Rangers Hope Health and Continuity Carry Over Last Year's Surge
Going into the 2015 season, both fans and analysts had no idea what to make of the Texas Rangers. They were just 3 seasons removed from back to back World Series appearances, but they were also coming off a season which was decimated by injuries and lackluster play, leading them to the 3rd worst record in baseball in 2014. The Rangers seemed to be in big trouble too when they started the 2015 season, losing ace pitcher Yu Darvish to injury in spring training and losing Derek Holland one inning into their home opener. Sinking as low as eight games below .500, the Rangers floundered in the first half of the season. But a combination of better health and production from veterans like Prince Fielder, Shin-Soo Choo and Yovani Gallardo along with the second half breakout of Rougned Odor lead the Rangers into position to make a second half surge. Then General Manager Jon Daniels pulled off a big trade to acquire ace pitcher Cole Hammels. Lead by Hammels and Adrian Beltre, the Rangers surged in the second half of the 2015 season, climbing all the way back not only into the playoff race, but into a AL West division championship, and a return to postseason baseball.Read More
As the Rangers gear up for 2016, they are not without questions. Veterans like Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre are another year older and are coming off of seasons filled with injuries. Optimism is high for Yu Darvish, who should return in May or June from last year's Tommy John surgery, but he is not a certainty to return to his Cy Young level of production. There will be a learning curve for young players like Odor and Delino DeShields. But with a manager like Jeff Banister (the 2015 AL Manager of the year) and a General Manager as aggressive and savvy as Jon Daniels, the Rangers will at the very least be put in a position to compete for another division title and another chance at a playoff run.
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