Who’s excited for the return of Texas Rangers baseball in 2020?! The world is in the midst of a global pandemic the likes of which our generation has never witnessed. We are living in strange times no doubt. Nevertheless, a season opener awaits us, so let’s start this again.
So where does baseball and our beloved Rangers fit into all of this mess? You most likely fit into one of two categories.
You are either a fanatical baseball nut who has felt hopeless and lost without our great game in your life. You’ll do absolutely anything to see our boys out on Globe Life Field no matter what.
The other choice is, you feel a little more affected by what’s going on around you. Sports has taken somewhat of a backseat to all of the other pressing issues in your new life. This was thrust upon you unwittingly. You feel that even when (if) this newly formatted season does commence, it simply won’t be the same.
I, myself, fall somewhere within the blurry lines of the middle here. Of course I miss baseball. Of course I miss watching Texas Rangers baseball. I am excited for the possibility of a start to some sense of competition. However it isn’t the same excitement that I normally feel in the run up to an official Opening Day in March. In any case, let’s hope that all of the players can remain safe and healthy. Let’s assume that this new style of 2020 baseball does go ahead – let’s take a look at what to expect.
We should all remember how impressive Isiah Kiner-Falefa was at the start of the original 2020 pre-season. You can find my previous article here. We are all hoping he is able to find a way to stay with that positive momentum. Rougned Odor holds a respectable .355/.394/.645/1.039 (11-31) with two HRs and 9 RBIs during this spring. Elvis Andrus batted .333 (6-18) during his nine games. Joey Gallo and Todd Frazier showed positive signs too, and Matt Duffy is another player who gives us some hope if he continues to improve.
First off, let’s take an important look at how our Rangers will be matched up against. The Rangers are still a part of the AL West, but the difference here is that Texas will be designated to the newly formed schedule. They will be playing all of our games against only our division rivals and those within the NL West. They shall see no other games against teams outside of the West within the Regular Season. The focus is going to be on the standard division rivals, along with the difficult task of dealing with the Dodgers. In addition: the D-backs, Giants, Rockies and Padres.
With some aging but fantastic pitchers on the roster, I don’t really see how the new 60-game season doesn’t bode well for the Rangers. Getting the most out of the guys on the mound should be easier than ever.
Robinson Chirinos is the main man at the catcher’s spot. He is dealing with a slight ankle sprain, but all reports suggest he will be good to go when the season begins. At first, fecond, SS and third Base – we can safely assume that Texas will line up with Frazier, Odor, Andrus and the recently impressive Isiah Kiner-Falefa to start in the infield, respectively.
In the outfield fansb should be seeing Willie Calhoun, Danny Santana, Joey Gallo (COVID-19 3rd test permitting) and Scotty Heinemann. I’m looking forward to seeing Solak prove his worth and it looks like he’ll get his chance at LF due to Calhoun’s hip injury. Leody Taveras is another name who’ll hopefully step up and show that he’s worthy of the hype. The ever-reliable Shin-Soo Choo will stay at DH. Choo is a class act, and it was refreshing to see him put up his own paper to help out the Minor League players when all of this mess began.
It should be an easy pick to assume that the rotation will read: Lance Lynn, Mike Minor, Corey Kluber, Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles. The bullpen is a little less obvious. As MLB.com recently pointed out, the inexperienced Jonathan Hernández is looking to hold an unexpected, yet important, role in this mix. His 98 mph sinker is looking dangerous to say the least. He is the Rangers #25 prospect according to MLB Pipeline. With a few injuries to assess, some others to keep an eye on are Ian Gibaut, along with vets Cody Allen, Luis García, Juan Nicasio and Edinson Vólquez.
We will soon see how this all plays out. Both the 2020 season in general, and more importantly, how the Rangers go about their business during these trying times. No matter where you fall within the two categories previously mentioned, I’m sure we will all be glued to the TV. Maybe even looking out for the cardboard version of yourself in the stands if you forked out the fifty bucks! When our beloved Rangers take the field, it’s going to be interesting in any case. I am looking forward to the possibility of finally seeing the guys in action in the brand new Globe Life Field stadium.
I guess you could say that I’m excited for the return of Texas baseball.
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