With the exception of a few spots, the roster is practically complete. Washington will be finalizing the starting rotation and one or two spots in the bullpen. There are also a few spots on the bench that will be filled during March.
Here we will be projecting who those final spots will go to, as well as lay out the rest of the roster. Although the spring just started, the opener against the Phillies on March 31 is right around the corner.
Here is the Rangers' projected Opening Day roster (with last year's stats):
|1. S. Choo, LF||.285||21||54||107||.423|
|2. E. Andrus, SS||.271||4||67||91||.328|
|3. P. Fielder, 1B||.279||25||106||82||.362|
|4. A. Beltre, 3B||.315||30||92||88||.371|
|5. A. Rios (w/ CHW/TEX), RF||.278||18||81||83||.324|
|6. M. Moreland, DH||.232||23||60||60||.299|
|7. G. Soto, C||.245||9||22||20||.328|
|8. J. Profar, 2B||.234||6||26||30||.308|
|9. L. Martin, CF||.260||8||49||66||.313|
Prince Fielder will have the benefit of protection from Adrian Beltre, something he didn’t have the last two years in Detroit. Beltre thrived as the cleanup hitter last season, where he hit in 152 of the 161 games he started.
Jurickson Profar will have an everyday job after platooning around the infield for 81 games in 2013. He could move up in front of Geovany Soto if he keeps up the work at the plate.
Shin-Soo Choo’s career .389 OBP will be welcomed as the new leadoff man. Last season, Ian Kinsler had the highest OBP (.355) from the leadoff spot, followed by Leonys Martin (.301) and Elvis Andrus (.299).
|M. Choice, OF||.278||0||0||2||.316|
|A. Rosales, UT||.182||1||4||4||.167|
|J. Arencibia, C||.194||21||55||45||.227|
|J. Adduci, UT||.258||0||0||2||.324|
J.P. Arencibia is the only player on the bench to play a significant amount of time last season. He played in 138 games as the Blue Jays' primary catcher.
Adam Rosales spent some time in 2013 traveling back and forth between Oakland and Texas. He will be replacing Profar as the primary utility infielder. Jim Adduci is a career minor leaguer, but this should be his year. He is a left-handed hitter capable of playing both corner outfield spots and first base.
Michael Choice has the edge as the fourth outfielder for the club. He doesn't have the speed that Engel Beltre possesses but has better power and run-producing capabilities.
|1. Y. Darvish||13-9||209.2||2.83||1.073||277||80|
|2. M Perez||10-6||124.1||3.62||1.335||84||37|
|3. A. Ogando||7-4||104.1||3.11||1.227||72||41|
|4. T. Hanson||4-3||73.0||5.42||1.548||56||30|
|5. C. Lewis||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
Matt Harrison had a setback before spring training began, putting his roster spot for Opening Day in jeopardy. That should allow both Tommy Hanson and Colby Lewis to be in the starting rotation for at least the first couple of weeks of 2014.
Derek Holland's surgery has allowed Martin Perez to move up in the rotation behind Yu Darvish. Alexi Ogando would have remained the No. 3 starter regardless of Harrison's health.
It isn't what fans were hoping for after 2013 saw multiple starters come and go in the rotation. At least Harrison is expected back early in the season, and Holland should be available after the All-Star break.
|J. Frasor, RHP||61||49.0||2.57||8.8||3.7||6.6|
|W. Font, RHP||2||1.1||0.00||0.0||13.5||6.5|
|R. Ross, LHP||65||62.1||3.03||8.4||2.7||9.1|
|N. Feliz, RHP||6||4.2||0.00||7.7||3.9||9.6|
|N. Cotts, LHP, Setup||58||57.0||1.11||10.8||2.8||5.7|
|J. Soria, RHP, Setup||26||23.2||3.80||10.6||5.3||6.8|
|T. Scheppers, RHP, CL||76||76.2||1.88||6.9||2.8||6.8|
Tanner Scheppers and Robbie Ross both have desires of starting for the Rangers.
However, Scheppers' purpose should be served closing the door in the ninth inning. He has great velocity on his fastball and his slider is improving. His focus should be on developing a changeup during the spring. Add that to his arsenal and he is going to be difficult to hit against.
If Scheppers is able to do that, it seems unlikely Neftali Feliz would be named the team's closer.
Joakim Soria and Neal Cotts can both be setup men for the club, depending on the three hitters due up in the seventh and eighth innings. Cotts was lights-out in 2013, and Soria continues to return to form after missing 2012 due to elbow surgery.
Wilmer Font finally makes the big league roster after Tommy John surgery forced him out in 2010. He has been a top prospect for the club the past few seasons, and his time has come.
All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.
You can follow Trey on Twitter @treydwarren.