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Five Predictions for the 2024 Texas Rangers Season

Photo: Bailey Orr / Texas Rangers

Five Predictions for the 2024 Texas Rangers Season

As we inch closer to Opening Day and the 2023 World Champion banner reveal, it’s time for the Texas Rangers to get back to work and avenge their World Series title. Texas is dealing with uncertainty regarding their middle infield this time around. According to manager Bruce Bochy, Josh Jung is on track to play on Opening Day. Meantime, the status of Corey Seager is still iffy. While it’s not ruled one way or the other, there remains optimism that Corey will jog to his position at shortstop starting Thursday. Finally, Nathaniel Lowe’s status to return targets mid-April, and with oblique strains, can prove tricky regarding recovery. Although the club bolstered their rotation late Wednesday with the addition of former Reds, Tigers, Phillies, and Angels pitcher Michael Lorenzen.

What does this mean in the long run for the 2024 Texas Rangers? For starters, it’s a tough stretch out of the gate. In the first month of the year, the Rangers will complete 7 of their 13 meetings against the Houston Astros, go to Atlanta and Tampa Bay (two playoff teams from 2023), and complete a ten-game in ten-day road trip (their only one of 2024). Don’t be surprised if the Rangers start slow and pick it up.

But let’s look at the rest of the slate. If the Canaries keep singing, the starting pitching will improve as the season moves with the returns of Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom (hopefully both by trade deadline time). The bullpen, the weakness of the 2023 season, has most of their successful postseason crew back, along with a few new faces led by Daniel Robertson. I don’t suspect the bullpen is as unreliable as a year ago (especially if the main guys stay healthy), but that could boost the pitching staff.

One key to 2023’s regular season success was how the reinforcements held their ground when a key player went down due to injury. The depth will be the most significant factor if the Rangers want to do what has yet to be done this millennium: repeat as a World Champion (Yankees’ last Championship to their repeat was in 2000). Here are your 2024 Texas Rangers regular season predictions:

Rangers MVP of 2024: Corey Seager

I am flip-flopping on this between a few. Corey Seager’s 2023 was MLB MVP-worthy, and the only reason he didn’t win was that Shohei Ohtani is out of this planet. Seager led the league with 42 doubles last season in only 119 games (a double nearly every three games). Seager’s success at Globe Life Field is unreal, but the key is for Corey to stay healthy. What may hold Seager back from MVP-like numbers is whether teams will start intentionally walking him more. My other candidates for MVP in 2024 are Marcus Semien, the Ironman table setter at the top of the lineup, and Josh Jung, who can break out and add to what was on pace for a rookie of the year season last season. The protection around Jung (Evan Carter and Adolis García, to name a few) could bode well for Josh.

You can’t go wrong with any top-of-the-lineup guys for team MVP. They all can string together an All-Star season and represent the Rangers at home in July.

Rangers Pitcher of 2024: Jon Gray

Health is the key for most Rangers’ pitchers and even position players, but for Jon Gray, getting to the 150-inning mark is his goal. Last season, Gray reached that for the fourth time in his MLB career, but a couple of injuries plagued what could have been an All-Star-caliber season for Gray. In the first half of the season, Gray posted a 3.29 ERA among 93 innings, but during the second half got hit around more, leading to a 5.32 ERA in 64.1 innings. The usage of Gray’s fastball decreased last season, which is the bread and butter for most pitchers, especially starters. If Gray can return to his fastball and let his slider work off it, he can be a forceful two in the Rangers starting rotation.

Breakout Star: Evan Carter

2024 should be a massive year for Evan Carter. Will he make the All-Star team? I would only go that far, considering a regular season game has yet to happen, and teams will adjust to Carter early. However, a considerable aspect of Carter’s game is his ability to control the plate and adjust accordingly. It’s interesting with all the hype Wyatt Langford is getting during Spring Training (as he should), it’s weird to say that Carter is flying under the radar, not that there are any concerns.

Bounce Back Player: Jonathan Hernández

It’s hard to look at a World Series team and think about players who had bad seasons and need to bounce back. However, if you look somewhere, it would be in the Rangers bullpen. Considering their postseason success, it’s also difficult to conclude that guys like Josh Sborz and Andrew Heaney had terrible years.

However, if there were one bullpen piece that could reinvent himself, it would be Jonathan Hernández. Hernández couldn’t find much consistency in the first two months of the season and was sent down to the minors, and when he came back in late August/September, it appeared he resembled shades of the dominant pitcher the Rangers hoped he could be. Hernández will need to take advantage of the small opportunities he’ll get early and take small steps to get back to the back end of the bullpen. I would suspect Jonathan to start in mop-up-like roles or low-leverage scenarios, but if he can work that hard sinker along with the sharp slider (with good command), he could wind up in high-leverage situations by the second half of the year.

Final Season Prediction:

90-72 (2nd in the AL West). I’ve got the goggles on and ready for the pies. It’s tough to say that the Rangers’ roster outlasts the Houston Astros, especially through a six-month 162-game grind. That said, winning the division doesn’t exactly equate to winning the World Series (ask the Astros). Texas and Houston will trade off division leads throughout the season, and the Mariners could make things intriguing throughout the summer. Houston wins the division, but both teams will make the playoffs. As for who lasts longer… let’s remember what happened a few months ago. Does that mean the Rangers will repeat as World Champions? I won’t go that far.

Credentialed Media Staff Writer covering the Texas Rangers for Dallas Sports Fanatic | 2014 University of North Texas graduate with a Bachelor's in Radio, Television, and Film. I talk about things. Find me on the tweeter @aplinckTX

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