With the 2019 season here ready to roll, ready to consume our lives that revolve around baseball as a safe haven for myself and many others, the Rangers are near and dear to our hearts, and could be very interesting if the chips fall in our favor.
It all got me thinking, who will be the best player this year for us? Who will improve the most? So many questions with Opening Day around the corner, which I believe should be a national holiday, but that’s for another day.
Here at Rangers Nation of Dallas Sports Nation, we all came together for our WAY to early predictions for the 2019 season for our Texas Rangers featuring John Moore the Recliner Nerd of Rangers Nation Podcast, J.C. and RDA from the Texas Power Hour Podcast, and key Contributor Chris Silvey from Rangers Nation.
Who Will Be the MVP?
Joe Carrillo (J.C. – Texas Power Hour Podcast)
Nomar Mazara will have the best season of his career. He avgs 20 HR per season, but Chris Woodward has him hitting cleanup in his projected lineup, putting him in position for more RBI and maybe bring out the power a bit. He’ll have 30 HR and over 100 RBI, really breaking out and earning a long term contract.
John Moore (The Recliner Nerd – Rangers Nation Podcast)
Rougned Odor because I think he’ll raise his batting average to .285 and his power will be there too. 27 HR from the 2 hole is huge, and he scores a ton with his great base running, but his defense will be top tier and he’ll be a Gold Glove finalist. Rougie will be stellar this season for us, really living up to his contract a few seasons ago.
Rudy Argueta ( RDA – Texas Power Hour Podcast)
Elvis Andrus – Never the biggest voice, he’s now the longest tenured veteran on the Ranger’s roster, and expect him to show it on the field. He had his worst statistical season due to injury, but I expect him to return to his previous form, hitting 15 HR and having around 30 stolen bases, leading this team as best as he can.
Chris Silvey (Ranger Nation Contributor)
Elvis Andrus, believe it or not, is the veteran presence in the clubhouse right now. After a disappointing 2018 season, I think rebounds well. With the ability to hit for contact and some newly found power, combined with his speed, I fully expect him to lead the younger guys in clubhouse and in the box score.
Who will be the Rookie of the Year?
Brett Martin for me because he has absolutely dominated this spring. Working in relief, he has an ERA of 0.00 (not a typo) in 7 games so far, and I think he’ll be pitching in Arlington by June out of the pen the rest of the season, holding an ERA around 2.00. Martin will be a nice surprise for Rangers Nation and fans of the DFW.
Brock Burke – He’s a pitcher who made John Moore’s list of the Rangers Top 20 prospects on dalsportsnation.com. He has been solid in his time in the minors, holding an ERA around 3.00 over the past 2 years. His time will come, and the strong southpaw will make his name known in the second half of the season in Arlington.
Willie Calhoun – Although Willie didn’t make the major league club to start the year, I have no doubt that he’ll make his way back up this year. One of the most promising prospects in the Rangers’ system, he hit .294 in AAA last season and posted an OPS of .782. Look for him to continue his tear when he finally gets that call he deserves.
Shelby Miller – He was a low risk signing for Texas, but I think he struggles to get hitters out, and he ends up being designated for assignment. We see some young pitching called up. Let’s get Taylor Hearn, Brock Burke, or even Ariel Jurado up here in the rotation in Arlington at some point and get them some experience.
Willie Calhoun has been up and down in his short career. He has all the potential to be a great hitter and could be a solid outfielder. But after the Rangers opted for the veterans over youth, Calhoun was selected to stay in the minor leagues to begin the season. Now I hope I’m wrong, but it doesn’t look like there will be a spot on the active roster if he doesn’t push Choo and Pence. So unless an injury hits, his next chance in the majors could be his last.
As much as I hate to do this, I think the entire rotation will struggle, and ultimately be the downfall of this team. LeClerc signed his big deal, and Minor will be solid, but don’t look for more after that. The Rangers have put together a makeshift rotation, and even though on paper it doesn’t look bad, I’m more looking forward to the prospects that will be called up toward the end of the season. Look for Burke, Jurado, and Hearn to get time in the majors when the Rangers are out of the playoff race.
Jeff Mathis is an extremely defensive-minded catcher, which the Rangers could definitely use given the average age of the pitching staff. The offensive side is where I think Mathis will fall flat, as he has hit .200 or below in 7 of his 14 years in MLB. With no real power and a lack of plate discipline, I’m afraid his only usefulness will come behind the plate.
Who will be the Most Improved?
Joey Gallo – I still think his batting average hovers around .220 this season, but his OBP rises with his plate discipline. His walks will go up and I predict his OBP to be around .400, he hits 40 HR, AGAIN, and he has over 90 RBI. Gallo will take the next step this season and will develop into a more well rounded hitter.
