This year there is a new feeling in Arlington. Hope and promise is in every Texas Rangers fans’ heart for the first time in a long time.
Spring is in the air, and so with that comes the excitement of baseball season slowly creeping in. This year there is a new feeling in Arlington. Texas Rangers fans are excited for the first time in years. Last winter the offseason focused on position players, with Chris Young bringing along Marcus Semien and Corey Seager. This year more followed, with former back-to-back Cy Young award-winning pitcher Jacob deGrom as well as Nathan Eovaldi joining the fold.
New Era on the Mound in Texas
Jacob deGrom is one of the few pitchers that, even while hampered by frequent injuries, coaches and fans want on their team. He throws with such velocity yet gives no control up to do so. He succeeds through an arsenal set with a four-seam fastball, slider, and will bring in a change-up every so often. His repertoire is solid, and batters take notice when he takes the mound. If deGrom can stay healthy for the Rangers, fans of all teams will turn and watch.
Nathan Eovaldi is another new face in the clubhouse. He is coming off of two great seasons in Boston. With the Red Sox, he pitched to a 3.87 ERA last season. In 109.1 innings pitches, Eovaldi only gave up 47 earned runs. With him and DeGrom taking the mound for the Rangers, and Semien and Seager backing them up in the infield, this team has a real chance to make some noise in the West.
Where Were the Rangers Last Season
Last season, despite the massive free-agent signings mentioned above, the Rangers turned in a measly 68-win season, placing them fourth in a developing AL West. With Seager and Semien both underperforming, it is easy to chalk a lousy season up to your biggest faces adjusting. Better performance from the youngsters would also be a boon.
Why is This Year Any Different?
This season both men on the infield are supposed to surpass last year’s showing with ease. The current ZiPS projection from FanGraphs has the Rangers going 79-83, and a Steamer-ZiPS blend has them slightly above .500 with 82 wins. This makes sense, with the massive upgrade in their rotation. If we look at how unlucky they got last year in terms of the Pythagorean Expectation and one-run games, this also explains the 11-game jump in wins. Their overall production last year was in line with a 76-win team, which they also undershot.
This year is an excellent chance for the Rangers to make a push and get their name back in the mix with a strong season. The past couple of seasons has been all but competitive for the Rangers. With a good core and a strong rotation, it is one of the most promising seasons the Rangers have had since the king of the infield, Ron Washington, was the manager.
As always, the Astros hold the throne in the AL West this year. It is interesting to see what the Rangers can do this season. Rangers fans are looking forward to this campaign as Texas has finally brought in some arms to back the already talented infield.
The New and Improved Rangers
After only winning 68 games last year, naturally, you would think the bar to be low. This assumption is wrong, as Rangers fans are tired of losing, and although it is a relatively new franchise, these fans are not used to losing.
The offense is starting to look more exciting than ever. Semien is capable of hitting 26 home runs again. He also looks great at the top of the order, with two outstanding offensive seasons in the last three years. During his time with the A’s he posted 7.6 fWAR in 2019, and he had 6.6 fWAR with the Blue Jays in 2021. Semien had a small drop last season with 5.7 WAR. This does not take away the fact that he is still young and continuing to get better.
Right now, the Rangers have one of the top prospects in MLB. Josh Jung is coming in as a third baseman with tons of power and talent. Jung is from San Antonio, about four hours from Arlington. The former Texas Tech Red Raider is a Texan through and through, so fans from all over the state are coming together to root for the hometown boy. Jung is walking in with a .323 average and 68 home runs across all levels. The kid has potential, and he can be what the blue and red need to get over this rebuild hump and splash around in the playoffs.
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