2016 Fantasy Baseball: Texas Rangers Team Preview
2015 Quick Overview
The Texas Rangers surprised everyone when they went from last place in 2014 to edge the Houston Astros by two games in the 2015 standings. Despite a seemingly mediocre 88-74 record, the Rangers came within one game of advancing to the ALCS. They took a two games to none lead against the Blue Jays and lost three consecutive games to close out the season. Still, there is reason to believe that the future is bright for the Rangers.
2016 Projected Lineup
SS Elvis Andrus
2B Rougned Odor
The strength of the Rangers is in the depth of their offense. Their home ballpark is arguably the best hitter’s park in the American League, so anyone coming should enjoy better numbers. For you, there will be no major additions to their lineup, so what you see is pretty much what you get. In terms of fantasy value, the beginning usually starts with Adrian Beltre and Prince Fielder.
Both hitters are usually good bets to drive in close to 100 runs, but both players showed some signs of wear last season. Fielder hit for a very healthy average last season, but his power has been eroding steadily since he was in Milwaukee. Beltre came on very strong in the second half, but overall his numbers weren’t as good as they have been. He is in the last year of his contract, so he could become a trade candidate if the Rangers are out of the race.
Shin-Soo Choo is a favorite for seamheads, but he won’t be a tremendous asset unless your league includes an on base element (walks or OBP). If you play in one of those six category leagues, then Choo becomes even more valuable than Fielder. Rougned Odor and Elvis Andrus are middle of the road middle infield fantasy prospects. If Odor’s power continues to develop, he could evolve into one of the better second basemen in fantasy baseball.
2016 Projected Starting Rotation
The Rangers have two starting pitchers really worth your time. Cole Hamels showed he could handle the load after his July 31st trade to the Rangers. His numbers will take somewhat of a hit in that ballpark, but he also will have better defense and more run support behind him. It’s hard to imagine too many pitchers winning 20 games these days, but he has as good a chance as any pitcher in the league.
Yu Darvish is the other name you should keep tabs on. He is projected to begin to start the season on the disabled list, but once he’s back he should be close to what he was before. Derek Holland and Colby Lewis are bottom of the rotation candidates for most fantasy owners. They may even slip through your whole draft, so you shouldn’t go hog wild adding them.
2016 Projected Bullpen
SU Keone Kela
MR Jake Diekman
MR Sam Dyson
MR Sam Freeman
For players in five category leagues, the closer is only pitcher that matters. Shawn Tolleson seemed to be solid last season, so there is no reason to believe that he won’t be solid again. That being said, they traded Leonys Martin to the Mariners to get Tom Wilhelmsen because he also has closer experience. That being said, Keone Kela is better than both of them and could be a very valuable pitcher in leagues that include holds.
The Rangers made a habit of investing heavily on international prospects and Jurickson Profar is still the prize of that stack. Profar should have been a full time big leaguer by now, but he has been hurt the past two seasons. Once he proves he is healthy and effective he likely will force the Rangers to trade Andrus. That could happen by mid-season.
The same will be true for Joey Gallo. He is scheduled to become the everyday third baseman in 2017, but he could force the issue in Spring Training. If that happens, the Rangers will likely put him in left field and supplant Hamilton. Gallo has huge power potential and has already flashed that at the big league level.
There are a few others that have already made their debuts and aren’t officially rookies. Chi Chi Gonzalez and Tanner Scheppers were fixtures on the pitching staff last year, but with Darvish returning to health and the acquisition of Wilhelmsen, they simply could not fit. If injuries or ineffectiveness hit the pitching staff, they will be the first additions.