2024 Texas Rangers Season Preview

Texas Rangers
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The Texas Rangers are ready to defend their World Series title in 2024. Their thrilling triumph over the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2023 is still buzzing throughout the Lone Star state. Under the watchful eye of manager Bruce Bochy, the Rangers are poised to have another great season. Just like any other team, however, they enter the 2024 campaign with their share of challenges. From questions surrounding their injuries to the uncertainty surrounding the back end of their bullpen, the Rangers have a long road ahead of them. With that said, here is a preview of the 2024 Texas Rangers.

Various Injuries

The Rangers have several players who are coming off injuries, and several who will be on the shelf until June at the latest. Shortstop Corey Seager and third baseman Josh Jung returned to the active roster in the final week of spring training. Seager is coming off surgery due to a sports hernia and Jung has been dealing with a low-grade left calf strain. Last year, Seager hit .285 with 27 home runs and 79 RBI. He had a fine season despite missing 43 games during the regular season while dealing with the sports hernia. Jung, meanwhile, hit .266 with 23 homers while driving in 70.

The return of Seager and Jung is welcomed news for the Rangers. To further complicate things, they had to put first baseman Nathaniel Lowe on the Injured List in mid-March. Lowe, who won a Silver Slugger in 2022 and a Gold Glove in 2023, said he strained his oblique hitting, but added it’s more of a “wear and tear” injury and can’t pinpoint exactly when it first arose. He should be back in late April or early May. Lowe hit .262 in 2023 with 17 home runs and 82 RBI. The Rangers also have Jacob deGrom (Tommy John surgery), Max Scherzer (low-grade teres major muscle strain) optimistically scheduled to return before the All-Star Break.

Catchers

The Rangers have one of the best starting backstops in the majors in fan-favorite Jonah Heim. A fierce competitor on the field and a genuinely good human being off the field, Heim put up decent numbers in 131 games last season. He hit .258 with 18 dingers and 95 RBI. He not only helped the Rangers win the World Series, but he also netted the first All-Star selection of his young career.

To back up Heim, the Rangers signed free agent Andrew Knizner to a one-year, $8.1 million contract in early January. Knizner hit .241 last season with a .712 OPS in 70 games with the St. Louis Cardinals. He can easily catch multiple times per week behind Heim if and when it’s necessary. Last season, he posted career highs in homers (10), RBI (31), doubles (11), extra-base hits (21) and runs (30). If an injury plagues Heim or Knizer, the Rangers have Sam Huff waiting in the minors. In 2023, Huff appeared in 21 games for the Rangers, hitting .256 with three home runs and six RBI.

Infielders

With the return of Seager and Jung, the 2024 Texas Rangers’ infield looks to be very crowded. When Nathaniel Lowe returns in late April or early May, it will get even more crowded at first base. Until that happens, look for 26-year-old Josh Smith to make an impression at first base. Smith appeared in 90 games for the Rangers in 2023. During that stretch, he hit .185 with six homers, 15 RBI, and an OPS of .632. He can also play third base as well.

From here, we slide over to second base, where Marcus Semien looks to play in all 162 regular season games for the second consecutive year, and the fourth time in his career. In 2023, Semien hit .276 with 29 dingers, and 100 RBI. He had an elevated strikeout total of 110, so look for him to try and improve on that this year. The Rangers also have Ezequiel Duran and Jose Barrero as infield options as well.

Outfielders

The Rangers’ outfield is one of the best in the majors, both offensively and defensively. First, you have the elder statesman of the group in Adolis Garcia in right field. In 555 at-bats in 2023, Garcia didn’t disappoint. He had 39 homers and 107 RBI. Three of those home runs came in an 18-3 win against the Oakland Athletics on April 22 at Globe Life Field. Garcia also has a rocket for an arm. He threw out a ton of baserunners at home plate from his spot in right field.

The 2024 Texas Rangers’ outfield will also feature rookie standout Evan Carter. In 23 games last year, Carter hit five home runs with 12 RBI. He also made a fantastic catch in the outfield during the ALCS against the Houston Astros. Carter quickly became a fan-favorite in his time in the majors last year, and they are very eager to see what he’ll do during a full season. The Rangers’ outfield will also include another fan-favorite in Travis Jankowski. He played 107 games last year in which he hit .263 with one dinger and 30 RBI. The Rangers will also have Leody Taveras as an option in the outfield. Last season, he hit .266 with 14 homers and 67 RBI. They also have the very promising Wyatt Langford, who has yet to make his major league debut, at their disposal.

