Legends On Deck

How They Were Built: 2015 Texas Rangers

Starting Pitchers

Yu Darvish – The Texas Rangers won the bid for exclusive negotiating rights for Darvish in 2011 for $51.7 million.  About one month later, the Rangers agreed to a 6-year $56 million contract and should be happy so far with their return.  Darvish has played in three seasons and has a record of 39-25 with an ERA of 3.27.  He has been named to the American League All-Star team all three seasons so far, and finished second in the Cy Young Award voting in 2013.  He is just 25-years old and will have plenty of success in this league for a long time to come.

Derek Holland – Drafted in the 25th round by the Texas Rangers in 2006, “Dutch Oven” as he is called, was limited last season due to a knee injury.  The left-hander in his career is 51-38 including a 16-win season in 2011.  If it is a sign, Holland started five games last season going 2-0 with an ERA of 1.46.

Colby Lewis – Lewis, 35, was drafted in the first round by the Rangers in 1999.  He made is MLB debut in 2002 and appeared in 15 games starting four of them.  After being selected off waivers by the Detroit Tigers in 2002, Lewis made stops in Washington, Oakland, and Kansas City, before returning to the team that drafted him signing a one-year deal in December.

Ross Detwiler – Former 1st round pick of the Washington Nationals in 2007, Detwiler was acquired by the Rangers in December for two minor league players.  Detwiler has started games and come out of the pen so far in his young career.  It appears that he may be back in the rotation due to the injures of Matt Harrison and Martin Perez.  Detwiler has appeared in 132 making 69 starts.

Nick Tepesch – Tepesch was drafted in the 14th round of the 2010 draft by the Rangers.  He made his major league debut in 2013 appearing as both a starter and a reliever.  He holds a career record of 9-17 with an ERA of 4.56.

Matt Harrison (DL) – Former 18-game winner in 2012, Harrison finds himself on the disabled list after back surgery last year.  He made his last start in May. and according to reports he is progressing and has been playing catch which is positive.  Harrison was a former draft pick of the Atlanta Braves and was shipped to Texas in the Mark Teixeira trade in 2007.

Martin Perez (DL) – The Rangers signed Perez as an amateur free agent back in 2007.  He made his major league debut in June of 2012 as a 21-year old.  Unfortunately Perez underwent Tommy John surgery in May and with the timetable of recovery it is doubtful he will be seen anytime before the All-Star break.

Bullpen

Neftali Feliz (CL)- Another piece in the Teixeira trade, Feliz started out as a relief pitcher, then was converted to a starter, ended up missing time due to injury, and was put back in the bullpen.  He has electric stuff and should do well as the closer again.  He notched 40 saves and an All-Star appearance back in 2010 and could do it again if he remains healthy.

Tanner Scheppers – After a couple of stints on the DL last season with right elbow issues, Scheppers looks to bounce back and be a serviceable reliever for the Rangers in 2015.  Texas will be in luck if he can repeat his 2013 season where he pitched in 76 games going 6-2 with an ERA of 1.88.  Scheppers was drafted by the Rangers in the first round in 2009.

Kyuji Fujikawa – The Rangers signed Fujikawa to a 1-year deal with a club option in 2016.  He spent last season as a member of the Chicago Cubs and made 15 appearances.  The 34-year old right-hander will be entering his third season in the league.

Shawn Tolleson – As disappointing and injury riddled of a season the Rangers had, a bright spot had to be the performance of Shawn Tolleson.  A former 10th round selection of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tolleson made his way to the Rangers after being selected off waivers in November of 2013.  He appeared in 64 games last season posting a record of 3-1 with an ERA of 2.76.

Roman Mendez – Originally signed as an amateur free agent by the Boston Red Sox in 2007, Mendez was acquired by the Rangers in 2010 as part of the Jarrod Saltalamacchia trade.  He appeared in 30 games last season and went 0-1 with an ERA of 2.18.

Starting Lineup

Robinson Chirinos (C) – Signed as an amateur free agent by the Chicago Cubs in 2000, the Rangers acquired him from the Tampa Rays for a PTBNL.  He appeared in 93 games in 2014, hitting .239 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI.

