By Nicholas Brady
The Texas Rangers will debut their new ballpark, Globe Life Field, this Friday night against the Colorado Rockies with no fans in the stands due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The Rangers will look to continue their improvement from a season ago after finishing third in the American League West with a record of 78-84.
Veterans Elvis Andrus, Danny Santana, Rougned Odor and Shin-Soo Choo all return to the team and will provide stability to the Rangers lineup.
The Rangers are led by 2019 All-Star Joey Gallo. Gallo has a knack for hitting the long ball since coming into the league in 2015 with over 40 home-run seasons in both 2017 and 2018. However, Gallo has struggled with a high number of strikeouts and a low batting average as a career .212 hitter.
Gallo showed improvement while still maintaining his power, hitting .253 with 22 home runs during a shortened 70-game season due to injury last season.
Underappreciated slugger and Rangers newcomer Todd Frazier could be one of the biggest steals of the 2020 offseason. Others such as Robinson Chirinos, Willie Calhoun and star prospect Nick Solak will also be mainstays in the lineup.
The Rangers have one of the most interesting starting rotations in the league this season. Lance Lynn will take the mound as the Rangers opening day starter coming off a 16-win season where he posted a 3.67 ERA.
All-star lefty Mike Minor will begin the season as the number two guy in the rotation. Minor has a career ERA of .390 and much of the Rangers success this season will depend on if he can keep up his All-Star season form from a year ago.
The Rangers also landed two-time former Cy-Young winner Corey Kluber in a trade with the Cleveland Indians that can only be described as a steal by only giving up relief pitching prospect Emmanuel Clase and outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. in the deal.
Former Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson and journeyman pitcher Jordan Lyles are both new to the Rangers and will round out the starting rotation. Jose Leclerc, Jesse Chavez and Nick Goody headline the bullpen.
The Rangers pitching staff could be one of the best in the league if they live up to their potential and Corey Kluber regains his elite form after an injury-riddled 2019 season in which he was limited to only seven starts.
At the plate, the Rangers will be a middle of the pack team but with a strong pitching staff, the Rangers should compete for a wildcard spot in 2020.
Regular Season Record Prediction: 30-30
Featured image via Creative Commons.