Who’s in CF for the Texas Rangers?
After trading the speedy centerfielder, Delino DeShields, in the off-season, there is a need for the Texas Rangers’ most important outfield position. There are plenty of bodies that could platoon their way into playing time including the front runner Danny Santana. He was “Mr. Do-it-all” in 2019. However, Santana is more valuable to the team when he can be slotted in whenever someone else needs a rest. So who’s next? Joey Gallo? Nick Solak? These guys are more suited for corner outfield positions and the infield.
That leaves us with two very intriguing younger options in Leody Taveras and Scott Heineman. Tavares has been one of the Rangers’ highest ranked prospects, and for good reason. He’s a speedster with crazy range and a solid arm, but he just hasn’t filled out his frame. Tavares may need another year in the minors to continue working on his offense.
So that leads us to Scott Heineman. He played more of a platoon role in 2019, which gave him valuable plate appearances. He struggled with the bat at times with a .213 average and .679 ops, but he has the most MLB experience at the start of spring training. Look for him to get plenty of action leading up to opening day.
Can the Texas Rangers’ newest pitchers stay healthy?
In a matter of a few weeks, the Rangers went from having a so-so starting 5 with many questions at the back end, to arguably one of the best rotations in all of baseball. Acquiring Corey Kluber, Jordan Lyles, and Kyle Gibson in addition to Mike Minor and Lance Lynn, has given this team a great rotation. That is, of course, if all 5 guys, especially the 3 newbies, can stay healthy.
Kluber is coming off an impressive 5 year stretch, but was derailed last season by oblique problems, and a freak accident that led to a fractured forearm. Since being shut down the majority of 2019, Kluber has built up his strength and close to 100%.
Next is Jordan Lyles, who had his share of elbow issues throughout the 2019 season. He did have a much better second half after coming back from these injuries, so the Rangers must make it a point to keep Lyles on a pitch count during Spring Training.
And finally, Kyle Gibson, who is coming off of something that most people have never even heard of called Ulcerative Colitis. He’s met with team doctors to help control the symptoms. The Rangers’ medical staff dealt with a similar situation with former reliever Jake Diekman. If all 5 starters can stay healthy for 25-28 starts, the team should have a vast improvement from the 2019 season.
Is this Rougned Odor’s last chance?
Let’s face it, the Rougned Odor has been a huge let down since he signed that multi-year extension in 2017. Mounting strikeout numbers, abysmal hitting metrics, and poor first half performances leave little to be desired when it comes to having Odor on the field. So is this his last chance?
I think The Rangers will have a very short leash on Rougned the first month or so of the season; especially now that Nick Solak is waiting in the wings. The young Solak took advantage of his playing time in 2019, and will only continue to get better. Rougned MUST have a strong start or his time as the Rangers’ starting 2B may be coming to an end.
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