Prince Fielder (1B) – Acquired by the Rangers in November of 2013 from the Detroit Tigers, Fielder was limited to 42 games in 2014.  He had played in every game four of the last five years (played 161 the other), so it was strange to not see him in the lineup.  In his limited appearances last season, he hit.247 with three home runs in 42 games.  One of the games best sluggers, the Rangers will need him everyday if they want to keep pace in the AL West.

Rougned Odor (2B) – The Rangers signed Odor as an amateur free agent in 2011.  The 20-year old played in 114 games in 2014 hitting .259.  He has plenty left to learn which is to be expected from a player as young as he is.  With Jurickson Profar rehabbing an injury, Odor should get plenty of time.

Adrian Beltre (3B) – The 35-year old is entering his 18th season in the big leagues.  Beltre signed a 5-year $80 million free agent deal with the Rangers in 2011.  There is an option on the deal for 2016 which I believe vested due to plate appearances.  The four-time All-Star has collected 2,604 hits over his career with an average of .285.  He has four silver slugger awards to go along with the All-Star appearances and the four Gold Gloves in his trophy case.

Elvis Andrus (SS) – Part of the Teixeira trade that keeps on giving for the Rangers, Andrus’ name was swirling around the trade rumors this offseason.  Andrus signed an 8-year $120 million contract extension in 2013 that goes into effect this season.  That could be why he, for the time being, remains with the Rangers.  The 26-year old is entering his seventh season in the major leagues.  He will reach 1,000 hits most likely by the end of May and will look to improve on his .263 batting average from a year ago.

Jake Smolinski (LF) – This is a tricky position due to the fact that the Rangers have Michael Choice and Delino DeShields Jr that could potentially play here also.  Smolinski signed as a free agent in 2014 and appeared in 24 games.  He did hit .349 and had an OPS of .903 in the small sample size.  I guess a good problem to have for a team is an abundance of quality players.

Leonys Martin (CF) – The 26-year old Cuban was signed as an amateur free agent by the Rangers in 2011.  He played in all but seven games last season batting .274.  He stole over 30 bases for the second consecutive year and had a career high 146 hits.  Martin had 11 assists in the outfield but did register eight errors.

Shin-Soo Choo (RF) – The Rangers signed Choo to a 7-year $130 million deal last offseason to be their lead-off hitter.  Choo only hit .242 which is 40 points lower than his career average in 2014.  The Rangers will need him to get on base far more than he did and get back to stealing the 20+ bases he is expected to, if they want to make a run in 2015.

Mitch Moreland (DH) – Moreland was a draft pick of the Rangers in 2007 and made his debut in 2010.  He can hit for power and can switch back and forth between DH and first base giving Fielder a rest.  He is a career .252 hitter and did hit 23 home runs in one season, which Texas will root for this year depending on his playing time.

Projected Bench

Kyle Blanks (Outfield/First Base) – Blanks signed a one-year deal in December with the Rangers, after spending 2014 as a member of the San Diego Padres and Oakland Athletics.  He hasn’t played more than 88 games in any season so far in the majors and will most likely not reach that number again unless Texas has to deal with the injury bug.

Adam Rosales (Infield) – Rosales is entering his second full season with the Rangers.  He appeared in 56 games last season hitting .242.  He capable and has played every position in the infield and has a little experience in left field as well during the course of his career.

Ryan Rua (Infield/Outfield) – Rua could be an option off the bench for the Rangers this season.  He was drafted in the 17th round of the 2011 draft by Texas and made his debut last season.  He played in 28 games batting .295.  With players that were already mentioned (DeShields and Choice) it is unsure if he will start the season in Texas or make his way back at some point during the year.

Tomas Telis (Catcher) – The 23-year old catcher from Venezuela could backup Chirinos if the Rangers start the spring with both of them.  He played in 18 games last season and batted .250.  Veteran Chris Gimenez could also take the role as backup as he was a non-roster invitee to spring training.

John Ginder

Site Co-Founder/Senior Editor and Co-Host at Legends on Deck® The Podcast
In the past John has been a part of such successful sites as MetsMerizedOnline and MetsMinors.net.John was born and raised in upstate New York and has a love of all sports but mainly baseball. He has grown used to heartache with his teams as he roots for the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres too.John has a loving and understanding wife and is the the proud father of two amazing boys.He also loves heavy metal music.

You can also reach out to John at jginder@legendsondeck.com