The Texas Rangers offseason is officially underway and the club has not wasted any time getting to work. The Rangers’ managerial search has already begun with both Tony Beasley and Bruce Bochy having met with the front office
Texas also got underway on the players side of things when GM and president of baseball operations Chris Young met with all-star pitcher Martin Perez last Wednesday. Without a doubt, the Rangers will also be in on the big-name starters on the market this winter such as Clayton Kershaw, Jacob deGrom, Carlos Rodon, and many others.
If you’re like me and you already miss Rangers baseball, chances are you’re already thinking about 2023 Opening Day. With the offseason having only been rolling for a little more than two weeks, let’s take a crack at predicting the 2023 Rangers Opening Day lineup.
C Jonah Heim – It’s highly likely that the two catchers (Jonah Heim and Mitch Garver) going into last season are going to be the two catchers going into this season. It’s still unclear precisely what Mitch Garver’s workload will be to start next season after having forearm surgery on July 11th. That said, I’m giving the start behind the dish to Heim. Jonah showed massive improvements this season after getting consistent playing time. Heim was one of the best defensive catchers in baseball this season but was a bit inconsistent at the plate. 2023 will be a big year for Heim as he will look to have a consistent season with the bat and truly prove himself
1B Nathaniel Lowe – The Rangers’ best offensive player this season was Nathaniel Lowe. The left-handed hitting first baseman finished the season hitting .302 with 27 home runs and 76 RBIs. Coming into the year, the Rangers knew that Lowe needed to take a step forward, and he did that and some. Lowe went on to prove himself as the first baseman of the future and one of the key offensive pieces for this team’s bright future.
2B Marcus Semien – Remember in April when people were asking if Marcus Semien “robbed” the Rangers? Those questions were quickly answered by Semien who had a pretty solid season this year. Semien hit .248 with 26 home runs and 83 RBIs. Marcus also joined the 20/20 club by pairing those 26 home runs with 25 stolen bases (9th in MLB). You really can’t judge a player by the first season of a mega deal like the one Semien has but the truth is that Marcus is a war guy. He put up a war of 5.7 this year and will continue to hold down the second base spot for the Rangers for many years to come.
SS Corey Seager – I don’t like there is any doubt about this one. When Corey Seager was heating up at the plate around the all-star break he was almost impossible to get out. This season the big slugging lefty set an MLB record for the most home runs by a left-handed hitting shortstop in MLB history (33). Seager was brought in to be more of the quiet superstar and I think he will take a step forward next season now that he is comfortable playing here in the Lone Star State.
3B Josh Jung – As of right now, I don’t think that Jung has completely already won the third base job. That’s not at all a knock on Jung but more of the fact that his call to the bigs came so late in the season. In the short time he did have in the show Jung hit .204/.235/.418/.653 (20-for-98) with 41 total bases, four doubles, one triple, five home runs, and 14 RBI. He walked four times and struck out 39 times. The strikeouts and low batting average were a tad bit alarming for Jung but nothing to lose sleep over. At the end of the day, I still think that Jung will win the third base job and have a solid rookie season in 2023.
LF Andrew Benintendi – This is the first and only external addition I have on this list. The Rangers should be looking to find another bat on the free-agent market. Benintendi is the perfect, inexpensive but still effective option. Benintendi hit .304 in 2022 which would have been the highest mark on the Rangers team. The left-handed contact hitter would be the perfect addition to the middle of the Rangers lineup which owner Ray Davis said they would be looking for. This would, however, take a spot away from guys like Josh Smith, Ezequiel Duran, and many others but overall I’d say it’s worth it as it gives Texas a good chance to compete in 2023.
CF Leody Tavares – I think this year Leody Tavares proved himself as the center fielder of the future or at least the immediate future. Tavares was a bit inconsistent this season but this was the first bit of consistency we have seen from Tavares at this level. He is able to impact the game in so many ways with his defense and his speed on the bases and in center. Tavares is likely to get the first crack in center next year. 2023 will be another big year for Leody to prove himself as the true center fielder of the future for this team.
RF Adolis Garcia – Coming into the season Adolis Garcia was labeled as “inconsistent’ or a “One half wonder”. Those claims were put to rest this season. Garcia had a very consistent season this year hitting .250 with 27 home runs and 101 RBIs. El Bombi also joined Marcus Semien in the 20/20 club as they became the first pair of 20/20 teammates in Rangers history. It will be intriguing to see if Garcia can keep it up throughout multiple seasons.
DH Mitch Garver – The Rangers do expect Mitch Garver to be back for Spring Training in 2023 after having season-ending surgery last season (previously mentioned). The main question to be answered is what will Garver’s workload be. I do expect him to be mostly in the DH role (with the occasional start behind the plate) to begin the season, so I’ll give him that spot now. Garver never really had enough time to find his footing here in Texas so it would be of big help if he were able to do so in 2023.
At the end of the day, this Rangers lineup will be good in 2023. Will they be able to have some solid pitching? Well, that remains to be seen, However, the future is bright for baseball in Texas.