As we talked about earlier in the week, it’s going to be really difficult to look at statistics from this baseball season and get a really good feel for how players performed. Whether it be checking them day-to-day or looking back this winter during free agency, it’s going to be a major trip to see home run leaders with somewhere around 20 dingers. With no real feel of what to realistically expect, why don’t we make some predictions?!
Who will lead the Rangers in home runs this season?
Alex Plinck: Even after a slow start, I think Joey Gallo will lead the team in home runs. The race is going to be a close one between him, Danny Santana, and Rougned Odor. Gallo’s timing still looks a little off at the plate, but I could see Joey get into a groove where he wins American League Player of the Week in one week this season, bolstering his offensive numbers.
Darien Clark: Every year, Rougned Odor’s approach and patience at the plate gets better and better. For that reason, and it being a shortened season, I believe Rougie will lead the team in HRs. He’s a streaky hitter and 60 games sounds about right for a hot-streak for him. I expect him to lead the team with 19 HRs on the short season.
Garrett Jones: It will be Joey Gallo with 20-plus home runs. He only ended up playing 70 games in 2019 due to injury and knocked 22 out of the park. I think 20 will be enough for him to contend for the AL league lead in a 60-game season.
Who drives in the most runs?
Alex: If Rougned Odor stays in the five spot in the lineup, I think he’ll finish the most RBIs on the team. Odor finished with twelve RBIs over Danny Santana for the lead on the team, and with Joey Gallo taking the walk during a portion of his ABs, Odor is going to get RBI opportunities.
Darien: I expect Rougned Odor to also lead the team in RBIs. He seems to be consistently hitting in the five-spot within the lineup day-in and day-out, (thus far – that could quickly change for him) so naturally that should generate the most opportunity to bat runners in. Especially with guys like Andrus and Choo hitting directly in front of him.
Garrett: Gallo will also likely lead the team in RBI. As the team’s long-ball threat, he naturally will tout a high slugging percentage which usually means high run production.
Who leads the team in hits?
Alex: I lean more towards Shin-Soo Choo because I believe Choo will show more consistency than Elvis Andrus. It will be a close race between the two of them, but Choo sees the ball well, especially in his first at-bat during games, where he can set the table in the lineup.
Darien: Now that Elvis has finally found consistent contribution at the plate, I expect him to lead the team in hits. He has an amazing track record with staying healthy, and has completely taken the role as the team’s captain of the clubhouse. I expect him to bat over .300 in the shortened season. All that to say, it will be a close battle between him and Choo for the team leader in hits.
Garrett: Elvis Andrus. Besides an injury-riddled 2018, he’s put together 150-plus hit campaigns each season since 2016, including 165 a year ago. Streaky hitting favors his game, especially if he’s hitting well.
Which pitcher will rack up the most strikeouts?
Alex: Lance Lynn dominated the Rangers pitching staff in strikeouts in 2019. Lynn has the workhorse mentality, and the club embraces, therefore with the most innings pitched, he will rack up the most strikeouts. Lynn finished with 246 strikeouts last season, 46 more than next on the list, Mike Minor.
Darien: It’s tough to come up with a prediction for this one. For a few reasons: the starting rotation is the best it’s been in years, and, the three guys at the top are all “K machines”. With that said, in a close, competitive battle, I believe Corey Kluber will lead the team in K’s. He collected over 200 strikeouts and was in the top-10 (entire MLB) from 2014-2018. That is dominant. Coming off an injury-plagued 2019, and beyond that, extended rest, his arm should be ready to go for 2020.
Garrett: Corey Kluber. All reports out of Globe Life Field from exhibition games have indicated that he’s tapped into his elite stuff that snagged two Cy Young awards with Cleveland. Aside from his injury-plagued 2019, he’s recorded 200-plus strikeouts in each season since 2014.
Who will lead the team in innings pitched?
Alex: Lynn had two starts last season where he didn’t go over 100 pitches and had one start where he didn’t go at least five innings. Unless something drastic happens to Lance in 2020, expect him to go at least six innings in nearly every start, or even seven. I feel like the Rangers may show some carefulness to Corey Kluber, especially to start the season since he hadn’t pitched in over a year on a big-league mound.
Garrett: I think the Rangers will be cautious with both Kluber and Mike Minor’s inning count, so I’ll go with Lance Lynn. 2019 was his first 200-plus inning season since 2014 with St. Louis.
What will be the team’s win/loss record plus their finish in the AL West?
Alex: The AL West is a tough division to compete in, and the NL West is one of the more difficult divisions to figure out with unknown statuses in San Diego and Colorado. I think the Rangers finish a few marks below .500 (28-32). They’ll finish behind Oakland, Houston, the Angels, and in front of Seattle and miss the postseason.
Darien: I’m predicting a solid, short season for them finishing with a 33-27 record giving them a wildcard spot into the postseason. A lot of it has to do with their dominant, veteran pitching staff which will be crucial throughout the short season. Not to mention the top of their lineup at the plate is statistically one of the best from last year. Nearly the entire team was brought back from last year, so the chemistry is unquestioned, and not to mention, adding ‘The Klubot’ only helps.
Garrett: I’ve got Texas slated for an even 30-30 record, good for a fourth place finish behind Houston, Oakland and Los Angeles in that order, and ahead of Seattle. I believe that will be enough to contend for the second wild card spot into the last week of the regular season, but not enough to truly contend for it.
Who is team MVP of a 60 game season?
Alex: It’s a tough choice because it’s nearly impossible to reward a starter this season for MVP. I think Danny Santana will work out the aggressiveness in his swing for the position players and become a more consistent force at the plate. His arm in center is dynamic, and teams may try to show their aggressiveness early on the basepaths. Later on, though, they’ll hold like they did when Joey Gallo played center field.
Garrett: I’ll go with Gallo. He has a great opportunity to show he’s not just a one-act star. I think he’ll view the shortened season as an opportunity to prove he can put together consistent numbers and stay healthy as the Rangers shift him around defensively.
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