After an active off-season, the Texas Rangers are gearing up for spring training and an interesting cast on the Opening Day roster.
With all this turnover, what might the team’s Opening Day roster look like in just a few months?
Beginning with the position players, there will be plenty of competition for spots on the Opening Day roster.
I firmly believe that there is only one player locked into his position and that is Joey Gallo.
Aside for him, expect all the other roster spots to be up for grabs.
Looking at the outfielders, we can easily project an outfield of David Dahl, Leody Taveras, and Gallo in right, but it may not be that easy to determine.
In left field, you have to bank on David Dahl staying healthy, first and foremost.
If Dahl is healthy, pencil him in. If not, who takes his place?
Assuming that Willie Calhoun stays at designated hitter, Eli White could be the next guy in line, along with Delino DeShields.
Rougned Odor is also supposed to receive outfield reps, but we’ll get back to him later.
I would say that the outfield plays out with Dahl, Taveras and Gallo, but DeShields could easily come in and win the centerfield job, especially if the Texas Rangers believe that Taveras needs more time in the minors.
Moving on to the infield, we have wide-open competitions at third and first base, with second and shortstop almost locked in.
The Texas Rangers will have competitions for many positions in Spring Training.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Nick Solak have their positions to lose, but the corners are a different story.
At first, Ronald Guzman, coming off an incredible winter season that named him the MVP, will square off with newly-acquired Nate Lowe, who is looking for consistent playing time.
Both have been highly-regarded in the past, but only one will get the bulk of the time at first base.
I truly would love to see Ronald Guzman win it, but the Rangers gave up a few nice prospects for Lowe, so I believe the latter will win the job.
At third, Charlie Culberson is in camp on a minor league deal, while Sherten Apostel, Josh Jung and Davis Wendzel wait in the wings at the minor league level..
I think the Texas Rangers will go out and get a third baseman, though, possibly a Jake Lamb, for example.
That would leave Culberson and Odor battling for the super-utility roles.
Behind the plate, Jose Trevino has earned the right to start and will get his chance, assuming he stays healthy.
Jonah Heim, acquired in the Andrus-Davis deal, will also compete for the starting role.
If either Heim or Trevino get hurt or need more time in the minor leagues, the well-traveled Drew Butera would likely be next in line.
Here is how I see the Rangers lining up to begin the year.
C – Jose Trevino
1B – Nate Lowe
2B – Nick Solak
SS – Isiah Kiner-Falefa
3B – Jake Lamb
LF – David Dahl
CF – Leody Taveras
RF – Joey Gallo
DH – Willie Calhoun
That would leave Eli White, Jonah Heim, Ronald Guzman and Charlie Culberson on the bench.
On the pitching front, Kyle Gibson, Jordan Lyles, Kohei Arihara and Mike Foltynewicz are locked In to the rotation with one spot open.
Kyle Cody and Dane Dunning will get the first looks, but Taylor Hearn, Joe Palumbo, Wes Benjamin and Kolby Allard will all be fighting for that last spot.
Inevitably, I think that fifth spot goes to Dunning with Cody going back to the minor leagues.
Hearn will go into the bullpen, joining Jonathan Hernandez, Brett de Geus, Jimmy Herget, Brett Martin, Spencer Patton and Joely Rodriguez.
Here’s my prediction for the Rangers pitching staff.
RHP Kyle Gibson
RHP Jordan Lyles
RHP Kohei Arihara
RHP Mike Foltynewicz
RHP Dane Dunning
CL – Jonathan Hernandez
SU – Joely Rodriguez
SU – Spencer Patton
RP – Brett Martin
RP – Brett de Geus
RP – Taylor Hearn
RP – Jimmy Herget
Adolis Garcia and Joe Gatto will be DFA’d for Charlie Culberson and Spencer Patton, as well as Brock Burke being placed on the 60-day I.L. as a corresponding move to bring in newly-signed Mike Foltynewicz.
You may have also noticed that Jose Leclerc and Rougned Odor have been left off.
I believe that the Rangers will trade Leclerc within the next month and Rougned Odor will be cut at the end of Spring Training.
So, there you have it. Here is my way too early (and probably VERY wrong) prediction for the Texas Rangers 2021 Opening Day roster.