|C||Jarrod Saltalamacchia||SP 1||Scott Feldman|
|1B||Chris Davis||SP 2||Rich Harden|
|2B||Ian Kinsler||SP 3||Colby Lewis|
|3B||Michael Young||SP 4||Tommy Hunter|
|SS||Elvis Andrus||SP 5||Derek Holland|
|CF||Julio Borbon||CL||Frank Francisco|
|RF||Nelson Cruz||RP||C.J. Wilson|
|DH||Vladimir Guerrero||RP||Neftali Feliz|
|C||Taylor Teagarden||RP||Chris Ray|
|OF||David Murphy||RP||Brandon McCarthy|
Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.
|Key Additions||Key Losses|
|SP||Rich Harden||Free Agency||C||Ivan Rodriguez||Free Agency|
|DH||Vladimir Guerrero||Free Agency||SP||Kevin Millwood||Trade (BAL)|
|RP||Chris Ray||Trade (BAL)||3B||Hank Blalock||Free Agency|
Top Prospects: Justin Smoak (1B), Marin Perez (P), Tanner Scheppers (P)
The Rangers came into the 2009 season with the same problem that they have had in many of the past seasons: not enough pitching. They had been coming off of a rebuilding effort, and were unlikely to be particularly competitive in the weaker AL West division. So much for that theory. The Rangers finished 87-75, good for 2nd in the AL West. They were led by excellent performances by 2B Ian Kinsler (31 HR, 31 SB), RF Nelson Cruz (33 HR, 20 SB), and 3B Michael Young (.322, 22 HR). Offense was not really considered likely to be the problem for the Rangers, but first year pitching coach Mike Maddux was able to help improve bring out the best in starter Scott Feldman. Feldman finished with a 17-8 record, leading the staff. The rebuilding efforts also started to show some returns, with SS Elvis Andrus and RP Neftali Feliz both having a large impact on their season. Both players were acquired in the Mark Teixeira trade from two seasons prior.
Team Outlook for 2010
The Rangers looked to help address what was perceived to be a weakness in the rotation, signing free agents Rich Harden and Colby Lewis to help anchor the rotation with Feldman. They will also see young OF Julio Borbon start the season as the starter, and should provide quite a bit of speed at the top of the Rangers batting order. I really liked the signing of Vladimir Guerrero, as he should provide a lot of power out of the DH spot.
The AL West has become surprisingly competitive, as the Rangers finished in 2nd place last year. They actually look like they will be competitive, but I think that they will need ace-level performance out of Rich Harden, and a solid 3rd starter in Colby Lewis. Neither of these things are a given unfortunately. The offense will carry this team most likely, but they’re going to need some excellent pitching. They do have more help coming potentially, although it seems more likely to be on the offense side with Justin Smoak.
Fantasy Outlook for 2010
2B Ian Kinsler, 3B Michael Young, and LF Josh Hamilton are the top fantasy players in terms of ranking. Hamilton is coming back from what was essentially a lost season, and will be moving from CF to LF. Julio Borbon is the reason for this move, and should also provide quite a bit of fantasy value. On the pitching side, Scott Feldman is a pitcher I would actually be concerned about, as a lot of his fantasy value last season came from his high win total. Another to watch: Colby Lewis is coming off of two very good seasons (albeit in Japan), where he posted excellent strikeout rates. He should be someone to watch for in your drafts as well.
Prediction for 2010
The Rangers have definitely improved since the start of last season, and should still be considered to be working on their rebuilding efforts. They should compete in the division, but I think that unless they have a lot of luck go their way, they are not going to win the division. But look out for them in 2011 as well.
86-76, T-2nd in the AL West