As the Texas Rangers wrap up a disappointing 2018 campaign that will see them lose just under 100 games, it’s time to reflect on the season it was. The ups, the downs, the terrible predictions before the season.
Back in late March, we gathered our Rangers writing staff to try to predict some notable storylines and statistics for the 2018 season. For some of us, it was easy to see that there wasn’t a ton of reason for optimism around this year’s teams. For others, myself, I thought that some of the X-factors would fall the right way and this team could hang around modestly in the division race for most of the season.
Unfortunately, the Rangers weren’t even able to hang around with the Astros and Athletics for more than the first month of the season. So I was a tad off on my optimism this season. Where else did we go wrong?
Who will be the Rangers breakout player?
Dylan: Alex Claudio
I predicted that relief pitcher Alex Claudio would build off his standout 2017 campaign and seize the open opportunity to be his team’s closer in 2018. Unfortunately, all of Claudio’s statistics seemed to go in the wrong direction. After three straight campaigns with a sub-3.0 ERA, Claudio’s 2018 ERA sits at 4.50 as of Saturday night. Additionally, his impressive 1.04 WHIP in 2017 ballooned up to 1.52 in 2018. The Alex Claudio shutdown inning just was not common enough in 2018.
Evan: Elvis Andrus
The man who was likely the team’s MVP in 2017 did not exactly keep things going in 2018. A broken elbow sidelined Andrus for over two months in his first career trip to the disabled list, but the shortstop never found his way with the bat again. The 30 year-old will finish with career lows in games played (97), hits and a drastic drop in stolen bases with just five compared to 25 in 2017. Andrus has a clause that will allow him to opt out of his contract after the 2018 and 2019 seasons, but a down year will make it wise for Andrus to accept a nice $15 million salary and a chance to rebuild his value next season.
What will the be the order of the AL West division standings?
The good: all of our staff predicted the Astros would win the division. Check.
The bad: all of our staff had the Oakland A’s finishing last in the division. Whoops.
In true Oakland fashion, they seemed to have pulled one of their every once and a while good years out of their rear ends and will be playing in the American League Wild Card Game at Yankee Stadium this week.
What will be the Rangers’ win-loss record in 2018?
Two of our staff members had Texas finishing at 75-87 and one of them at 80-82. Those are far from great or even good records. Even those predictions were giving Texas too much credit as going into Sunday’s season finale, the Rangers won’t even be able to get to 70 wins on the season.
On the flip side, I was a little too optimistic and projected 85 wins for Texas this season. Hey, we all make mistakes.
Who will be the Rangers MVP?
Three out of the four writers thought Elvis Andrus would build off his outstanding 2017 campaign and be the team’s most valuable player this year. As previously mentioned, Andrus was not able to do that in the slightest. We’re all hoping Elvis can get completely healthy, regroup and get back to what he showed in 2016 and 2017 during his 2019 campaign.
The actual team MVP? Joey Gallo? Jurickson Profar? Mike Minor? It’s tough to project an MVP for a team with less than 70 wins, but there were some commendable performances for Texas this season.
I don’t think anyone would be especially proud of the majority of their sports predictions over the years. This year’s Rangers staff isn’t really any different. Some were better than others, but one has to step up and admit their mistakes: I was just terrible at this.
Am I going to get back on the horse and try again before Opening Day on March 28th, 2019 against the Chicago Cubs? You bet.
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