It’s no secret that the Texas Rangers will enter the 2021 season in the midst of a full-scale rebuild.
By trading the majority of their most valuable big league assets this off-season (Joey Gallo and Jose Leclerc being the two exceptions for now), GM Chris Young and President of Baseball Ops Jon Daniels have placed a priority on the future.
And while more wheeling and dealing is in the cards for Texas this season, so too is the beginning of the process that will determine which current Rangers have a case to serve as bridges to the next great baseball core in Arlington.
With that in mind, here are three players who we believe have the most to prove heading into 2021 and beyond.
Texas Rangers 2021 make or break candidate: Willie Calhoun
Willie Calhoun was the prized part of the return that the Texas Rangers received in exchange for trading Yu Darvish to the LA Dodgers in 2017.
An outfielder by trade, Calhoun spent most of 2020 at DH, where his production was rather paltry (.491 OPS and just one home run in 100 at-bats).
Should that outfield configuration occur without issue, Calhoun will likely be subjected to DH duties again in 2021.
The good news is that in the last full season played (2019), Calhoun had his best offensive year, posting career highs in home runs (21), at-bats (309), RBIs (48), OPS (.848) and OPS+ (110).
If the Vallejo, California native has any intention of retaining his role on the Texas Rangers in 2021 and going forward, it will be imperative for him to put up similar numbers this season.
Fortunately, he appears to be putting in the effort to reach that goal.