Baseball season is finally here. Pitchers and catchers started reporting this week which means spring is in the air. For the past couple of weeks various outlets have released their projections for the 2021 season. ESPN, Baseball America, Yahoo!, MLB.com and Fangraphs have all weighed in one way or another. As a fan of the Texas Rangers it was not surprising but also defeating to read that everyone has the Texas Rangers finishing in last place with between 67-69 wins. It’s fine to have low expectations coming into a rebuilding season but don’t let the prognosticators fuel your feelings.


One thing that surprised me was the fact that almost everyone has the Astros finishing first with the defending division champion Athletics finishing third. Second place? The Los Angeles Angels. Now I have paid attention to the offseason and cannot find a reason for the Angels surge and A’s decline. The only thing I can think of is the media’s love for the Angels’ Mike Trout and manager Joe Maddon. Albert Pujols continues to decline and Shohei Ohtani really has not lived up to the hype. Their pitching is still questionable and they cannot depend on Trout and Anthony Rendon to carry the team. Then you look at the A’s. Not much has changed. Maybe Elvis Andrus will have a rebirth on the west coast. And today they signed good luck charm Mitch Moreland. Moreland was part of successful teams in Texas, Boston and, last season, the Padres.


Now we go back to the Rangers. Fangraphs ranked their bullpen as the fourth best in baseball. That was the only positive prediction I’ve seen. Yes they did trade away Rafael Montero in the offseason but they still have plenty of good young arms. The pen started out sluggish last season but when all the pieces finally fell into place they finished strong and should continue to do so this season. The good thing about the bullpen is that you hope the starters can give you at least five to six good innings and then let them close it out the rest of the way. Then you have to look at the offense and newly added pieces like David Dahl, Nate Lowe and Khris Davis to go along with Joey Gallo and company. It is definitely an upgrade over last season.


Now there is an alternative to focusing on projections that you, as a fan, can do: simple research. All it takes is going over player stats at fangraphs or baseball reference to give you an idea of how a player should do this season. For example, looking at Rougned Odor’s past couple of seasons show that he is declining and will probably continue to do so. Isiah Kiner-Falefa is trending upwards and should continue to build on gold glove award-winning season. One player that bucked that trend was Danny Santana. For him he a had a good season every other year. It was an anomaly. You were never sure which one was showing up.


I do season projections every year but I like to wait until near the end of spring training. The reason for that is there are still trades to be made, free agents to be signed, and there is always the possibility of an injury that could alter a team’s season. This is also another reason why I tell people not to put too much stock in projections. Other people just do them way too early.


While this team isn’t going to win the division it does look like it will be a fun one to watch just like the 2008 team was. You could tell then that this team was on the verge of something special. I believe it is the same with this team.


Until next time, I’ll see you in the cheap seats!

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