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2018 MLB Preview: Texas Rangers

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A look at the Texas Rangers with fantasy baseball in mind.

Rougned Odor finished the season #30 at 2B. What can we expect from him and his teammates in 2018?
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Basic Stats:

Final Record: 78-84
Runs: 9th
Home Runs: 3rd
Stolen Bases: 4th
ERA: 21st
Saves: 29th
Strikeouts: 30th

The Texas Rangers had a pretty bad year. Despite losing just 6 times more than they won, the Rangers failed in just about every expectation coming into 2017. Looking at the team stats, it is clear this is a high-powered offense with a terrible pitching staff. The interesting stat to consider with the offense though is the team batting average. Despite scoring the 9th most runs and hitting the 3rd most HR, the Rangers had a team batting average of just .244. That’s the 3rd lowest mark in the AL. As for the pitching staff, the year started horrible. Sam Dyson was dreadful and was eventually cut. This led to a Russian roulette at the closer position between the likes of Matt Bush, Alex Claudio, and Keone Kela, among a few others. Hence, the Rangers had the 2nd lowest save total in MLB. Their starting rotation was full of low K/9 guys as well. In today’s fantasy landscape, it’s hard to roster those kinds of pitchers.

Let’s take a look towards 2018.

The Superstar: Elvis Andrus

The lone bright spot in the lone star state’s Rangers was Elvis Andrus. Andrus crushed a career high 20 HR while also stealing 25 bags. He coupled that with a .297 average and career highs in both RBI (88) and runs scored (100). This made Andrus the #20 overall player in fantasy as well as the #1 SS. The concern here is that Andrus hit just 35 HR over his first 8 seasons combined. Can we expect this power to continue? If it does, Andrus is an easy top 50 pick in drafts.

The Sleeper: Delino DeShields

This spot could go to Adrian Beltre. Beltre had an injury plagued season but performed well when he played. I’m not shying away from the soon to be 39-year-old but he is a pretty well-known commodity at this point. DeShields finished 2017 with 75 runs and 29 SB. This actually made him a top 50 OF in standard roto. All of this is factoring in that DeShields only had 376 AB all season. If he gets 500 AB in 2018, we could be looking at a 100 run 40 SB season from DeShields.

The Guy to Avoid: Rougned Odor

I had Odor as a bust in 2017 and he’s the leading candidate to earn those honors again in 2018. Despite a 30 HR 15 SB season, Odor finished the year as the #30 2B in fantasy. How exactly does that happen? Well, the .204 AVG has a lot to do with it. He also played all 162 games. Normally this is a great stat to consider, unfortunately for Odor owners, they received 607 AB with a .204/.252/.397 slash line. If you really want a high power low average player, take Odor’s teammate Joey Gallo. He has more power and you can get him later in your drafts. Although, I strongly recommend staying away from both!

The Prospect To Watch: Willie Calhoun

Acquired in the Yu Darvish trade, Calhoun enters next year as the Rangers prospect with the most to offer fantasy owners. Calhoun was initially listed as a 2B/OF dual eligible player. He played 11 of his 13 big league games at OF to finish off 2017 and will most likely be OF only on most sites next season. Calhoun hit .265 with 1 HR and 4 RBI in his brief appearance. His minor league numbers are where we should focus here. Calhoun hit .286/.348/.520 over 3 seasons between all levels of the minors. He averaged 29 HR and 91 RBI over the past 2 years. Calhoun might be a DH only player but his power numbers are very impressive. Couple that with a 0.74 BB/K ratio in the minors and feel comfortable Calhoun should have a solid batting average. Calhoun is worth keeping an eye on in 2018.