Outside expectations are low for the Texas Rangers in 2021. However, this is a young and hungry team with a chip on their shoulder, ready to prove the naysayers wrong.
The Rangers are young and inexperienced, which means it is difficult to quantify realistic expectations. So, as you peruse through our predictions for the upcoming Rangers season, you'll notice some stark differences.
Ultimately, how the Rangers finish in the standings this year does not matter in the grand scheme of things. There is something much larger at work here. It's all about the youth of this team, as it should be. Rangers management has severed the ties with the past. No more Elvis. No more Rougie. It's all about growing this group.
However, they have a lot to prove. Looking up and down the 40-man roster, there are a lot of unrecognizable names coupled with inexperience. Even the experienced players have questions that need answered.
The largest concern for this team is pitching. I believe a full season with fans in attendance will help right the ship offensively for key hitters like Joey Gallo, but the Rangers lack a staff that can provide innings. It's not because they're not talented. Kyle Cody, Dane Dunning, and Taylor Hearn could all pitch their way into the rotation for 2022, but they will be limited this year to help preserve their long-term health.
A lack of innings from the pitching staff is difficult to sustain for a six-month season. On the flip side, I believe this team is more talented and deeper than many give them credit for. Physical limitations will be the biggest reason why this team can't compete in 2021.
The smart 2021 Prediction for our Texas Rangers is 5th in AL West .. and some smart Alec might suggest they would finish lower than that if it was legal to do so.
But I think those of us who are either plugged in here or want to be plugged in come in to this season with an understanding: This is about “evolution.” That goes for a brand new first-year general manager and that goes for a manager learning on the job.
They can be “pissed” about the insulting expectations… But that won’t last. What needs to take long-term effect here is a “Rangers Way,” developed by Young and Woodward, that is vastly more important than what this team’s record is in this single season.
After a forgettable 2020 and mired in the longest, lousiest rebuilding project in franchise history, the Rangers in 2021 just might be the least-familiar, least-successful squad in the team’s 50 years in Arlington.
Not much is expected of the Rangers this season as they enter 2021 with a rotation headlined by Kyle Gibson and the face of the franchise is a player who has yet to finish an entire season with consistent results in Joey Gallo.
However, there is plenty of room for optimism as younger players in the system will get a shot in the Majors and the franchise will be able to get an extended look at the potential future. If the cards fall just right then this Rangers team may be able to pull out a .500. However, it is far more likely that this team overachieves just enough to get over the 75-win hump and finishes fifth in the AL West.
I've been digging into Rangers history for our daily 'On This Day' piece, and the worst record in Rangers history belongs to the 54-win 1972 team, who accomplished that in 154 games. The following season, in 1973, the Rangers managed 57 wins the first 162-game season. It wouldn't surprise me if this group challenged that record.
This is basically a rebuild from the studs, and the one significant asset they have, outfielder Joey Gallo, could be trade bait in July (the Rangers only have control of his rights through 2022). This team would have to far exceed its skill and experience to be competitive this year.
Depressing for fans? Yes. But, ultimately, I think they'll win 62 games and the critical young players that could be the future of this franchise will get a LOT of playing time by August.