Key Additions: Vladimir Guerrero and Rich Harden
Key Subtractions: Kevin Millwood, Hank Blalock, Marlon Byrd, Andruw Jones , Omar Vizquel, and Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez
CF Julio Borbon
3B Michael Young
LF Josh Hamilton
DH Vladimir Guerrero
2B Ian Kinsler
RF Nelson Cruz
1B Chris Davis
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia*
SS Elvis Andrus
(*Salty is having some health issues so it might be Teagarden or Treanor who they just traded for)
RHP Scott Feldman
RHP Rich Harden
RHP Colby Lewis
RHP Tommy Hunter
LHP Derek Holland
(**Brandon McCarthy could also earn a spot somewhere among the starters if he can stay healthy)
Closer: RHP Frank Francisco
The biggest strength of the Texas Rangers is their farm system. I am honestly shocked myself. For the second year in a row, they have been ranked by several sites as having the top farm system in the majors. This is the reason that despite all of the key losses
this year for the Rangers, they still should contend. The organization has spent the last several years trading away good players (A-Rod, Tex, Soriano, and others) to get some of the best prospects in the country (5 of the top 100 prospects). Between Justin Smoak, Neftali Feliz, and Martin Perez the Rangers are loaded.
Another strength is the core of the team that is coming back again this year. Elvis Andrus was close to winning AL ROY last year and is an up and coming stud in the game. Borbon is incredibly fast. Cruz, Davis, and Hamilton all have amazing power. Then you throw in the veteran leadership from Kinsler and Young and you have a team that is set to compete in the AL West this year.
Two words: Health and Stamina. The team has to stay healthy. Josh Hamilton is a walking hospital ward. Every time you turn around he is hurt. Saltalamacchia is also banged up. Then you toss in Brandon McCarthy – he has so much potential…but he can’t seem to stay on the field. The team will need all three of these guys to stay healthy if they are going to succeed.
As for stamina – it applies to each player as well as the team as a whole. The team did so well last year at the beginning of the year but they just seemed to run out of smoke by the end of the season. The guys will need to learn how to put together an entire season if they want to win the West. I think part of this will come with age but it is something they need to learn.
Last year the team finished 87-75. I expect that with the group of players coming back again this year getting to play together another year will only make the team better. I predict that they will get to 90 wins this year and finish with a 90-72 record.
Those are my thoughts…what about yours?