Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

5 Spring Training predictions for 2020 Rangers

@Sullivan_Ranger
February 15, 2020

SURPRISE, Ariz.-- Predictions for the Rangers this spring? Here are five of them at the start of camp:

SURPRISE, Ariz.-- Predictions for the Rangers this spring?

Here are five of them at the start of camp:

Some young pitchers will create excitement
The Rangers have a set rotation with Mike Minor, Corey Kluber, Lance Lynn, Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles. That’s not going to keep some of the young starting pitchers from creating some serious buzz.

Some of the names are obvious: Joe Palumbo, Kolby Allard, Brock Burke, Taylor Hearn and Jonathan Hernandez. There are more behind them.

Right-hander Kyle Cody, the Rangers Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2017, is healthy after missing two years because of Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. He impressed people in instructional league play.

Right-hander Jason Bahr had a 3.23 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in 12 starts at Double-A Frisco last season while striking out 9.6 batters per nine innings. Tyler Phillips was the Rangers Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2018.

Then there are right-handed relievers Demarcus Evans and Joe Barlow. Each can bring serious heat out of the bullpen.

Somebody is going to create some excitement in this camp, and it will be more than just one guy.

Prediction? Bahr and Cody.

Nick Solak will dominate staff meeting discussions
The Rangers expect Nick Solak to impress with his hitting and overall offensive skills. If so, the Rangers could go crazy trying to figure out where to play him.

Second base is his best position, but the Rangers are locked in there with Rougned Odor.

Third base? Todd Frazier could switch to first if the Rangers feel they are stronger with Solak in the lineup rather than Ronald Guzmán. But Solak is a novice at third.

Center field? Manager Chris Woodward is intrigued by the possibility of Solak playing center and using Danny Santana as a utility player. Solak has the speed and athleticism to play out there, but he is a novice in center. Are the Rangers willing to let him learn on the job at the Major League level knowing that it might cost them while Solak is serving his apprenticeship?

Woodward cringed when that possibility was brought up.

Utility player? Woodward said Santana is better suited for that role.

One of the most intriguing things to watch is how well Solak takes to center field.

The Rangers' spring home run leader will be ...
Right fielder Adolis García.

García is a right-handed-hitting outfielder acquired from the Cardinals who hit 32 home runs for Triple-A Memphis last year. The Rangers need a right-handed hitter with power.

Not saying Garcia will be the guy, but the Rangers are going to give him a lot of playing time and see what he has. Same goes for Scott Heineman.

Elvis Andrus will be the Opening Day shortstop
Bold prediction? No.

Was last year Elvis Andrus' best season? Probably not, but the overall numbers were not bad.

Do the Rangers want to see more out of him this year? Whatever. Does Texas need to be concerned about Andrus? No.

There is way too much chatter about Andrus this spring.

The Rangers have more than a few issues on this team. Shortstop is not one of them.

About Minor’s contract
This will be a story this spring, and the Rangers may try to get something done to keep Minor from being a free agent after the season. Minor wants to stay, and the Rangers really don’t need to let an All-Star left-hander get away.

It won’t be easy. This is Minor’s best chance to get the biggest contract of his career. If he has another big season, he could be the top starting pitcher on the free-agent market next winter.

But it is also a chance to secure his family’s future, and that’s no small consideration for any pitcher who has dealt with arm issues in the past.

Will it get done? Let’s say there is a better-than-even chance that the answer is yes.

Or not.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.