2015 Texas Rangers Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
by Alan Matthews - 2/26/2015
The Texas Rangers entered last season having won at least 90 games each of the previous four years and fully expecting to again in 2014. After all, the Rangers had made two big offseason additions, trading second baseman Ian Kinsler to Detroit for Prince Fielder, one of the top sluggers in baseball, and signing big-money free-agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. I certainly thought the Rangers would be in the mix in the AL West again.
However, no club was hit harder by injuries. Rangers players lost 2,116 days on the disabled list, the most in baseball and most since at least 2002. By comparison, the Pirates had the fewest number of lost days at 409. The team's bad luck started last winter when projected No. 2 starter Derek Holland suffered a serious knee injury tripping over his dog at home. He didn't pitch in the majors until September, when the season was already lost. Fielder had played at least 157 games each year since 2006 but only lasted 42 before season-ending neck surgery. Top prospect and projected starting second baseman Jurickson Profar didn't play at all in the majors because of a shoulder problem. Choo, another guy usually durable, played 123 games. Mitch Moreland only 52. Starting pitcher Matt Harrison made four appearances. Ace Yu Darvish was shut down after 22 starts. Martin Perez had Tommy John surgery after eight starts. No wonder this team lost 95 games.
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It was almost sad how often guys were going down. Things can only get better in 2015. Right? Texas does have a new manger in Jeff Banister. He replaces Ron Washington, who resigned in September for personal reasons. Tim Bogar led the Rangers to a 14-8 mark late last season after Washington stepped away and was thought to be the favorite to get the job, but apparently Banister was better in the interview process.
Rangers 2015 Projected Lineup
Already the injury bug has hit again. Profar will miss this season as well. Instead of having surgery last year to fix his shoulder, Profar chose rest and rehab. Obviously it didn't work. It's a shame because Profar once was considered the top prospect in all of baseball and homered in his first major league at-bat in 2012. It's going to be tough to get back after two full missed seasons. The only every-day player who left this offseason was outfielder Alex Rios.
The leadoff man and center fielder will be Leonys Martin. He was one of the few guys to stay in the lineup last year, hitting .247 with 31 steals in 155 games. Shortstop Elvis Andrus hits second, and he's wildly overpaid. You always hear trade rumors about him, but no one's going to touch that contract right now. Andrus, a two-time All-Star, hit just .263 with.314 on-base percentage, both career lows. He had a .971 fielding percentage that was the lowest of his career. Third baseman Adrian Beltre (.324, 19 HRs, 77 RBIs) remains a very good player and is five homers shy of 400.
This team isn't going to win if Fielder doesn't get back to his All-Star form. The cleanup hitter and first baseman hit .247 with three home runs, 16 RBIs and a .360 slugging percentage -- so you can see he wasn't good even before being shut down. Of concern is that his numbers in general have declined steadily for four straight years, and scarily he's under contract at big money for the next six years. The Tigers were smart.
The rest of the lineup will be Choo (.242, 13 HRs, 40 RBIs), a big disappointment, in left, Moreland (.246, two HRs, 23 RBIs) at designated hitter, probably Ryan Rua (.295, two HRs, 14 RBIs) in left field, although that could be a platoon, top prospect Rougned Odor (.259, nine HRs, 48 RBIs) at second and Robinson Chirinos (.239, 13 HRs, 40 RBIs) behind the plate
Rangers 2015 Projected Rotation & Closer
The ace of the staff is Darvish (10-7, 3.06) one of the best pitchers in baseball and on a very team-friendly deal through 2017. He's at full strength after missing the final seven weeks of the 2014 season with mild inflammation in his right elbow. Holland is one of the game's most underrated guys. The lefty made his return late last the season and was great in five starts, finishing 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA while allowing just six earned runs in 37 innings with 25 strikeouts.
The team's big offseason acquisition was pitcher Yovani Gallardo from Milwaukee for prospects, and he slots in at No. 3. Gallardo, a native of Fort Worth, went 8-11 with a 3.51 ERA in 2014. He's durable, having made at least 30 starts the past six seasons. Colby Lewis (10-14, 5.18) is No. 4, and there will be a battle in camp for the No. 5 spot. The Rangers traded for lefty Ross Detwiler (2-3, 4.00) from the Nationals in December, and he's the leading candidate. He will compete with right-handers Nick Tepesch, Nick Martinez and Anthony Ranaudo. Perez will surely go back into the rotation once he returns, which won't be until July.
Neftali Feliz will close. He returned to that role to the role in the second half last season after the trade of Joakim Soria to Detroit and had 13 saves in 14 chances.
Rangers Futures Odds & 2014 Trends
At Bovada , Texas is +5000 to win the World Series, +2200 to take the pennant, +600 for the AL West and with an "over/under" wins total of 78.5, with the over a -125 favorite. At Sportsbook.ag, Fielder is +2500 to lead the majors in homers. Darvish has a wins total of 13.5, with the over a -135 favorite. The Rangers were 71-91 against the spread last season and 70-81-11 O/U. On the moneyline, they were -2048 units on the year.
Rangers 2015 Predictions
FanGraphs projects Texas to finish last in the AL West at 77-85. This is a tough team to handicap in my mind. Is Fielder really trending that downward or will the surgery alleviate his problems? How much will Beltre have left at age 36 (in April)? Left field and catcher don't look great. The top three of the rotation looks solid. I could literally see this team finishing last again or win 90 games and earn a wild-card spot. But I doubt it's anything better than the fourth-best team in the division. I'll go slightly over that wins total but don't see a playoff spot.
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