3 struggling Rangers players who have killed start to the 2024 season

Who's been dragging Texas down since the season began?
Texas Rangers pitcher José Leclerc
Texas Rangers pitcher José Leclerc / Tim Warner/GettyImages

Thanks in part to the Seattle Mariners' bats disappearing, the Los Angeles Angels' offseason disaster, the Houston Astros' horrific start, and the Oakland Athletics' rebuild, the Texas Rangers are sitting atop the AL West. But the Rangers don't have a lot to be proud of.

After winning the World Series last season, the expectations were heightened heading into 2024. While the Rangers may be in first place in the division, it's been a rough start and there are some obvious reasons why.

Injuries have been a major issue for Bruce Bochy's ball club at the outset, but poor performances from some otherwise dependable players have also led to Texas not getting out to a comfortable lead in the race for an AL West title. It's time for some of these guys to see their performances normalize.

3 struggling Rangers players who have killed start to the 2024 season

Evan Carter, Rangers OF

Missing Justin Foscue and Josh Jung has hurt the Rangers hitting, but Carter's disappearing act hasn't helped either. It's hard to come down too hard on a player who's technically still just a rookie, but after the performance that Carter showed during the playoffs in 2023, Rangers fans were expecting much more.

Despite his relatively low batting average, Carter has done a solid job of keeping his on-base percentage close to league-average thanks to his keen eye and high walk rate. But the power is nowhere to be found. Rangers fans were expecting an encore act from last year's postseason surprise, but Carter has not lived up to expectations quite yet.

Jose Leclerc, Rangers RHP

Leclerc has almost as many walks as Jon Gray and Dane Dunning. There' just one problem -- both Gray and Dunning have thrown more twice the number of innings. Leclerc has been a disaster this season, and Bochy rightfully moved the reliever out of the closer's role.

Leclerc's issues arose during the playoffs last season, and the Rangers thought they could roll into 2024 as if nothing was wrong. That hasn't been the case in the early going, and Bochy is now trying to figure out how to salvage the Rangers' bullpen. Look for a combination for David Robertson and Kirby Yates to be locking down the ninth inning from here on out because Leclerc cannot be trusted.

Andrew Heaney, Rangers LHP

As good as Cody Bradford was before landing on the IL, Heaney has been equally as bad. Heaney's pitch efficiency has been horrendous during the early going, and handing the game over to the Rangers' bullpen before logging at least five inning of work is always going to be an adventure. Heaney has yet to give Bochy a quality start this season.

Injuries have forced the Rangers to keep Heaney in the rotation for the time being, but with the addition of Michael Lorenzen, the promotion (then demotion) of Jack Leiter, and the accelerated return of Max Scherzer, one has to wonder what the future holds for the Rangers' southpaw. Jacob Latz is the only left-hander in the Rangers bullpen, so that could be an option down the line.

With so many injuries befalling the Rangers rotation at the start of the 2024 campaign, Bochy really needed to get better performances from Heaney at the outset. That hasn't happened, and it's contributed Texas' less than ideal start to the season.

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