Sam Dyson (R, 3-2 W/L, 2.43 ERA, 38 SV) moved into the closer role last year partway through the season and was successful. He’s the fourth closer the Rangers have had in four seasons. He’s got a 90 mph sinker and an elusive changeup. Matt Bush (R, 7-2 W/L, 2.48 ERA) could move into that spot if Dyson is ineffective. Bush can throw up to 100 mph. Expect Tony Barnette (R, 7-3 W/L, 2.09 ERA) to provide sound middle relief while Jeremy Jeffress (R, 1-0 W/L, 2.70 ERA), with his good stuff, is expected to find a niche. Also providing sound relief last season was the dependable Alec Claudio (L, 4-1 W/L, 2.79 ERA). There’s more depth in the bullpen than we’ve mentioned.
Hitting and Fielding
In the outfield, Shin-Soo Choo (.242 BA, 7 HR, 17 RBI) dealt with various injuries last year. Normally he’s in left, but he may be moved to right after Nomar Mazara’s (.266 BA, 20 HR, 64 RBI) successful rookie season in left. It’s true that Mazara was hot and cold at the plate, but when he was good, he was very good. He’s a solid fielder. If Choo can stay healthy, he can be a major offensive force. Ian Desmond left for a lucrative contract with Colorado, which pushed the Rangers to find a one-year, $11.5 million solution for their hole on center field. That solution is Carlos Gomez (.284 BA, 8 HR, 24 RBI). Gomez had been jettisoned in August by the Astros, but the fact is he’s a solid player.
Coaching and Management
GM Jon Daniels and manager Jeff Banister can certainly deal with fluctuations and changing situations. Since July 2015, Daniels had made trades that involve 16 pitchers and 27 players in total. The problem for the GM is the Texas farm system, which is under-stocked. In the past two seasons, Banister has proven to be an excellent late-season coach. He’s done a fine job handling changes, injuries, the bullpen, and bench.
2017 Texas Rangers Preview Final Word
Our 2017 Texas Rangers preview final word notes that the Rangers have some fine hitters and sound pitchers. Injuries will really hamper this team, which doesn’t have much to pull from in the minors. Still Banister is a cool-headed and smart coach who handles adversity well. Daniels is ready and willing to find the guys necessary to win. The Rangers will give the Astros a run for their money. We see them as a close second in the AL West.