Texas Rangers 2019 Betting Odds, Preview: A Team With No Identity and a Reclamation Rotation
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- The Rangers have been a largely successful team for the 2010 decade, but appear to have entered a rebuilding phase.
- Led by Mike Minor, their rotation is full of veterans who lack a high ceiling and are old or coming off an injury.
- Without Adrian Beltre, their offense will need someone new to lead the charge and Joey Gallo and his towering home runs fit the bill.
Original analysis published on Feb. 22.
The Rangers are coming off their second 67-win season of the decade. After they failed to reach 70 wins in 2014, they won 88 games and took home the AL West the following year.
Don’t expect that in 2019.
The Rangers and Mariners will likely duke it out for fifth place in the division this year. Either one is capable of a sub-70 win season, with 80 wins looking like a tall task.
Jeff Bannister was canned at the end of the 2018 season and Chris Woodward will take over as manager after spending the past three years as Dodgers third base coach. Have fun, Chris!
- Record: 67-95 (-10.4 units), 80-82 ATS (-8.5 units)
- Over/Under Record: 76-68-8
- Preseason World Series Odds: 200-1
- Win Total: 75
- Most Profitable Starter: Yovani Gallardo (10-8, +4.0 units)
Though they won just 67 games and went eight games under their win total, the Rangers weren’t all that unprofitable compared to some other teams.
Texas had a league-average offense, but allowed 5.23 runs per game — tied for second worst in the league behind the Orioles. Their record was slightly unlucky based on their run differential, but 67 wins … 71 wins … who really cares at that point? They probably wish they were even more unlucky to help them out in the draft order.
- World Series Odds: +100000
- Division Odds: +6000
- Win Total O/U: 71.5
- Playoff Odds: Make +2000, Miss -10000
Every single team that won fewer than 70 games last year has a win total that is higher this year and the Rangers are no exception. With a win total of 71.5, oddsmakers even like them a little bit more than the 89-win Mariners, who will be much, much worse this year.
Similar to the Mariners, I find nothing appealing about any of the Rangers futures. Their chance of making the playoffs is basically zero in my eyes, Fangraphs has them going slightly over their win total and Baseball Prospectus has them going slightly under.
Unless you have some strong opinions about some aspect of this club that I don’t see, there’s not much worth looking at in terms of their futures.
- Additions: Drew Smyly, Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jesse Chavez, Jeff Mathis, Zach McAllister, Shawn Kelley, Patrick Wisdom, Luke Farrell, Zack Granite, Hunter Pence, Logan Forsythe, Ben Revere (minors), Matt Davidson (minors), Jeanmar Gomez (minors), Jett Bandy (minors), Danny Santana (minors)
- Subtractions: Adrian Beltre, Bartolo Colon, Jurickson Profar, Yovani Gallardo, Robinson Chirinos, Doug Fister, Alex Claudio, Matt Moore, Martin Perez, Tony Barnette, Drew Robinson, Hanser Alberto
- Potential Lineup
- Shin-Soo Choo – DH
- Rougned Odor – 2B
- Elvis Andrus – SS
- Nomar Mazara – RF
- Asdrubal Cabrera – 3B
- Joey Gallo – LF
- Ronald Guzman – 1B
- Delino DeShields – CF
- Jeff Mathis – C
- Projected Rotation
- Mike Minor
- Edinson Volquez
- Lance Lynn
- Drew Smyly
- Shelby Miller
- Prospect Watch: Jonathan Hernandez (Unranked, RHP), Brock Burke (Unranked, LHP), Taylor Hearn (Unranked, LHP), C.D. Pelham (Unranked, LHP), Eli White (Unranked, IF)
- Key Injuries: Luke Farrell (Jaw, return TBD)
- MVP Candidates: Nomar Mazara (+4000), Joey Gallo (+5000), Rougned Odor (+8000),
- Cy Young Candidates: Mike Minor (+8000), Lance Lynn (+30000)
Player to Watch: Joey Gallo
Joey Gallo — what a freaking weird baseball player. The man has never come close to hitting his weight of 235, strikes out practically 40% of the time, but is actually a pretty darn good hitter.
That’s because he sends the ball to the moon when he makes contact. Donkey power.
Per Statcast, Gallo led the MLB with 11.4% barrels per plate appearances and 22.5% barrels per batted ball — the latter of which was significantly higher than the next best man (Max Muncy, 16.9%.) About half of his batted balls are fly balls, and about 30% of those go over the fence. Add all of these factors up and you get massive home run potential.
He’s hit 41 and 40 homers in each of the past two seasons, respectively, while striking out roughly 36.5% of the time. He’s one of a handful of MLB players capable of 50-plus homers, which is why I like him to lead the league in homers at 18-1. Even if he cuts his strikeout rate down to a still-high 30%, his homers would spike.
Without Adrian Beltre anymore, this team lacks a star player. Other than Gallo, they don’t really have anyone else with star potential. Besides Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, Gallo is the guy you’d want to see in a home run derby. Toss him in there this year and see what happens.
Pitcher to Watch: Drew Smyly
The most intriguing arm in the Rangers’ Reclamation Rotation™ is Smyly. I mean, this rotation may not be that bad if we were entering the 2015 season, but it’s practically entirely comprised of question marks in 2019.
Edinson Volquez has not pitched since 2017, but Smyly hasn’t pitched since 2016! Two full years. Well, technically he pitched one inning in Single-A last year, but who’s counting?
Smyly was a nice young pitcher earlier in the decade, posting an ERA of 3.24 between 2012 and 2015. Things got out of hand in 2016, though, when his lofty home run rate of 1.64 per nine led to an ERA of 4.88.
I’m concerned Smyly’s home runs will be an issue again this year considering he’s making the move from a pitcher’s park at Tropicana Field to a hitter’s paradise in Arlington. He’s never been a ground ball pitcher, and fly balls in Texas can go a long way, just ask Gallo.
At age 29, Smyly isn’t on his last legs or anything, but could have a bumpy return to the majors after his two year hiatus.
At this point of my season preview series, I’ve already written about a bunch of bad teams. The Rangers will be bad, but they’re unique, not quite like any of the other teams.
Most bad teams have a few young pitchers in their rotation. If your team has no expectations, why not try out a youngster and see what he’s got? Not the Rangers. All average, mediocre or old veterans.
Some of these bad teams have a top prospect that will debut. Not the Rangers. The Rangers only have one Top-100 prospect and he isn’t expected to be MLB ready until 2021. Per MLB.com, their top prospect that could be called up this year is their eighth best — hard-throwing righty Jonathan Hernandez.
A lot of these crappy teams even have a high-ceiling guy that you can point to and say, “You know what, if everything clicks perfectly for him, he could be an MVP candidate.” Unless Gallo hits about 60 jacks, the Rangers don’t have anyone like that, either.
Texas made some odd additions this winter, but they could be planning on trading any/all of their veterans that are performing well at the deadline. At least they should be because given their current organizational makeup, they could be wallowing in the mire for a number of years.
All odds via Westgate SuperBook as of Feb. 22
Transactions accurate as of Mar. 24. Free agents deemed subtractions until they re-sign