2020 Fantasy Baseball: Texas Rangers Team Preview

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Texas Rangers

In 2020, the Rangers will play in a new retractable roof stadium that goes by the name of Globe Life Field. There should be plenty of home runs while favoring pull hitters. A batter only needs to hit the ball 407 feet to clear the field straight away in centerfield.

Texas missed the playoffs in each of the previous three years, thanks to weakness on the pitching side. Over the past ten years, the Rangers made the postseason five times with two losses in the World Series (2010 and 2011). In the team’s 59 year history, they have eight trips to the playoffs with no World Series titles.

They finished 24th in ERA (5.06 ERA) with 33 saves. Texas has four straight seasons with regression in runs allowed. The Rangers ranked 12th in runs (810), 17th in home runs (223), and 13th in RBI (765).

In the offseason, the Rangers traded for SP Corey Kluber to take over as their ace while also signing SP Kyle Gibson and SP Jordan Lyles for improved depth in the starting rotation. They added RP Nick Goody, RP Joely Rodriguez, RP Luis Garcia, and RB Juan Nicasio to compete for jobs in the bullpen.

On the offensive side of the ball, Texas invested in 3B Todd Frazier and C Robinson Chirinos. In a minor deal with Boston, they acquired 1B Sam Travis.

This year the Rangers project to finish at the back half of their division with a losing record. Their best chance at success will come from an ace type season by Kluber and repeated success by SP Lance Lynn. The bullpen isn’t great. Texas will hit some home runs while only having a league-average offense and risk in strikeouts and batting average.

Starting Lineup

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1. OF Shin-Soo Choo

Over the last three seasons, Choo has been a productive back-end bat for a fantasy team. His stats in 2019 ranked 65th in SIscore (1.07). His success has been driven by a volume of chances (556 at-bats per year). Choo had a rebound in speed (15 steals), which was surprising for his age (36). His CTBA (.374) and AVH (1.704) is trending upward, but his strikeout rate (25.0) continues to fade while still having value in his walk rate (11.8). He struggled against left-handed pitching (.229) with regression after the All-Star break (.234 with 11 HRs, 25 RBI, and seven SBs over 244 at-bats). 

Surprisingly, his hard-hit rate (49.0) ranked 18th in baseball while continuing to have a ground ball swing (49.1 percent). His fly-ball rate has been under 30.0 in each of his past three years (26.2, 28.0, and 29.1). Choo finished with a career-high in his HR/FB rate (20.9). In the offseason, he had left shoulder surgery. 

This year his ADP is 260 as the 69th outfielder drafted. The law of averages suggests Choo may not have a fourth straight year of health, and his bump in steals doesn’t look repeatable. With a full season of at-bats, an 80/20/80 player with batting average risk. An avoid for me.

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2. SS Elvis Andrus

Andrus played well last year with steady value in runs (81), HRs (12), RBI (74), and batting average (.275) with his only edge being speed (31 SBs). In the end, he ranked 34th in SIscore (3.52). After a fast start in April (.361 with 19 runs, five HRs, 20 RBI, and six SBs over 108 at-bats), Andrus landed on the injured list in May for about 11 days. He played well in June (.311 with 18 runs, 16 RBI, and six SBs) but finished the year with only seven home runs over his final 492 at-bats. 

After the All-Star break, Andrus hit .242 with four home runs, 27 RBI, and 12 SBs over 273 at-bats. On the year, his bat had the same value against lefties (.275) and righties (.275). Andrus has a low strikeout rate (14.8) while his walk rate (5.3) continues to fade. His hard-hit rate (34.4) remains low, with no improvement in his ground ball rate (51.0). He failed to match his 2017 levels in AVH (1.430 – 1.586 in 2017) and CTBA (.327 – .352 in 2017). 

More of a steady piece to the puzzle with an ADP of 134 in the early draft season. Capable of more, but I don’t trust his power and his RBI chances (390) don’t look repeatable. If the shoe fits your plan, don’t overpay.

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3. OF Danny Santana

Based on final stats, Santana was the 28th most valuable hitter in SIscore (4.04) despite starting the year at AAA. He finished as an exceptional waiver wire find, with more upside if he had a full season of at-bats. The problem here comes from, how does this (minor league resume – .277 with 45 HRs, 298 RBI, and 141 SBs over 2,697 at-bats) add to his previous major league career (.256 with 13 HRs, 100 RBI, and 48 RBI over 1,095 at-bats) equal to his breakthrough in 2019? Santana posted a jump in his CTBA (.415) while his AVH (1.888) was a career-high while showing an upward path in 2018 at AAA (1.882). 

