling in behind the two-headed monster of Lynn and Minor was then-newly acquired two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber.

Not bad for your #3 starter, eh?

To finish off the rotation, the Texas Rangers brought in veterans Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles.

Had all of these players turned in the type of season the Rangers expected them to have, we may have been talking about one of the top rotations in baseball.

Unfortunately, aside from the reliable Lance Lynn, that’s not what happened.

Mike Minor was bad. He was winless in seven starts for the Rangers and compiled a 5.60 ERA before being traded to Oakland at the trade deadline.

Corey Kluber’s highly anticipated Rangers debut lasted a total of 18 pitches and one inning. He was sidelined the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.

Gibson and Lyles didn’t quite have the same magical seasons as Lynn and Minor did in their first seasons with Texas.

These kind of “bargain bin” signings have produced mixed results for the Rangers in the past, but it’s safe to say neither of those guys produced the way the club would have liked them to in 2020.

What went right for the Texas Rangers in 2020?

As bad as the starting pitching was, the team’s bullpen was actually an area of strength for the Rangers in 2020.

While the Rangers lost closer Jose Leclerc to injury, they got breakout years from guys like Rafael Montero, Jonathan Hernandez, and Joely Rodriguez.

In fact, Montero was actually solid enough to be dealt to the division rival Seattle Mariners.

On the offensive side, the Rangers also had to be pretty satisfied with what they got.

At the start of 2020, looking at a potential lineup would be pretty encouraging.

The team was anticipating a healthy Joey Gallo coming off an All Star campaign in 2019.

2019 Rangers player of the year Danny Santana was back as well with an every day spot in center field.

Texas also had Willie Calhoun, who was rounding into shape and primed for a big year.

Newcomers Todd Frazier and Robinson Chirinos were added to the mix back at third base and behind the plate to provide some extra pop.

The Texas Rangers didn’t live up to expectations in 2020.

All in all, it appeared as though the Rangers were primed to be pretty good offensively in 2020 right? Wrong…

Texas was one of, if not the worst, offensive teams in the league in 2020.

They were second to last in batting average OBP, OPS, and runs per game.

The Rangers’ supposed “biggest” offensive additions, Chirinos and Frazier, were traded to the New York Mets in separate trades at the deadline.

Danny Santana had a horrible start and missed most of the year with an injury.

And Joey Gallo never quite found the same groove that he had in 2019. It was just an all around disappointment.

2020 Texas Rangers: Parting thoughts

You wouldn’t know it thus far, but it wasn’t quite all bad for Texas in 2020.

Some of the bright spots included Joey Gallo and Isiah Kiner-Falefa winning their first Gold Glove awards in right field and at third base, respectively.

There were also a few young players who figure to be key parts of the Rangers rebuild who made their debut and were impressive in short stints such as Leody Taveras, Sam Huff, and Kyle Cody.

Since the 2020 season ended, the Rangers have also been one of the most active teams this winter.

They traded Lance Lynn and Rafael Montero for legitimate assets.

They added the talented yet often injured David Dahl to solidify their outfield.

But perhaps the biggest splash they’ve made this off-season so far was the hiring of new GM Chris Young.

It’s yet to be seen what exactly the addition of Young means for the front office and how the baseball duties will be delegated, but having Young around certainly can’t hurt.

Most of us are ready to flip the calendar over to 2021, and the Texas Rangers are no exception to this sentiment.

Despite the awful year that the franchise had, however, there is reason to be excited about the future…