Article Written By: Julian Beck
2013 Record: 91-72 (2nd in AL West)
Key Additions: Prince Fielder, Shin-Soo Choo, J.P. Arencibia
Ley Loses: Ian Kinsler, Joe Nathan, Nelson Cruz (unsigned), Matt Garza, A.J. Pierzynski, David Murphy, Craig Gentry
Most important players for 2014: Elvis Andrus, Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre, Shin-Soo Choo, J.P. Arencibia, Yu Darvish, Netali Feliz
Even after losing Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli and Michael Young last offseason, the Texas Rangers offense should once again be one of the best in baseball with the additions of Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo this offseason.
Prince Fielder is one of the best power hitters in all of baseball. Not only does he hit for power, he also hits for great average. When opposing teams shift to cover the right field of the diamond, it doesn’t help like they’d want. Fielder has the ability to hit to all parts of the field. One of the best attributes for Fielder is his ability to drive in runs at any time. Look for him to hit 40+ homers and drive in 100+ RBIs in 2014.
Shin-Soo Choo is one of the best lead-off hitters, if not the best, in the MLB. He has great power, contact, and speed. He is a doubles-machine, reaching scoring position in one swing of the bat. Choo is also able to win games single-handedly with his ability to start the game off with a lead-off home-run. Once Choo reaches first base, just pencil him into second. He is a speedster that many teams forget about. If he is able to cut down on his strikeout rate and increase his walk rate, then the Rangers may have found a great player that will help contended for a championship.
J.P Arencibia is a great signing, filling the vacant catcher position. Arencibia is young and has amazing pop in his bat. He won’t blow you away with his catching ability, contact rate, or on-base percentage. Arencibia is still raw and with great coaching he can show why the Blue Jays should’ve kept him.
The pitching staff was dealt a blow with Derek Holland sidelined until midseason, though, and the team could look to add another arm before the offseason is over
Yu Darvish will be the savior of this weak starting rotation. Darvish had an amazing year in 2013. Winning 13 games and striking out 277 batters. He has the ability to shut down any team when he takes the mound. His pitches are unreal, leaving batters in confusion on what they just saw in the batters box. Darvish will be in the CY Young contention for many years to come.
The bullpen is also something of a question with Joe Nathan gone, though Neftali Feliz and Joakim Soria have closer experience. Look for Feliz to take control of the closer role once again. He didn’t throw at all in 2013 and looks to have a bounce back year in 2014. As a starter he struggled with his control and looked fatigued at times. He is very comfortable in the closer role, and will shine at it again.
How will the Rangers look in 2014? They lost many great players but also signed two top free agents. They will have yet another potent offense. Adrian Beltre will not have to do everything on his own now, having Fielder and Choo chip in a lot. The rotation will be carried by Darvish, but after him the pitching takes a steep decline. They will look to sign another arm during the off-season. Look for the Rangers to make the playoffs once again.