Rangers starters ranked 23rd in park-adjusted, fielding-independent pitching last season, and that was with Yu Darvish on the roster for much of the year. The good news is that Texas has more international-market money to spend than any other team. That, along with the Rangers’ aggressive track record when Darvish became available, make you wonder if Japanese two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani might be headed to Arlington this winter.
The addition of Ohtani, along with 30 starts from an effective Cole Hamels, could be enough to propel the Rangers back into contention. That’s because the offense features plenty of upside. Twenty-four-year-old Joey Gallo broke out with 41 homers last season, and could improve if he hones his batting eye. Talented outfielder Nomar Mazara will enter his third major league season at age 23, making him a prime candidate for a breakout. Twenty-five-year-old Delino DeShields Jr. showed solid plate discipline and blazing speed in part-time duty, and could become a viable source of on-base percentage and steals if the Rangers give him the chance to play every day.