For the first time in a long time, Rangers fans are coming into Spring Training with a sense of hope and optimism for what’s to come in 2023. GM Chris Young echoed that sentiment at his introductory press conference at Spring Training. Young said “ I think we’re excited, we’re very optimistic, we feel like we’ve had a very good offseason [and] the roster is much improved.
With pitchers and catchers reporting on Wednesday baseball is right around the corner. Let’s take a way too early shot at predicting the Rangers 26 man roster.
Catcher – Jonah Heim, Mitch Garver – Mitch Garver is back behind the plate in 2023 after having season-ending surgery on his flexor tendon. Jonah Heim will likely get the majority of the time behind the plate with Garver recovering. However, the Rangers dodged a bullet with Graver being back and ready to catch for the start of 2023.
1B – Nathaniel Lowe – This is one of the no-brainers here on this list. The reigning Al silver slugger first basemen will be back manning the position in 2023. The main question for Lowe is whether or not he can have another elite season like he did last year.
2B – Marcus Semien – The second base position will be held down by Marcus Semein for the next six seasons. With year one in Texas behind him, Marcus Semien is headed for a big second season in the Lone Star State.
SS Corey Seager – The Rangers are locked into having Seager as their shortstop for the next nine seasons. Seager is set to thrive this year with the elimination of the shift. Much like Semien, I expect a big year two for Seager in Texas.
3B – Josh Jung – The Rangers’ top prospect is ready for his first full season in the big leagues this year. Jung got his first taste of the show last year where he played just 26 games. However, if the Rangers really want to surprise some people this year, Jung will need to have a big season.
Outfielders – Adolis Garcia, Leody Tavares, Bubba Thompson – The only really surprising thing here is that I think that Bubba Thompson is going to win the starting left-field position. This could completely change in Spring Training so it’s really just a guess at this point who gets that spot. Adolis Garcia has solidified himself as a key piece of the team’s future and he will hold down right field this season. The speedy Leody Tavares, finally had some sustained success at the big league level last season and will likely get the first crack at center field this year. This is a big year for Tavares as he needs to prove that he can succeed in the show for a full season.
Bench – Mark Mathias, Josh Smith, Brad Miller, Ezequiel Duran – I think people are sleeping on Brad Miller this season. That sounds crazy but Miller was hurt pretty much all of last season and I think he’s going to rebound and play more like the player that he was in Philidelphia when the Rangers signed him. Mark Mathias is someone who I feel will get a lot of ABs at the DH position along with Mitch Garver. When it comes to Josh Smith and Ezequiel Duran, I’m interested to see if both will still be on the team when camp breaks. Assuming that the Rangers do still have both, they’ll provide the versatility the Rangers need off the bench with their ability to play both the outfield and the infield.
Starting Pitchers – Jacob deGrom, Martin Perez, Nathan Eovaldi, Jon Gray, Andrew Heaney, Jake Odorizzi – One of the biggest storylines in all of baseball this offseason was the Rangers completely revamping their starting rotation. The addition of Jacob deGrom gives them an instant ace and bringing in Eovaldi, Heaney, and, Odorizzi, as well as bringing back Perez and Gray gives the Rangers (If healthy) one of the best rotations in the league. I personally think that this team will find themselves going with a six-man rotation at least to start the season because of the injury history of their starters and wanting to keep guys fresh and healthy.
Bullpen – Brock Burke, Jonathan Hernandez, Jose Leclerc, Dane Dunning, Glenn Otto, Ian Kennedy, Taylor Hearn – The biggest thing this year for the Rangers in my opinion will be “How well does the bullpen perform?”. The additions of Glenn Otto and Dane Dunning back there should give the Rangers some more multi-inning options. Brock Burke is back after posting a 1.97 ERA last season. I think Ian Kennedy and Taylor Hearn will be pleasant surprises out of the pen this season. Hearn had some success out of the bullpen last season and with the Rangers bringing back Ian Kenndy they are hoping he has a similar season to the one he did in the first half of 2021. Jose Leclerc and Jonathan Hernandez will be relied on to be key pieces in the back end of this bullpen.