It wasn't easy, but the Rangers are back in the postseason for the first time since 2016. Texas will kick off its championship quest on the road against the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 1 of the AL Wild Card Series on Tuesday.
After some speculation about who would and wouldn't make the playoff roster, the Rangers revealed their 26-man roster for the Wild Card Round on Tuesday morning ahead of Game 1.
Rangers Postseason Roster
There are a couple of notable absences on Bruce Bochy's roster here.
On the pitching staff, it's extremely perplexing to see Grant Anderson make the cut but Jon Gray left off. Anderson is only a rookie, after all, and struggled this season, finishing his first MLB campaign with a 5.05 ERA, a 4.66 FIP and a 1.46 WHIP. He hasn't pitched in over a month and doesn't have good strikeout stuff (7.6 K/9), so I really don't see the logic in that one.
Perhaps Bochy thinks that because Anderson's a rookie, Rays hitters will be less familiar with him? It's a gamble for sure, especially considering that Anderson has zero postseason experience.
Gray had a much better regular season and deserved that spot, going 9-8 with a 4.12 ERA, a 1.29 WHIP and a higher strikeout rate (8.1 K/9). Both pitchers are righties, too, so it's not like Anderson has an advantage by being a lefty. Gray is a proven veteran who should be more reliable in a big spot, whereas Anderson is a true wild card. Gray also pitched more recently, finishing his season on a high note with 6 innings of 1-run ball on Sept. 25, so he's a lot less rusty.
The other baffling move is leaving Ezequiel Duran off in favor of Josh Smith. Both are utility guys, but Duran clearly had the much better season, slashing .276/.324/.443 (106 OPS+) with 14 homers and 8 steals in 122 games. Smith, on the other hand, seemed like a good candidate to be left off the roster after batting a paltry .185/.304/.328 (73 OPS+) with 6 homers and 1 steal in 90 games.
Duran was better on the bases and played more positions this season, too, so if anything he's more versatile. The only possible explanation is that Smith bats lefty while Duran hits righty, but the platoon advantage is not enough to offset the massive talent gap here. This shouldn't have been close and I really don't understand this one at all.
Hopefully Smith and Anderson don't end up playing in this series, because I don't trust them at all. If they do and come up short, there's going to be a lot of second guessing about why they were even on the roster in the first place.
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