The 2020 season is over. I mean the goal was to bring in young players once the team realized what this team was: a bad team that needs to rebuild.
Right now, the Rangers are staring down the barrel of a young roster that is inexperienced, to say the least.
With that being said, there are some decisions that will need to be made this offseason in preparation for next season.
Evaluating the Lineup
Everyone saw what the Rangers did, and to be honest it was the best decision. They brought in the rookies to see where they stood in their development and if they could be MLB ready. There were mixed results with players like Nick Solak, Leody Taveras, Sam Huff, Eli White, and Sherten Apostel all coming in and trying to make their stamp in the game for the team.
Solak has obviously been the standout among the rookies, solidifying his spot on the roster in 2021. He has become an everyday player that can contribute at the plate consistently. He’s second in the American League with 52 hits among rookies, making the all-rookie team this season in the process.
Nick Solak spoke on gaining experience in the majors, saying:
“The more you play, the more you’re going to see guys, of course, the better you’re going to get. And then you start seeing guys that are similar to other guys, and you keep getting better.”
Solak is showing maturity already and is blossoming into a major league player on and off the field with the way he carries himself. He’ll be around a long time with this team.
Taveras proved he is an elite center fielder defensively that will help this team in the future. White struggled at the plate thus far, but he’s still a rookie and just needs to see more at-bats to get going. Defensively he’s solid, but offensively he needs to come alive and step up if he wants to stay in the majors. Players like Sherten Apostel, Anderson Tejeda, and Sam Huff have all proven at some point in the minors or the majors that they are talented players that can play at a high level.
At this point, they just need more experience at the highest level in order to raise their level of play to compete in the majors.
As for Huff himself, he just became the first rookie since Willie Calhoun to have a multi-home run game.
Sam Huff, with his second bomb of the evening, unties this game. @Rangers take a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the 5th. This kid came to play tonight.#TogetherWe pic.twitter.com/gHb82O8oNJ
— Bally Sports Southwest (@BallySportsSW) September 26, 2020
On to the veterans, players like Gallo, Andrus, Kiner-Falefa, Rougned Odor, Jose Leclerc, and company. Where to start? Let’s start with the former all-star outfielder Joey Gallo.
This season, Gallo is hitting just .171 at the plate with 10 home runs, compared to a .253 batting average in 2019 in 297 plate appearances.
Granted it’s a shortened season, but Gallo has not been his former self this season, taking a step back from 2019 according to manager Chris Woodward.
“I think he took a huge step forward last year, and not as quite of a huge step backward. He obviously hit homers a couple of years, and then he had half a year last year that he was really really good.. I think this year, the 60 game season, him not being fully ready when opening day came around, I think that kind of put him in a bad spot mentally. You know he didn’t have results right away, and I think that kind of gave him an anxious ‘I’m running out of time’ mentality. And that’s something he’s going to have to learn how to deal with.”
Joey Gallo was supposed to be a guy that the team could build around, but right now, he just looks like another player that is put around a superstar that the Rangers are still looking for.
Up next Isiah Kiner-Falefa. He’s probably the most improved player for this team, and he’s only proving day after day that he belongs on the team. Hitting .282 for the season, IKF finally grew into the player the Rangers hoped he would, becoming a stud of a defensive player and a hitter that is consistent at the plate.
He has a Michael Young feel about his demeanor, and IKF said this about what he’s taken from this season.
“Just the experience aside of playing every day for the first time in the big leagues. The way I took care of my body.. just the differences in the way my body felt on my preparation and just going about my business.”
With the rise of IKF and Solak, we see the change in power from Elvis Andrus, in a passing of the torch type of season. Andrus has always been a high energy player, and with the retirement of Adrian Beltre, everyone expected Andrus to become the leader of the clubhouse.
The thing is, he is a leader, but his play has dropped to a level that forced the team to bring in the young players to see what they have. Andrus is hitting .194 at the plate, easily the worst of his career, but he’s also been slowing down over the past couple of seasons.
Danny Santana was supposed to prove that last season wasn’t a fluke, but what he proved was that he’s a bit injury prone and that we can’t trust that last season WASN’T a fluke. He only played in 15 games this season and was dealing with an arm injury most of the season. He had surgery and is looking at an eight-month recovery period, likely forcing the Rangers to let him go after his contract expires. Santana isn’t a bad player, but he’s not what we once saw in 2019, making the chances of him coming back on a multi-year contract very slim. If he returns, it’ll be on a minor league deal.
Shin Soo-Choo has been one of the best hitters for the Rangers over the past few seasons, but he’s now 38 years old and at the end of his contract. The Rangers have already shown that they’re moving in the younger direction with the team, but don’t count out a reunion next season. Over the past 3 seasons, Choo has hit .261 and earned 183 walks with 24 home runs coming when he leads off an inning. Choo is the veteran that younger players can learn from, and the Rangers know that he’s a great asset to this roster.
The Rangers have their biggest offseason to date on their hands coming up, and with so many young players, veterans, expiring contracts staring at them in the face, the team has one decision to make: it’s time to build with the youth of the organization.
The 2021 Texas Rangers will be a new-look team, but with the amount of talent on hand, it’ll only get more exciting.
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