Ronald Guzman, or the Condor, had a nice rookie season last year. He hit 16 HR with 58 RBI and held his own in the lineup at first base, producing highlight reel plays where he literally did the splits at first. Expect him to take a next step and blast past the 20 home run mark this year, showing the power we saw last year.
Delino DeShields has had an up and own career, but I think this is his year. He’s having a good spring, and has proven to succeed in the top spot of the order in the past. I think he sets a career high in batting average and stolen bases this year, cementing his spot as the starting center fielder of the team for the near future.
Joey Gallo – Gallo spent his offseason working on plate discipline and bunting to beat the shift, both things that he desperately has to improve on in 2019. His strikeout rate will still be high, but hopefully nowhere near the 33% rate he posted over the last two seasons. I expect him to hit around .230 with 40 HRs and 100 RBIs, to have his strikeout rate down and walk rate up considerably, and hopefully gain the ability to bunt against the shift.
Who Will Be The Minor League Player of the Year?
Anderson Tejada – I predict he finishes the year in Frisco after he hits over .300 in Down East. His power improves and he has 18 HR. Once he reaches Frisco, he’ll tear it up with a .290 batting and 4 HR in his final month. I know, it’s kind of specific, but I’m expecting a lot of growth for Tejada this year.
Julio Pablo Martinez – Remember, this isn’t just some young teenager straight out of high school. The man has proven to play at a high level before, and this year he’ll end up in Frisco at the least. While the Rangers have plenty of depth, Martinez should be on all of our radars to be pushing for a spot before next season, but he’s still only an injury or two away from the majors. I’m expecting a batting average over .300 and more than 10 HR from the young stud.
Scott Hineman is an above-average defensive outfielder that has an ability to reach base at an impressive rate. He hit .302 in AAA last season, and has developed his speed and power to become a versatile, all-around skilled player. I wouldn’t be surprised if he found himself on the big club this year, but even if he doesn’t, he is definitely someone to keep your eye on in the coming years.
Who Will Be The Minor League Pitcher of the Year?
DeMarcus Evans – While he’s starting as the Down East closer, I believe he ends the season in Arlington. He improves and dominates with sub 2.00 ERA and striking out 2 per inning before he even puts on a big league uniform. Evans is a player that could be a part of this bullpen for a long time coming with his power pitching approach.
Joe Palumbo – The lefty will continue his rise in the minors, and if he starts out in Frisco, he could will be pitching in the majors by the end of the season. The fact that he’s a starting pitcher will only make Texas want to make sure he develops as much as he can, and the fact that he’ll produce an ERA under 3.00 this year will help his confidence even more.
Taylor Hearn spent last year at AA Frisco, where he was a regular in the rotation. He could make a move to the bullpen this season, and I think that would only increase his potential. With a 98+ mph fastball and an extremely effective changeup, I think he will turn some heads this year as he prepares to join the big league team.
How will the Rangers Finish?
John Moore – 3rd Place 79-83
My Rangers will finish in 3rd place in the AL West, which isn’t bad considering the shape of the pitching staff at the beginning of the year. I think they start slow, trying to find their feet with new manager Chris Woodward, but eventually come on strong in the end, flashing signs of life with their young pitching prospects in Martin, Burke, Jurado, and maybe more.
Joe Carrillo – 4th Place 72-90
The Rangers, as much as I love them, are in for a long season. They’ll start strong, even though the team has a makeshift rotation. I think the offense comes alive at times, but in the end, the pitching will be too inconsistent. I’d want to see some young pitchers at some point, but I’m not expecting too much this season when it comes to competing for playoffs.
Rudy Argueta – 3rd Place 78-84
I think the most underrated piece of this puzzle is Chris Woodward. 2018 left the Rangers in shambles, with 67 wins and almost 100 losses. Woodward is a players coach, and communication will be key to growing a young team for the future. I think we will see some great things from this team, but it will take time, and Woodward is the man who will help this team immensely.
Chris Silvey – 4th Place 76-86
I don’t expect for Texas to compete, but I do think that they have a better team than people around the league seem to think. The pitching staff is a work-in-progress, but with a combination of veteran starters, young relivers, and a good defensive catcher, it might just work out. Offensively, our lineup looks better now than it did at this point last year. Texas will be top 10 in homeruns, and I think they have a lineup that could compete in the next few years. Guys like Odor, Guzman, and Gallo will continue to get quality at-bats to build on and I think there’s a bright future in sight for the Rangers.
There you have it folks. This is Rangers Nation of Dallas Sports Nation and our WAAYY too early predictions for the 2019 season.
Featured Image: Globe Life Stadium Scene Staff