Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Uncustomed Heroes of 2022: Rangers


The 2022 Rangers were further along than any recent Rangers team, with a solid core of Adolis Garcia, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien and Nate Lowe ruling the team, a pretty solid four-man rotation of Perez-Dunning-Otto-Gray, and a lot of really sneaky players in the bullpen and infield that seemed to foreshadow future greatness. Granted, from August 27th to the end of the year they only won 10 games and flushed themselves out of a wild card race in time for the rise of the Mariners, is coming. DeGrom, Heaney and, I assume, Josh Jung are on the way.

With DeGrom, Heaney and Odo factoring into the rotation, and Dunning, Perez and Gray fixtures at the moment, it begs the question of what's going to happen to Glenn Otto, who's now lowest on this depth chart and will likely be relieving if he doesn't do well in the Spring. Otto started 27 games this year, with a 4.64 ERA and 107 strikeouts. He had the most unspectacular year of any of the starters, so if anyone's gonna get demoted it'll likely be him, but he's a strong innings eater. Maybe he'll be a long man. Hell, if deGrom gets injured like he usually does, maybe he WILL start.
2023 Prediction: At least 5 starts, but a 4ish ERA in relief.

Leody Taveras, in an outfield where only really Adolis Garcia is pinned down right now, is one of the surer bets the Rangers have right now. In 99 games, Taveras hit .261 with 34 RBIs and 81 hits. He seems like a handy guy to have around, and can be a useful outfield bat. Knowing the Rangers, they may eventually look for an upgrade, but I think he's coming into his own.
2023 Prediction: Starts all year, gets the fans on his side, 150 hits.

Though several young kids are in the running for a 3rd base job in Arlington, including Josh Smith and heir apparent Josh Jung, Ezequiel Duran, who the Rangers got for Joey Gallo, had a pretty interesting audition himself. Duran hit .236 in 58 games, with 25 RBIs and 5 homers. He got the most reps of any of the kids, and the Rangers might have confidence in him.
2023 Prediction: I think they're gonna go with Duran to start the season and he may lose the starting 3rd base job to Jung if he really blossoms, which I think he will.

Eli White's injury and Kole Calhoun's struggles led to a hole in the outfield, which paved the way for Bubba Thompson, a 2017 1st rounder that the Rangers had been waiting one for a while. Thompson hit .265 in 55 games, with 9 RBIs and 18 steals. Useful player, even if he did seem to blossom more in the back half.
2023 Prediction: I guess he'll be a bench/depth outfield piece? I don't know if he's a starter for this team.

...because Mark Mathias might give him a run for his money. Mathias was dealt to the Rangers in the Matt Bush deal, and Mathias was clearly the better piece of the trade, hitting .277 with 16 RBIs and 5 homers in 24 games, a huge statement even as the team was falling off. If Mathias can replicate that going forward, he'll be very useful for Texas.
2023 Prediction: Mark will be the new Brock Holt/Charlie Culberson type. Versatile, can play multiple places, and can take off at the plate whenever he wants.

Tomorrow, a surprisingly slim number of Tampa Bay Rays.

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