The Texas Rangers won the American League West last season despite sitting below .500 at the end of July. They got hot at the right time and blew past the Astros and Angels to earn a 2015 playoff berth. With some key additions and a healthy roster, look for Texas to be in the mix again to defend their AL West title.
At the trade deadline last year, they snagged Cole Hamels who not only helped them down the stretch in 2015 but signed on for another three years. He joins Derek Holland and Martin Perez in the rotation who are both finally healthy and should contribute nicely this season. Texas’ bullpen is among the elite in the AL with Shawn Tolleson, Sam Dyson and Keone Kela who can all step in as closers along with Tom Wilhelmsen and Jake Diekman who can be the bridge for the late inning specialists.
Last season, the Rangers scored the third highest amount of runs in MLB thanks in part to right fielder Shin-Soo Choo and DH Prince Fielder. While third baseman Adrian Beltre wasn’t as productive as usual in 2015, the 37 year old should still contribute to the team’s offense this year. Perhaps the Rangers biggest
off season acquisition was Ian Desmond who signed with the club for one year to play left field. Normally at short stop, Desmond has never played in the outfield as a pro so it will certainly be an adjustment while he gets a feel for the position. The Rangers farm system is brimming with talented prospects who are either ready or very close to contribute at the major league level should the situation arise.
The American League West should be a tough division in 2016 with the Angels and Astros both showing signs of improvement during Spring Training. If this Rangers team can remain healthy and get the type of production needed from the core group of veterans, they can find themselves in the hunt for the post season again this year. Grab a dog, some popcorn and your Texas Rangers tickets and head to the ballpark this summer to cheer these guys on.
The Texas Rangers are one of the younger baseball teams in the MLB. They started briefly as the second professional baseball team in the nation’s capital in the 1960s, but moved to Texas since financial constraints made life difficult in D.C. This is not to suggest the move to a suburb north of Dallas resulted in anymore wins.
Wins, consistent wins, did not come until the late 1990s. Previous to these three AL West division wins the most exciting part of watching the Rangers was getting to see Nolan Ryan throw a no-hitter or eing lucky enough to see a roster full of sluggers pound the ball out of the park in the humid summer days and nights in Texas.
These winning Rangers teams (at the end of the 20th century) had Ivan Rodriguez, Dean Palmer, Juan Gonzalez, and Mickey Tettleton boosting the club’s slugging percentage. Texas’s pitching staff was certainly unappreciated by the majority of the rest of the MLB. It seemed the front office was always able to at least get a couple front end starters to make the team competitive. Whether it was Ken Hill and Bobby Witt or Rick Heiling and Aaron Sele, the baseball team was able to take the AL West three times in five years. Unfortunately, time and time again the Yankees stood in their way.
The Rangers veered back into futility to begin the 21st century. They would not find their winning way until the beginning of the second decade. Perennial 90-plus game winners with players like Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, and Ian Kinsler, the franchise even played in its first two World Series. The club lost both, first to the Giants and second to the Cardinals, but they show no signs failing to return sometime soon.