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Texas Rangers 2019 Fantasy Projections – A Ranger Rise, or Continued Nose-Dive
As recently as 2016, the Texas Rangers had a top-five ranked offense in terms of overall productivity. That team was top-10 in both runs and home runs, meaning their hitters had fantasy appeal. They still ranked highly in home runs, but the run production dropped steadily throughout 2017.
Everything took a dramatic nose-dive for the Rangers offensively in 2018. Hitters still hit home runs fairly well, and they scored at about an average pace with the rest of the league, but other statistical categories plummeted. The players that did have fantasy appeal came with various forms of negative baggage as well.
Texas Rangers 2018 Recap
During the years when the Rangers were dominating the AL West, hitting was their staple and pitching was always good enough to support an ominous bat attack. In 2018, while the hitting and run production dropped, pitching fell off the ends of the earth.
This slide started after the 2016 season, in which they won the most games in the American League. The Toronto Blue Jays swept the Rangers in the ALDS, and the team seemed to head south of the border rapidly after that unexpected beating.
Texas lost 84 games in 2017, and then topped that last year by losing 95. Their 95 losses were good enough to land them in the basement of the AL West. With a mishmash of once highly-touted, but underachieving talent, the immediate prospects for the Rangers are equally as mishmash.
2019 Fantasy Pitchers Projections – The Ranger Pitcher Report
The Texas pitching staff has one resident holdover from a poor statistical 2018 season. Gone from Arlington is the ageless Bartolo Colon, Cole Hamels was traded, and Matt Moore is going to try yet another change of scenery. What's left wearing a Ranger's uniform are four names that most any fantasy guru will immediately recognize.
The number five starter is a once highly-touted prospect, Shelby Miller. Miller's arm has failed him miserably, and he is but a shell of the flame thrower he came into the league as. In the middle of the rotation are three more, albeit wily veterans.
Drew Smyly was once the projected ace of the pitching loaded Tampa Bay Rays franchise. Lance Lynn is an innings-eater, whose stuff has seen an obvious decline the last couple of seasons. Edinson Vólquez rounds out the Ranger's staff.
Yes, the same Vólquez known to Ranger faithful as Julio Reyes, who signed with Texas as a young superstar prospect way back in 2001. Vólquez has been with six different teams in between his two stints in Arlington.
There are a lot of miles in between, but it's hard to forget less than 24 months ago he tossed his first no-hitter. However, don't forget he also lost his first seven decisions that same season. To call his potential erratic would be an understatement.
Lance Lynn left St. Louis for Minnesota last season, and then was recruited by the Yankees to fill gaps in their pitching staff. It led to little more than a middle-of-the-road statistical season. Ranger fans and fantasy faithful should expect more of the same. Okay back end of the rotation, but don't expect to win a fantasy title if Lance Lynn is one of your top hurlers.
Drew Smyly was the darling of the Detroit franchise back in 2013. He never could seem to get over the hump of mediocrity. Smyly landed with the Rays in 2014 and finished that season showing flashes of brilliance.
Regression is all too often the norm in baseball, and that is what Smyly has done over the last three years. Fall back in line with his career stat line. That leaves little to hang your fantasy hat on in relation to Ranger pitchers. An unproven bullpen may also prove unable to hold any lead a starter may exit with, so Texas pitching is best left as free agent fodder for fantasy purposes.
2019 Fantasy Hitter Projections – The Best Bats in Arlington
On November 30, Ranger fans felt what had to feel like the end of a glorious era. The final cog of the most productive years in franchise history hung up his cleats. Without Adrian Beltre, the Rangers resemble little the powerful team they were but three seasons ago.
The reigns are now in the hands of to the likes of Gallo, Mazara, Andrus, Choo and Odor. For as much talent as this quartet has, they have been equally baffling at time during their careers. None of these Ranger bats are must-owns, but they all have a level of intrigue directly proportional to their ability to reduce the negative aspects of their statistics.
That statistic for each of them is a tendency to miss pitches. Only three teams struck out more collectively as a lineup than Texas. Of course, Joey Gallo did his part to support that unflattering statistic. Shin-Soo Choo helped out with a 156 Ks in 2018.
Odor and Mazara added their own healthy number of strikeouts. The problem for fantasy purposes isn't so much the tendency to whiff at pitches, but the lack of long ball power often associated with it. Gallo is the only player with productive fantasy HR numbers, 40, but his average hovers around .200, and he is going to strikeout frequently, very frequently.
Joey Gallo 3B - Gallo plays third base, a position loaded with high-potential hitters. Sure, it's hard to ignore a player who has topped 40 home runs, two years running, but on the days when Gallo doesn't go yard, he has a tendency to put up a goose egg for hits.
Without any positive numbers on the good side of the fantasy ledger, Gallo's propensity to K now becomes a daily fantasy liability. If you can handle the prospects of your 3B earning a negative daily score, sometimes frequently, then you can live with the days Gallo launches one of his coveted bombs.
Nomar Mazara OF – Would seem to be fairly accurate to assume Mazara is going to hit no less than 20 home runs. He has, after all, hit that exact number three consecutive years running. His batting average hovers around .260, but his RBI productivity has been a fantasy saving-grace.
He'll be slotted to bat third in the Rangers order, a nice spot for another potentially productive RBI season. The problem might be, if Gallo is on one of his K-rolls, pitchers may find pitching around Mazara to get to the Ranger's cleanup hitter appealing.
Fantasy Rank for the Texas Rangers
The Ranger pitching staff is full of names that any fantasy player will recognize, except maybe one, the projected ace of the staff. Mike Minor is slotted at the one-spot, and that might be a tough place for him to toe the rubber every fifth day.
If any of the remaining four decide to have a rebound season, these subdued projections could easily change. As for their prospects as a hitting team, if you can stomach an occasional minus from your team total, they do have a couple viable bats, but remember to temper your expectations until real performance proves otherwise.
The Bottom Line for the Texas Rangers
Texas went into full rebuilding mode a little over a year ago. The foundation of their rebuilding progress hinges on a couple young players, once projected as stars, but who have proven to carry perplexing baggage. Their pitching staff is resting on the hopes some once highly coveted arms can rekindle their previous success.
There is a new sheriff in town, manager Chris Woodward, and some old faces in new places. The bottom line for this team is guarded optimism layered heavily with reality. The AL West is a tough division, so aspirations for a sudden Ranger rise need to be equally as guarded.