2018 Rangers: Texas Should See Plenty of High-Scoring Games

joey gallo

Mark Lathrop

Monday, March 19, 2018 11:20 AM UTC

Monday, Mar. 19, 2018 11:20 AM UTC

The Texas Rangers will be hard pressed to improve on their 78-win campaign from last season with the Astros lurking in their division. Mark Lathrop looks at the Rangers' roster and suggests a way to profit from it in 2018.

We will be breaking down each division team-by-team as we approach the 2018 MLB season to identify futures value and upcoming betting trends. Today we will take a look at the Texas Rangers of the AL West. The Rangers were a strong Under call in my model last year, and that cashed as Texas only won 78 games vs. a total of 84.5 at Bovada. This year, the Rangers have a much lower hurdle to clear with a win total of just 77.5 games for 2018.

Pitching Staff

The opening day starter for the Rangers will be 34-year-old Cole Hamels, who is coming off an injury-shortened season in 2017 where his K/9 rate dropped precipitously. The southpaw had some good luck throughout the season as well, which is indicated by his 4.62 FIP being well over his 4.20 ERA. Hamels is projected to be just above average in 2018. Behind Hamels is projected to be a bunch of average arms for the Rangers, as Martin Perez (4.78 FIP), Doug Fister (4.81 FIP), Matt Moore (5.24 FIP), Mike Minor (4.65 FIP) and Bartolo Colon (5.24 FIP) all have FIPs below average. Also, you may have noticed that I listed six starting pitchers for the Rangers. They are supposedly going to experiment with a 6-man rotation this year. Looking at the bullpen, Alex Claudio is listed as the team’s closer. He’s a junk-throwing lefty who specializes on inducing weak groundball contact.

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Destin Hood continues to RAKE!

He launches a 3-run shot in the 9th and we're with a run. #RangersST pic.twitter.com/Uqt6ZnXiok

— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) March 17, 2018
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Lineup

The Rangers have a minor-league affiliate in Spokane, Wash., so I get to catch some of the prospects that have gone through their system. One of the more interesting ones I’ve seen is Joey Gallo, who strikes out a ton but also hits plenty of dingers. His .209 batting average last year was paired with 41 home runs, and if he could improve his average just a bit his value would skyrocket. Adrian Beltre looks to stay healthy in 2018 after missing significant time in 2017 and logging his lowest innings total in 19 years. Willie Calhoun is another slugging prospect who should get full time at-bats this year. The Rangers' offense will have to rake if this team is going to overcome a weak pitching staff.

Wild Cards and Betting Trends

It’s tough to take a flyer on a team like the Rangers when they are playing in a division in which the Houston Astros should absolutely dominate. For futures wagers I will be steering clear of Texas this year. However, this team should have strong trends towards Overs as the season goes on with their roster construction weak on pitching and strong on hitting. It would take the youngsters performing a few years ahead of schedule for the Rangers to do much else this season.

Current Win Total: 77.5Best Line Offered: Bovada
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