Predicting the Texas Rangers’ 2014 Opening Day Lineup
Predicting the Texas Rangers' 2014 Opening Day Lineup
The 2013 season did not go as well as the Texas Rangers had hoped. After making the playoffs three straight seasons, including two World Series appearances, Texas failed to reach the playoffs last season. They spent the offseason bringing in new additions and are determined that 2014 will be different.
The biggest reason for the failure in 2013 was the lack of offense. Texas had a team batting average of .262 which placed them 7th in the American League. Adrian Beltre was the only Texas starter to have a batting average over .300. Texas’ offense was so poor that Yu Darvish lost five of his starts by a score of 1-0.
Jon Daniels had one focus this offseason -- to completely remake the offense. The two biggest moves were bringing in Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo. Choo and Fielder have had great success in other places, but how will they fit into the Rangers’ lineup?
Choo is a guy who constantly finds a way to get on base. He has a career batting average of .288. While the batting average is impressive, a more impressive stat for Choo is his on-base-percentage which is .389. Last season Choo had a .285 BA and a .423 OBP. He also showed some power by hitting 21 home runs.
Fielder is the power bat that the Rangers were missing last season. In nine seasons, Fielder hit 285 home runs and 870 RBIs. He did not leave Detroit on the best terms and comes to Texas with a chip on his shoulder. He is determined to prove the critics wrong, and that could lead to Fielder putting up even bigger numbers in the hitter-friendly ballpark in Arlington.
Jon Daniels has added talent to the offense and now it is up to Ron Washington to decide how to use that talent. Part of his job is to set the lineup. There are a lot of different ways he could go, but here is my prediction for what the Rangers’ lineup will look like when they take the field for the season opener on Mar 31.
Pitcher: Yu Darvish
This is an easy prediction. Yu Darvish is the unquestioned ace of the staff, and there is no doubt he will be the one on the mound on Opening Day. I expect Yu to pick up right where he left off last year.
1. Shin-Soo Choo, LF
Shin-Soo Choo was brought in to be the leadoff hitter and play left field. That is exactly where I expect him to be on opening day. His high on-base-percentage should be a big spark at the top of the lineup.
2. Elvis Andrus, SS
Elvis Andrus has been the No. 2 hitter the past few years and that should not change. His speed allows Ron Washington to do a lot of different things.
3. Prince Fielder, 1B
Prince Fielder has spent most of his career hitting 4th, but I believe he hits 3rd here because Adrian Beltre has the 4th spot locked up.
4. Adrian Beltre, 3B
Adrian Beltre has been the Rangers’ best hitter the past couple of seasons, and he should continue to consistently drive in runs.
5. Alex Rios, RF
Texas traded for Alex Rios in July of last season, and Rios played well down the stretch. He will look to carry that success over into the 2014 season.
6. Mitch Moreland, DH
Mitch Moreland lost his first base job when Prince Fielder was acquired, but he will get the first shot at being the DH. The main reason for this is that Texas has no other real option for the job of DH.
7. Geovany Soto, C
Geovany Soto is injured, but I expect him to recover in time for Opening Day. If healthy, he will get the first shot to be the full time catcher over J.P. Arencibia.
8. Jurickson Profar, 2B
Ian Kinsler is gone and the second base job belongs to Jurickson Profar. Rangers fans may be down on him after last season, but he is only 21 and has a ton of talent. Fans just need to give him time.
9. Leonys Martin, CF
Leonys Martin took over the center field job last season and he played extremely well. He should continue that success in 2014.