Starting Rotation

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will lead the Rangers’ starting rotation. He finished with a record of 12–5 last year while posting an ERA of 3.63. Eovaldi was relied on heavily last year, as he pitched 144 innings in 25 starts. He struck out 132 batters and walked 47. With Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer expected to be out until the All-Star break, Eovaldi is the ace of this Rangers’ pitching staff.

The rest of the rotation will include Jon Gray, Dane Dunning, Andrew Heaney, the recently signed Michael Lorenzen, and Cody Bradford. Gray had an up-and-down season last year as he dealt with blisters and foreman issues. He posted a record of 9–8 with an ERA of 4.12 over 29 starts. Gray struck out 142 batters and walked 54. Home runs were somewhat of a problem for Gray, as he gave up 22 of them in the regular season. Look for him to improve that area of his game this year.

Dunning Returns

Next on the list is Dane Dunning, whom the Rangers used as a starter and reliever in 2023. They re-signed him as a free agent in the offseason. Of the 35 games he pitched in, 26 of them were starts. He had a respectable ERA of 3.70 to go along with his 12–7 record. Dunning struck out 140 and walked 55. The Texas Rangers also have Michael Lorenzen, who has experience both as a starter and a reliever. He signed as a free agent over the Winter. Lorenzen finished 2023 with a record of 5–7 in 29 games for the Detroit Tigers. He had an ERA of 3.58 along with 83 strikeouts and 27 walks. Like Gray, he struggled with the long ball as he gave up 27 of them.

Lorenzen is healthy, but he will begin the season on the Injured List, as he hasn’t been stretched out enough as far as his throwing is concerned. Next up is lefty Andrew Heaney. The 32-year-old lefty had a record of 10–6 in 2023 with an ERA of 4.15. He struck out 151 and allowed 60 free passes. Last but not least is Cody Bradford, who had a shaky start, but finished with a 4–3 record last season. He had an ERA of 5.30 in 56 innings. He appeared in eight games, five of which were starts.

Relievers

The bullpen was an area of concern for the Rangers in 2023. The addition of Aroldis Chapman after the All-Star break helped, but they still struggled. Chapman is now gone, along with closer Will Smith and Chris Stratton. They signed Kirby Yates as a free agent with the hope that he could help. Yates pitched in 61 games for the Atlanta Braves last year. He finished with an elevated ERA of 5.14 in 60 1/3 innings. Yates also had 80 strikeouts and 37 walks to his name. Next up is Josh Sborz, who recorded the final out in the 2023 World Series. Hernandez struggled in 33 games last year. He posted an ERA of 5.40 with 34 strikeouts and 15 walks in 31 2/3 innings.

Sborz had a record of 6–7 in 44 appearances out of the bullpen for the Rangers last year. In 52 1/3 innings, he had an ERA of 5.50 to go along with his 66 strikeouts and 17 walks. The Texas Rangers will also have Jonathan Hernandez in their bullpen. Hernandez will begin the year on the Injured List. He is dealing with a right lat injury from last year.

New Bullpen Additions

The Rangers signed David Robertson as a free agent this Winter. Robertson split the 2023 season with the New York Mets and the Miami Marlins. In 62 games he posted a record of 6–6 with an ERA of 3.03. He struck out 78 and walked 25. Another free agent signing for the Texas Rangers this offseason was Tyler Mahle. He was limited to five starts for the Minnesota Twins in 2023.

Mahle had surgery to repair damage in his right elbow. He finished with a record of 1–2, an ERA of 3.16, and 28 strikeouts against five walks. The Rangers’ top candidate for the closer’s role is Jose Leclerc. In 57 games, Leclerc had a record of 0–2 with an ERA of 2.68. He struck out 67, walked 28, and had four saves. The bullpen will also feature Grant Anderson, Jacob Latz, and Yerry Rodriguez.

Outlook

Look for the Texas Rangers to have another great season. At the very least, they will have a winning season under manager Bruce Bochy. They have a very good chance of clinching another playoff spot. Winning back-to-back World Series titles is very hard to do, no matter what team you’re on. That isn’t to say that they’re not going to try though. The 2024 Texas Rangers are here to win.

 

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images

Share "2024 Texas Rangers Season Preview" on social media:
More Texas Rangers News
Nate Miller

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *