Put away the winter clothes, baseball fans. Opening Day is in less than a week. A special day that took months to unravel this time last year is almost upon us in normal fashion. While it is true that it will look and feel a little different this time around, fans can rest easy knowing they will wake up on April 1st to the sweet sounds of America’s pastime. With that said, let’s take a look at a 2021 Texas Rangers season preview.
Opening Day Roster
The first thing that needs to be mentioned right off the bat is that this year’s roster will look a little different. For starters, fan favorite and longtime shortstop Elvis Andrus is gone. The Rangers traded him to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for outfielder Khris Davis. Davis however, is currently on the injured list with a strain in his left quad. He is expected to miss three to four weeks. Also missing from the roster is fellow outfielder Delino DeShields, who was informed earlier this week that he will begin the year in the minor leagues. The Rangers needed room for outfielders’ Eli White and Leody Taveras, and someone had to be sent down, and in this case it was DeShields.
Baseball is full of bad news and good news. In this scenario, the bad news is that a couple of mainstays are gone in Andrus and DeShields. The good news is that the Rangers still have some pretty good players at their disposal. The centerpiece, as in the center of the starting lineup, is the power hitting left-fielder Joey Gallo. Gallo hit 10 home runs last season. He has been on a tear in spring training this year, hitting a handful of round-trippers. While it is true that spring ball isn’t about the stats, it certainly is hard not to buy into his numbers.
Another vital name returning to the Rangers’ lineup is infielder-catcher Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Everybody in the organization as well as the fan base loves his glove, and they should. Last year, Kiner-Falefa picked up his first career Gold Glove Award at third base, along with Gallo, who won it at right field, also his first. Kiner-Falefa still has some work to do at the plate, however. In 2020, he hit .280, with three home runs, 10 RBI, and 28 runs scored. The average isn’t bad, but the Rangers would still like to see some more pop off of his bat. Other infielders who are making the team include first baseman Ronald Guzman, first baseman Nate Lowe, second baseman Rougned Odor, and shortstop Anderson Tejeda. Nick Solak can play the infield as well.
Opening Day Starter
The 2021 Texas Rangers announced recently that right-hander Kyle Gibson would get the honor of toeing the slab on Opening Day. In the abbreviated 2020 season, Gibson went 2-6 for the Rangers with an earned run average of 5.35, while striking out 58 over 67 1/3 innings of work. Other members of the starting rotation include righties Kohei Arihara, Mike Foltynewicz, Dane Dunning, along with lefty Taylor Hearn. Also making the team is right-hander Demarcus Evans. More changes may, and probably will, be in store. Bring on Opening Day.
Players/Coaches Mentioned: Elvis Andrus, Khris Davis, Delino DeShields, Eli White, Leody Taveras, Joey Gallo, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Ronald Guzman, Nate Lowe, Rougned Odor, Anderson Tejeda. Nick Solak, Kyle Gibson, Kohei Arihara, Mike Foltynewicz, Dane Dunning, Taylor Hearn. and Demarcus Evans
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images