The Texas Rangers 2018 season is quickly approaching and some fans simply can’t wait any longer.
The 2018 Rangers squad that has been constructed over the offseason has been interesting, to say the least. Inevitably, there will be guys who are ready to take big statistical steps in their careers. Based on last season, here is a look at some of the potential breakout stars this season.
This choice could be an obvious one, considering Diekman was out a considerable amount of time last season due to his battle with ulcerative colitis. Often times, guys coming off a season plagued with injuries don’t bounce back with a solid year to follow. However, Diekman not only has had a complete offseason to get back to game-shape, but he also is going to have a major role in the bullpen.
In the past, Diekman has been a 7th or 8th inning bullpen guy setting up for the closer to come out. In that spot in 2016 with the Rangers, he dominated posting a 3.4 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and a 2.27 SO/W ratio in 66 games played.
Both Banister and Diekman expect him to have the same kind of role and have even better stat lines throughout the lengthy season. The 31-year-old feels good to go now, after going through three colon surgeries last year in this time.
“Mentally and physically, I feel like I can dominate,” said Diekman.
“#NoColonStillRollin,” as Jake Diekman explains his situation himself. We believe he will indeed be ‘rollin’ his way through this season.
Chirinos!? Really? Yes.
Last year, Robinson Chirinos was hidden in the shadows of a very disappointing season by Jonathan Lucroy who was eventually traded to the Colorado Rockies at the deadline. This very reason is why he could have the breakout season all Ranger fans have been very patient for.
Chirinos never gets any ‘benefit of the doubt’, as he’s been the backup catcher since he joined the team in 2013. The most we have seen him was in 93 games back in 2014 in which he had a BA of .239 in 306 at bats. Since then, he has only been on the rise improving his offense.
On the defensive side of the plate, he’s one that can control and lead a defense with his communication and pitch calling. In 80 games started last year, he caught runners stealing 25% of the time and safely secured 17 of 21 total wild pitches.
Ultimately, with the guaranteed everyday catcher role in Chirinos’ hands, he now can comfortably find a consistency with his bat and veteran leadership role within the clubhouse.
Lastly, Mr. Gallo. One could ask, “How could this guy have a breakout season after he hit over 40 bombs last season?” Well, others with much optimism, could say he could hit 50 bombs and be a potential Gold Glove candidate at first base this year.
Jeff Banister has solidified Joey Gallo as the Rangers everyday first baseman moving forward.
“It’s a definite advantage [at first base] especially with the athleticism we have,” stated Banister. “Gallo is a guy who is a tremendous athlete. He moves very well… He’s not your typical 6’5” baseball athlete. He’s a different cat.”
Gallo shows primed for a breakout season, both in the field and with the bat (again). Last year, Gallo bounced between three main positions, including third base, first base and left field. The lack of consistency at a single position prevented him from being able to find any type of rhythm on defense.
Much like Chirinos, comfortability and consistency are two fresh qualities Gallo will be introduced to in this upcoming season. Two qualities that are necessary for any player with such talent as Gallo.
Statistics accumulated from www.baseball-reference.com
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