3 Most Pivotal Players for the Texas Rangers in 2020

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 08: Nick Solak #15 of the Texas Rangers bats against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 8, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 08: Nick Solak #15 of the Texas Rangers bats against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 8, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

The Texas Rangers need a lot of things to go right for them to contend in 2020 but there are three specific players whose progression is pivotal this season.

The winter didn’t go as planned for Jon Daniels and the Texas Rangers. Not only did the Rangers strike out on the premium players they targeted in free agency, but they also whiffed on most of the secondary options as well.

Luckily they were able to make a few low cost signings and opportunistic trades to make the offseason a relative success compared to previous winters. But that doesn’t mean they’re suddenly in the playoff picture. They still have a lot of question marks that need to be answered in affirmative.

Starting pitching appears to be the backbone of this team heading into the 2020 season. Yes, it feels weird saying that. So obviously we need that unit to stay healthy and maintain their expected level of performance in order to have a competitive season.

Joey Gallo and Willie Calhoun are also a couple key players who will be expected to key components to this team in 2020. They are integral to the clubs success but I’m not calling them pivotal because the are expected to produce. they aren’t teetering on the brink.

Rougned Odor may qualify as a pivotal player this coming season to some people, but he’s another guy I’m leaving off for the opposite reasons as the fellas mentioned above. I expect nothing from him and believe the only reason he’s on the roster is because he has an untradeable contract and the Texas Rangers are determined to make it work. If Odor does become servicable at some point, that would be huge for the Rangers. I just think that’s a long-shot, therefore I’m hoping for a little less terrible.

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3 Pivotal Texas Rangers

Nick Solak – Solak was one of last season’s brightest stars. The young right handed hitter .884 OPS demands he’s in the lineup as often as possible. The only problem is what position(s) he plays. The Rangers are trying to make him be the primary center fielder. If that works out it’ll go a long way in building the optimal lineup.

Danny Santana – The other side of this coin is how Danny Santana (the other bright part of last season) transitions to playing the utility role. He seemed to find a comfort zone at CF last year and the hope is the chaos of moving around everyday doesn’t disrupt his performance.

If Solak fails in center and/or Santana struggles playing utility, they’ll likely swap back responsibilities. But since Salak can’t play all the positions Santana can, he wouldn’t be full time player the Rangers want him to be – which would hurt his development and the lineup.

Greg Bird – Bird offers the Texas Rangers their best chance at upgrading 1B. Before suffering a rash of injuries, the former Yankee boasted an OPS of .871. While there’s optimism Ronald Guzman will improve under the hitting tutelage of Nelson Cruz, chances are he’ll always struggle hitting. It may be a horse apiece but I think the odds are better that Greg Bird stays healthy.

If Bird can be the everyday force at 1B, Guzman can be used situational (as an elite defensive player) and Todd Frazier can stay at 3B, where he’s most comfortable.

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Things could go either way for these players teetering on the edge but if they tilt the right way, it will provide a positive trickle-down effect on the rest of the team.

  • Published on 02/21/2020 at 17:01 PM
  • Last updated at 02/21/2020 at 17:42 PM