Won/Loss (place in division) & Playoffs: 77-85 (4th), missed playoffs
Offense: 706 runs (14th)
Pitching: 4.66 ERA (12th)
Major ChangesFA Departures: IF Wilfredo Vazquez, SP Alfredo Torrealba, RP Vic Olmeda
FA Signees: RP Chris Coppinger, C Don Towers, CF Andy Wagner
Lurking in AAA: 3B Reagan Cuddyer (Sea 18 #34 overall), OF Lucas Ford (Sea 18 #9 overall), OF Pascual Astacio (Sea 18 IFA)
Season 21 Outlook
The Texas offense is a bit of an oddity - it's a non-slugging (last in HR's), speedburner (2nd in SB's) lineup in a hitter's ballpark. 2B Howie Simmons (48-3) and 1B Rafael Sosa (36-6) are the 2 most prolific thieves, although Simmons starts the season on the 15-day DL. He could be Wally-Pipped when he returns - with Wagner taking over CF, Del Chang is now set at 2B, leaving no clear spot for Simmons. 3B currently has no clear successor to Vazquez - prospect Cuddyer may be there in 20 games. Chang (26 HR's & 96 RBI, but he'll need to improve that .294 OBP), Sosa (.252/18/72) and DH Bryce White (.269/17/74) are the prime run-producers.
The staff may experience some post-Torrrealba adjustments. Benito Acosta is undoubtedly an ace-level talent, but seems to be limited to about 150 innings. He'll be the most-of-the-time #1 starter. Les Price had his best ML season last year, and the Rangers desperately need something similar from him. The other SP candidates - Marrero, Stark, Beam and Rowand - very honestly, are barely ML-quality.
The short-relief crew - Adam Friend, Hector Franco and Coppinger - is pretty solid. I don't know how many leads they're going to inherit, but they should do OK with the ones they get.
Looks like kind of a tough season coming for the Rangers (and I've certainly been wrong about predictions a lot). That starting staff is more than likely going to put them in a lot of early game 5-0 holes - not exactly ideal for an offense centered around stealing bases. It might be time for Texas to try to remake this thing into more of a get-on-base, hit-for-power squad. With that in mind, I bet we'll see both AAA OF prospects (Ford and Astacio) early on.