Comparing 2024 Rangers returning starters' stats to this time last year

Texas Rangers v Los Angeles Dodgers
Texas Rangers v Los Angeles Dodgers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

It feels like a broken record to say at this point, but the 2024 Texas Rangers are struggling and look like a shell of the championship team fans saw last year. The starting rotation has taken some major hits and has yet to be anywhere close to full strength so far this season. On the flip side, the offensive production from last year largely returned and has been available (hough they are not producing near the same level as 2023).

As for the offense, Captain Marcus Semien is slashing .258/.323/.438 this year with 11 home runs and 37 RBI. Through the first 66 games last year, Semien was slashing .284/.350/.468 with nine home runs and 51 RBI. Home runs are the one stat he's been better in so far, though the only number that is significantly different is his RBI. That could be explained by a lineup that has been much worse overall and is not giving him as much opportunity to drive in runs. Semien has largely been the consistent player he is known to be.

Superstar Corey Seager was slashing .271/.360/.472 through game No. 62 this year before going down for a few games with 13 homers and 30 RBI. He was slashing .325/.381/.569 through 62 games last year with six home runs and 29 RBI. Corey has slowly come back to form from his hernia surgery and, though the averages are lower, he's actually blowing away his home run pace from 2023. He was certainly slow to start, but it's just as certain that Seager has now regained his form and the averages should continue to creep up.

Of the returning offensive starters, those are unfortunately the only two positive cases. Adolis Garcia has only a .690 OPS compared to .828 this time last year. He's down in homers and RBI too: 13 and 40 this year compared to 15 and 52 last year through 66 games. Nathaniel Lowe's OPS is down to .707 this year after being at .791 through 66 games last year. He also only has two homers and 19 RBI so far compared to seven homers and 37 RBI through this time last year (though he was slowed by an injury).

The next two are struggling worse than all. Jonah Heim has a .637 OPS this season while he had a .788 OPS through this time last season, over 150 points higher. He has six home runs and 31 RBI so far this season, while he had seven homers and 46 RBI through this point last year. Leody Taveras, although never a huge contributor in terms of home runs or RBI, has also been quite a bit worse so far this season. He has a rough .626 OPS this year while he was over 200 points higher through 66 games last year at .835.

The Rangers have nearly an entire quality starting staff on the IL but we can take a look at the pitchers who are currently healthy and pitched for the champs last year to get an idea for the production they have returned. The starting rotation is actually largely similar to most of last year, as Jacob deGrom went down early and Jordan Montgomery and Max Scherzer were both trade deadline additions.

Nathan Eovaldi has largely served as the staff ace for the last two seasons and he has done a great job. Through 10 starts, Eovaldi has a 2.68 ERA with a 58/20 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Through 10 starts last season, Eovaldi had a 2.60 ERA with a 66/11 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Eovaldi was striking out a few more batters and walking a few less last season, but as the ERA shows his ability to limit runs has remained almost the same.

Jon Gray has made 12 starts so far this season and he's had a similarly hot start to last year. Notably most of Gray's struggles came late in the season last year. So far Gray has a 2.12 ERA with a 60/18 strikeout-to-walk ratio after having a 2.32 ERA with a 63/20 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his first 12 starts last season. Just like Eovaldi, Gray has provided a steady, quality presence in the rotation to start both 2023 and 2024.

Andrew Heaney has also been right in line with who he was to start 2023 as well. Through 12 starts for Heaney this season, he has a 4.06 ERA with a 58/15 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He had a 4.14 ERA through 12 stars last year with a 65/27 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Dane Dunning is the one starter who has struggled compared to this point last year. He has a 4.80 ERA through 11 starts this season after having a 1.69 ERA through 11 last year. Interestingly, Dunning has seen a severe jump in strikeouts and walks with a ratio of 59/26 after a 32/11 figure through this point last season.

The bullpen looks quite a bit different in terms of personnel compared to 2023. But it's been similarly unpredictable at times although more secure in the later innings of close games than last year. The bullpen has not made a significant difference, positive or negative, in determining the outcome of games compared to last year.

With the whole team in view it seems to be very clear that the lack of offense largely explains the Rangers' struggles. In other words, the stats do in fact back up what has been pretty obvious to Ranger fans.

The Rangers will need a few guys to break out of severe slumps or to trade for a bat or two to start producing at the level that's needed. Something has to improve with the offense to get the defending champs back in the hunt this season.