2017 Fantasy Baseball: Texas Rangers Team Preview
Of all the teams we have overviewed to this point, this team seems unfinished. They are on the hunt for more pitching and the reunion with Mike Napoli seems more obvious than any in the sport. Yet, here we are doing the dance waiting for eyes to lock. For time being we are going to have to assume that he isn’t there until things get official.
CF Carlos Gomez
2B Rougned Odor
LF Nomar Mazara
SS Elvis Andrus
DH Joey Gallo
Projected Starting Rotation
The Rangers may not be loaded, but they have plenty of talent to make another playoff run. Picking a top pick will be challenging, but we’ll give it a go. The popular choice amongst the masses is Rougned Odor, but he’s never met a pitch he didn’t like. That will catch up with him eventually. Adrian Beltre seems destined to fall off a cliff, but he has confounded those expectations each and every time. He should be a top five or six third baseman on draft day.
Meanwhile, the battle on the mound is between Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish. Hamels gets the nod on this end simply because he has a longer history of durability. However, they are probably fairly comparable in terms of ability. Both pitchers will give you all four categories and given their offensive potential, should have plenty of run support.
There are certain players we all have an irrational love or hate for. Shin-soo Choo is one of those players for me. If you look at the pure numbers in the aggregate, Shoo doesn’t look like much of a player, but in two out of the last four seasons he has been brilliant. If he tumbles enough on draft day it is a good bet to bet that he will be brilliant again.
On the mound, the Rangers have a sleeper that wasn’t on the above list. Most fantasy players think three dimensionally, but skip the fourth dimension (time). Tyson Ross is due back in the summer. Depending on the rules of your league, you could draft him late and then stash him on the disabled list. He could potentially perform like a number three starter if healthy. It’s a risk, but at the end of your draft they are all risks.
I got criticized for ranking Odor so low during our positional rankings. Those rankings were based on prior seasons and those seasons showed he just doesn’t have the patience to break out into a true star. He does have impressive power for a middle infielder, but eventually pitchers are going to force him to lay off of bad pitchers. He hasn’t shown that he can yet.
Martin Perez is officially listed as the third starter, but the numbers show something else. He pitched nearly 200 innings and won ten games, but he also had a 4.49 fielding independent pitching (FIP) rating. Sure, durability is important, but being mediocre over 200 innings still means you are mediocre. He might be worth a waiver claim, but he isn’t worth a draft pick.
It’s amazing the Rangers got anywhere with their bullpen situation last year. They began the season with Shawn Tolleson as the closer, but he lost the job early on in favor of Sam Dyson. Dyson turned in a great season with 38 saves, so he seems as sure a bet as any closer in the game at this point. They added former Brewers closer Jeremy Jeffress late in the 2016 season in the trade with Jonathan Lucroy, but he spent most of his Rangers tenure in alcohol rehab. He could take over if need be. Former number one overall pick Matt Bush has overwhelming stuff, but he probably needs more seasoning before he gets that opportunity.
Minor League Prospects
Yohander Mendez had a cup of coffee with the big club last year. He combined to go 12-3 last season on three different minor league levels with a 2.19 ERA and more strikeouts than innings pitched. Given their lack of depth in the rotation it isn’t hard to see him making it in at some point. Officially, Joey Gallo is not a prospect, but he has never gotten a full opportunity to play at the big league level. Even if they add Mike Napoli he will likely get the first crack at being a DH.