It’s been a rollercoaster of a year for the Texas Rangers, but one of the best parts of any MLB season, regardless of your team’s record, is that every July we come together and celebrate the best that baseball has to offer for some All-Star festivities.
There’s plenty of guys on the roster who have already staked their claim to an All-Star campaign. Adolis Garcia and Isiah Kiner-Falefa are surefire candidates who have, more often than not, been the reason the Rangers get any national attention in the baseball world. Or, at least, those are the guys who best represent the higher joys of the first half of this Rangers season.
An unfortunate part of All-Star voting lies in that there will always be players, year after year, who deserve a bit more credit for their performance. If the Rangers send anyone to Denver, it’s probably going to come down to Garcia or Kiner-Falefa due to how stacked the talent in the American League is this year.
Let’s take a look at a few dark horse candidates who might not get the nod, but haven’t been written off yet.
1. Ian Kennedy
Despite his strong numbers, will the Texas Rangers’ closer make it to Denver?
Ian Kennedy has turned a lot of heads in 2021, not just in Arlington. As of June 9, he ranks fourth in the American League in saves recorded with 12 (in 13 opportunities), and after a 2020 campaign that saw him surrender 14 runs in as many innings pitched while dealing with injury issues, he’s bounced back as well as anyone could’ve hoped – especially for a Texas squad that is missing its most dominant reliever in Jose Leclerc for the entire year.
Realistically, Kennedy’s WHIP and opposing batting average numbers will most likely keep him out of the midsummer classic, and it’s a bummer because he’s been a delight to watch out of the pen so far in 2021. The 36 year old has clearly found a comfort zone in his relief role since the Royals positioned him there in 2019.
The veteran is only signed through the end of this year and I expect him to be moved sometime around the deadline, but he’s been one of the Rangers more stable arms on the mound all season and deserves the credit for it. Though he recently got placed on the retroactive injured list, he should be able to get enough appearances and ride his hot hand – literally – for another month or so to warrant an All-Star selection.