His strikeout rate (29.6) screams regression and possible job loss while lacking a top of an order walk rate (4.9). Santana had strength in his hard-hit rate (43.6 – 81st). His HR/FB rate (24.3) was almost double his career resume (12.5). Santana hit his way into the starting lineup with a great June and July (.352 with 12 HRs, 33 RBI, and six SBs over 165 at-bats). His power (12 HRs and 35 RBI) remained stable over the final two months, but he only hit .219 while whiffing 69 times in 210 plate appearances. 

With an ADP of 135, I’ll let him beat me in 2020. I trust his steals and believe he’ll hit home runs if given enough at-bats.

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4. OF Joey Gallo

Over the previous two and half seasons, Gallo has 258 hits while scoring 221 runs. His AVH (2.361) has been strong at every stop in his career while showing a jump in his CTBA (.480) in his 70 games in 2019. He’ll take a walk (17.5) with the best players in the game, but there is no sign of an improvement in his strikeout rate (38.4). Gallo missed just over three weeks in June with an oblique issue. After a month of action, his season ended with a broken right wrist after getting hit by a pitch. Over his first 170 at-bats, he hit .276 with 41 runs, 17 home runs, and 41 RBI. 

Gallo had the most success against left-handed pitching (.333 with eight HR and 22 RBI over 75 at-bats). His hard-hit rate (52.3) was the third-highest in baseball. His swing path delivers a ton of fly balls (47.2 percent) with a massive HR/FB rate (37.3). A great power hitter with value in runs and RBI. Batting average will have a wide range of outcomes, with most results finishing well below the league average. Excellent bat for an owner willing to punt batting average while hoping for some career years in that area. 

His ADP (79) seems high based on his overall career path. An easy 50 home runs if the 2020 version of the baseball is juiced again.

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5. 3B Todd Frazier

Frazier had a chance to be an 80/25/80 player in 2019 if he didn’t give away his first six weeks of the year. His season started with three weeks on the injured list with an oblique issue followed up with emptiness over his first 21 games (.183 with two HRs and seven RBI over 60 at-bats). 

After a great June (.274 with 15 runs, eight HRs, and 23 RBI over 95 at-bats), Frazier struggled to make contact in July and August (.207 with seven HRs and 25 RBI over 184 at-bats). His season ended with part-time at-bats in September (.350 with three HRs and eight RBI over 60 at-bats). He played the best vs. left-handed pitching (.294 with eight HRs and 21 RBI over 126 at-bats). His HR/FB rate (14.3) was below his top seasons in power from 2014 to 2017 (17.0, 15.1, 19.0, and 16.1) while continuing to have a high fly-ball rate (43.2). 

Frazier has settled into being a low average power hitter while possibly sitting more nights in 2020 against righties. His ADP (537) makes him a waiver-wire option in all formats.

To view the full starting lineup, bench & top prospects, which also includes player analysis for Rougned Odor, Willie Calhoun, Ronald Guzman, Robinson Chirinos, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Nick Solak, Jeff Mathis, Sam Travis and Scott Heinemann, subscribe now to FullTime Fantasy.

Use coupon code EDGE25 to receive 25% off your monthly season-long subscription. Shawn Childs is a 5-time high-stakes fantasy baseball national champ. Gain a cash-winning edge with FullTime Fantasy.

READ MORE: 2020 Texas Rangers Team Outlook

Pitching Staff

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SP1 Corey Kluber

Kluber ended up being a disaster for fantasy teams in 2019 while almost creating a double jeopardy feel. He pitched poorly in five of his first seven starts (5.50 ERA and 1.654 WHIP) only to see his season end on May 1st after a broken right forearm via a line drive. Just when he looked ready to make a push for a September return, Kluber suffered an oblique injury ending his year. His AFB (92.4) regressed fo the fifth straight year while losing his command (walk rate – 3.8) over his low number of innings (35.2). In 2018, he posted a 3.67 ERA and 119 strikeouts over his final 115.1 innings while maintaining his BAA (.243) and walk rate (1.9). 

Over the last five full seasons, Kluber went 96-55 with a 3.09 ERA and 1,423 strikeouts over 1,306 innings. He’s won 18 or more games four times over this span while developing into a workhorse arm (over 200 innings pitched in five straight seasons). In 2017 and 2018, he led the AL in walk rate (1.6 and 1.4), but his K rate (9.3) did regress in 2018. His best pitch continues to be his slider (.103 BAA) while his changeup (.222 BAA) and four-seamer (.191 BAA) offered an edge in his last full year. 

