2020 Texas Rangers Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
After making the playoffs five times in seven years from 2010-2016, including winning a pair of American League pennants, the Rangers have been stuck languishing in the lower tier of Major League Baseball. They were able to rebound from a dreadful 2018 with a surprising 2019 campaign. But they faded late and finished below .500 for the third straight season.
Last year I had the Rangers pegged as a definite bounce back team in 2019. Texas had to deal with a massive amount of injuries and bad luck in 2018, so they were due for some things to go their way. They didn't disappoint. But now without the benefits of low expectations and mathematical regression, the Rangers could be in for some tough times in 2020.
Texas Rangers 2020 Projected Lineup (updated expert MLB picks daily)
1. Shin-Soo Choo - DH
2. Elvis Andrus - SS
3. Joey Gallo - OF
4. Danny Santana - OF
5. Todd Frazier - 3B
6. Rougned Odor - 2B
7. Nick Solak - OF
8. Robinson Chirinos - C
9. Ronald Guzman - 1B
The Rangers offense has been in decline for the last few seasons. After finishing No. 3 in runs scored back in 2015, Texas saw its performance decline the next three seasons, falling to No. 14 in 2018 before a slight uptick last year (No. 12). They beefed up the lineup in free agency and are hoping to be less of an all-or-nothing attack this year.
Rougned Odor was a bit emblematic of Texas' approach last season. He hammered 30 home runs and drove in 93 runs. But he hit just .205 and struck out 178 times. Texas was only 17th in home runs and 17 th in team batting average while finishing with the fourth-most strikeouts in the league. That whole approach is unsustainable.
Getting a full, healthy season from Joey Gallo would be a night start. After hitting .209 and .206 in his first two seasons, respectively, Gallo saw his average jump to .253 last year. He managed to play in only 70 games, though. Texas needs its slugger healthy, and Gallo needs to continue his prodigious home run pace (103 home runs in 363 games).
The Rangers brought in Todd Frazier to be a stabilizing force in the middle of the order. And catch Robinson Chirinos will be a major upgrade as a hitter from the catcher spot. That Chirnos is just a career .234 hitter shows what a black hole that slot was for the Rangers last year (Texas catchers hit .193 combined).
The key - maybe for the entire team - will be Danny Santana. He slashed .283/.324/.534 last year with 28 home runs and 81 RBI. But in the previous four years, he had hit just .218 with six home runs (over 263 games). So who is the real Santana? If he regresses, he could drag this lineup with him. If he excels, the top two-thirds of this lineup suddenly looks legitimately dangerous.
Texas Rangers 2020 Projected Rotation And Closer
1. Corey Kluber (R)
2. Mike Minor (L)
3. Lance Lynn (R)
4. Kyle Gibson (R)
5. Jordan Lyles (R)
Closer: Jose Leclerc
Texas' belief that they can compete this season is completely predicted on its belief in its pitching staff. I am not nearly as optimistic, though. Texas is banking on certain guys, like Kluber and Lyles, having a positive regression while the rest of their starters avoid a negative regression. But that's generally not how these things work.
Kluber is a two-time Cy Young Award winner and was the best pitcher in baseball from 2014 to 2018. The wheels absolutely came off during an injury-shortened 2019, though. Kluber's velocity dropped and ERA exploded to 5.80 in his seven starts before shutting it down. The hope is that a healthy Kluber can bounce back and give the Rangers a top of the rotation ace that they haven't had in ages.
They are also hoping for a turnaround from Gibson, who had a 3.62 ERA in 2018 before posting a 4.84 ERA last season.
However, while the Rangers are banking on bounce backs from Kluber and Gibson, they are hoping that journeymen like Mike Minor, Lance Lynn and Jordan Lyles can build on their surprising 2019 successes.
Minor went 14-10 with a 3.59 ERA and has shown great improvement as a starter since his 2017 stint in the bullpen in Kansas City. Lynn, who was an outstanding starter for St. Louis from 2014-17, had a career resurgence last year after a horrible 2018. He went 16-11 with a 3.67 ERA and an incredible 246 strikeouts.
The Rangers have holes in their bullpen. The Rafael Montero-Jose Leclerc setup-closer dynamic isn't bad. But the rest of the group has a long way to go. Texas' bullpen was No. 21 in ERA last season, and they were No. 25 in batting average against.
Texas Rangers Odds To Win The World Series
You can find the Rangers somewhere between 80-to-1 and 100-to-1 to win the World Series this season. They are 50-to-1 to win the American League but just 16-to-1 to win their division.
Texas Rangers 2020 Predictions
I am basing all of my predictions on my belief in an 81-game season that starts around July 6. I have absolutely no inside information about MLB's plans for the 2020 season. However, for the sake of discussion, 81 games are what I have in mind while writing these previews.
As a franchise, Texas is kind of caught in limbo. They made some big deals this offseason, including getting Kluber, and it looks like they are going to try to compete for the West title. However, if this year had a 162-game schedule, my gut instinct is that Texas' plans wouldn't have worked, and they would've been in fire sale mode - with a lot of appealing pieces to deal - by the trade deadline.
Instead, because of this year's shortened season, they might actually have a legitimate chance in a topsy-turvy (and top heavy) West.
Last year, the Rangers held onto a Wild Card spot into July. They were competitive, deeper, more talented teams just wore them down. With a short schedule this year, that won't be an issue. And if Texas has some guys pick up where they left off last year (and others bounce back), then they will be a sleeper in the West.
However, this team is not set up for long-term success. In the end, they might be more competitive this season. But it might cost them in the long-term.
Robert Ferringo is a professional sports bettor and handicapper for Doc's Sports and is considered one of the top MLB betting experts in the country. He has posted three consecutive winning MLB seasons and closed the 2019 season on a +$10,000 baseball run for his followers. Robert has beaten the books for six of seven profitable seasons on the diamond and is looking forward to another winning season for his clients. If you would like some help winning more bets in MLB this season the good news is that you can try out Ferringo's MLB picks for free when you set up your complimentary $60 account here.
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