2018 Texas Rangers Expert Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
A while ago I was lying in bed just drifting off when I was shaken by a loud bang - something like a sonic boom. I wasn't sure what it was, and my wife and son didn't notice, so I forgot about it and fell asleep. Only a few days later did I realize that it was the Texas Rangers' window to relevance slamming shut. From 2010-2016 the team made the playoffs in five of seven years and lost the World Series twice. They were a model franchise. All good things must end, though, and 78 wins last year is likely to be followed by something well under that this year. It could be rough for a while as there is talent in the system but not the kind that will help right away. They have some decent pieces on the roster, but not enough, and the pitching is scary - and not the kind of scary that is good. They aren't going to go into a decade-long swoon into irrelevance like so many teams have, but it will be a while until this team is back to being an eternal threat.
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Rangers 2018 Projected Lineup
Adrian Beltre remains very productive when he is healthy. He'll turn 39 a week into the season, though, and that is obviously not young for a major leaguer. And that's the problem with this team - at that age and that stage of his career, Beltre is still probably the best player on the team. They are relying on a dinosaur to carry the squad. That's scary in the short term, and there obviously isn't much future in it.
Joey Gallo bounced around last year, but he seems locked in at first base this year. The lefty has a truly beautiful swing, and it's productive, too - he had 41 home runs in only 449 at-bats in his first full season in the majors. But there are serious issues, too - he hit only .209, and he struck out a ridiculous 196 times. He's an all-or-nothing guy at this point, and the team needs to hope he can mature at the plate in a hurry without giving up too much of that crazy power.
Elvis Andrus had a bit of a renaissance last year, and that would really help if it could continue. Rougned Odor could stand to improve at the plate a whole lot, too. He is strong defensively, but he hit just .204 last year and struck out 162 times. He had 30 home runs and 75 RBIs, but the team would be happier with less power and more consistency. They are working hard to change his approach at the plate, and if it pays off that could be a real boost.
The best word to describe the outfield is slow. And slow is not really what you want when there is a lot of ground to cover - especially with a rotation that is going to keep those outfielders busy. Nomar Mazara, in particular, is a guy who runs like a young elephant, and Shin-Soo Choo is well of his already slow prime.
Rangers 2018 Projected Rotation and Closer
Yu Darvish is gone, so the rotation has a different look. And not really in a good way. Cole Hamels is the new ace, but he's coming off a season where he looked like a solid third starter. The team picked up freaking Bartolo Colon in the offseason! The guy turns 45 in May and was 7-14 with a 6.48 ERA last year, so he is not in his prime. Obviously. Maybe he'll keep Beltre feeling young, though. If Colon is being added to your rotation at this point then you hate your rotation. They also added Matt Moore, who is only 28 but has been really disappointing the last three years, and Doug Fister, who would have been a great addition if this was 2014. They also added Mike Minor, and they seem to want to return him to the rotation after he was strong out of the bullpen for the Royals last year. It's not a great idea. All in all, this rotation as it currently stands is built as some kind of elaborate joke. There is no massive incentive for tanking in baseball, but if there was then this would be the way to do it.
The bullpen is better than the rotation, but not by a ton, and certainly by not enough to make up for the shortcomings of the rotation.
Rangers Futures Odds
BetOnline feels like it will be a long year in Arlington - they sit at +6600 to win the World Series, which puts them ahead of only 11 teams. They are at +3300 to win the American League. That ties them with the Rays, which tells you how underwhelming the team is. At +1400 they are the second-longest-shot to win the AL West. Joey Gallo is at +2000 to win the home run title, which puts him in a big group, with only four guys with lower odds. The season win total sits at 77, and neither the "over" nor the "under" had a real edge to date.
Rangers 2018 Predictions
It's going to be a long, ugly year. The offense has the potential to ease some of the concerns at times but not consistently. And this rotation has a chance to be comically awful. I like the under on the season win total - a whole lot.
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