With an ADP (91), Kluber appears to be a value arm if he pitches over 200 innings even with a 3.50 ERA and 200-plus strikeouts. The change in ballpark and division is a downgrade. 

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SP2 Lance Lynn

No one fought for Lynn on draft day in 2019 in mixed leagues, and there was plenty of distress about his potential after his first six games (5.75 ERA and 1.573 WHIP over 40.2 innings with 36 Ks). Over the next four starts in May, he allowed nine runs over 27 innings with 34 strikeouts. Lynn went 10-7 with a 3.20 ERA and 176 strikeouts over 140.2 innings over his final 22 starts. His strikeout rate (10.6) came in as a career-best, along with his walk rate (2.5). 

He did have some issues with left-handed batters (.267). Lynn had a jump in his AFB (94.9). Batters struggled to hit his four-seamer (.214 BAA) while his secondary pitches had success (cutter – .235 BAA, curveball – .184 BAA, and changeup – .214 BAA). His trouble came from his sinker (.337 BAA), which is an up-and-down pitch in his career. Over eight seasons, Lynn has a 98-68 record with a 3.59 ERA and 1,346 strikeouts over 1,342.2 innings. 

Lynn has an early ADP of 138 while being surrounded by arms with a lot shorter resumes. His rise in strikeouts (246) was also helped by his best first-pitch strike rate (63) of his career. Winning arm with a new floor of a 3.50 ERA and 200-plus strikeouts, but I need a live fastball in spring training with repeated command.

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SP3 Mike Minor

Minor regained his strikeout ability (8.6), which helped him push his game to a level comparable to his 2013 season (13-9 with a 3.21 ERA and 181 Ks over 204.2 innings). He still struggles with home runs (1.3 per nine) while walking the most batters (2.9 per nine – 2.6 in his career) since 2011. Minor pitched great over his first 17 games (2.40 ERA and 110 Ks over 112.2 innings), but his arm had a ton of downside over the final three months (4.99 ERA, 1.380 WHIP, and 18 HRs over 95.2 innings). 

He had similar results vs. right-handed (.242) and left-handed (.249) batters. His AFB (92.8) was about a half MPH lower than 2018 (93.3) while relying on his changeup (.178 BAA) to get hitters out. The previous season Minor had more success with his slider (.216 BA) and curveball (.137 BAA). His final 2019 stats will be attractive to the novice who doesn’t read between the lines. He has an ADP of 177 while being a treat or trick pitching option in 2020. The jump in innings had to be a factor in his second-half fade. 

I’ll grade his changeup as a plus, plus pitch, but Minor needs his other options to come along for the ride with a bounce-back in his command. Somewhere between a 3.25 ERA and 3.75 ERA with a run at 175 strikeouts.

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CL/RP Jose Leclerc

In 2018, Leclerc moved into an electric range after shaving off 4.0 walks per nine. He held batters to a .126 BAA with a bump in Ks (13.3) while converting all 12 saves once taking over the closing job for the Rangers in early August. Over his last 21 games, Leclerc didn’t allow a run over 21 innings with five hits, six walks, and 32 Ks. Last year his arm crushed fantasy owners over the last three weeks of April (14.21 ERA and 3.316 WHIP over 6.1 innings). Leclerc regained his form over his last 58.0 innings (3.57 ERA, 1.172 WHIP, and .185 BAA with 86 Ks) while converting nine of his 11 saves. 

Over this span, he walked 4.7 batters per nine with strength in his strikeout rate (13.4). His struggles came against lefties (.267). Leclerc had the best fastball (97.0 MPH) of his career. His four-seamer (.210 BAA), slight-finger (.175 BAA), and changeup (.200 BAA) all played well. He pitches up in the strike zone (fly-ball rate – 45.0) with a big step back in his HR/FB rate (10.4). Great arm, but it comes down to throwing more strikes to become a top reliever in the game. 

Mid-tier closer with an ADP of 163. Leclerc only has 26 career saves in his two seasons as a ninth-inning arm. Go big or go home type arm. Sub-2.00 ERA upside with well over 100 strikeouts and a chance at 35 saves.

To view the pitching staff, which also includes player analysis for Kyle Gibson, Jordan Lyles, Kolby Allard, Joe Palumbo, Rafael Montero and Demarcus Evans, subscribe now to FullTime Fantasy.

Use coupon code EDGE25 to receive 25% off your monthly season-long subscription. Shawn Childs is a 5-time high-stakes fantasy baseball national champ. Gain a cash-winning edge with FullTime Fantasy.

READ MORE: 2020 Texas Rangers Team Outlook