Texas Rangers 2024 preview

The Texas Rangers began play as the Washington Senators in 1961. They moved to Texas for the 1972 season and had back-to-back 100-loss seasons. They’ve only had one 100-loss season in the Lone Star State since and it came back in 2021. Two seasons later, the Rangers won their first-ever World Series title.

To call their turnaround unexpected would be an understatement. It took one year of having Hall of Fame manager Bruce Bochy at the helm to go from 68-94 to 90-72. That wasn’t all, as the Rangers invested a ton of free agent dollars in the ballclub to expedite the 180-degree turn. Ironically, maybe the most prized free agent of them all, Jacob deGrom, made six starts and was done for the season after April 28.


deGrom will return at some point this season and the rest of the core is very much intact for the Rangers. Some depth guys here and there were brought in from free agency or waivers, but the primary players in last season’s World Series run are back…with the exception of Jordan Montgomery, who inexplicably remained unsigned deep into Spring Training.

The World Series hangover will be a popular topic with this team. Where I think that comes into play is with the pitchers that had to increase their workloads and pitch an entire extra month to be a champion. I’ll talk about that and more with this outlook of the Rangers for 2024.

2024 Texas Rangers Odds

(odds from DraftKings as of Mar. 12)

World Series: +1400

AL Pennant: +650

AL West: +200

Win Total: 89.5 (+100/-120)

Make Playoffs: Yes -195 / No +160

Texas Rangers Preview: Offense

This was a tremendous offense last season. This year’s group could be missing Corey Seager at the outset after he had sports hernia surgery in January, but the Rangers will debut Wyatt Langford, who is +400 and the third choice behind Jackson Holliday and teammate Evan Carter to win AL Rookie of the Year. 

This will be a relentless group. They were fourth in wRC+ last season at 114 and fourth in homers with 233. With Langford and a full season of Carter, I could see them with more dingers and maybe even better offensive numbers overall. Mitch Garver is the only big loss after posting a 138 wRC+ in 344 PA, but Carter, who slashed .306/.413/.645 in 75 regular season PA and Langford, the fourth overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft, should more than pick up any slack.

I don’t know that Seager will run back his 169 wRC+, which was easily a career-high in a full season, but I don’t see a repeat of his 114 wRC+ from 2022 either. The truth likely lies somewhere in between and he’ll probably be 40% or so above league average, which is the function of the wRC+ stat. I worry coming off of the core muscle injury about his power and ability to drive the baseball, but he had a career-best (non-COVID year) 53.2% Hard Hit% and 15.2% Barrel%. As long as he recovers well from the injury, he’ll be one of the league’s top players if he repeats those contact authority numbers. I don’t think he will, but he’s still a five-win player per fWAR even with some regression.

Similarly, Marcus Semien went from a 104 wRC+ to a 124 wRC+. This is true of most World Series teams. You see a lot of guys either have career years or big leaps all at once. Semien overperformed in a big way in the SLG department at .478, as his xSLG was .426. On the flip side, Adolis Garcia underperformed by 15 points in SLG-xSLG, but he still hit 39 homers and had his second straight season with over 100 RBI. He also walked 10.3% of the time, which is a huge development given the high K%.

I think Josh Jung is a really interesting guy to follow this season. He hit 19 homers with a .280/.331/.504 slash in the first half over 375 PA. He only had 140 PA in the second half with four homers and a .229/.271/.366 slash. If a 125 wRC+ like he had in the first half is sustainable for the full season, or at least something in that ballpark, that elevates this lineup so much more.

The fact of the matter is that nine of the top 10 guys in plate appearances had a wRC+ over 100 and eight of them are back. Also, that doesn’t include Carter or Langford. The only guy under 100 who is still around is Leody Taveras, who still posted 2.3 fWAR last season. This position player group remains excellent and could be even better than last season’s.

Texas Rangers Preview: Pitching

The Rangers really cobbled it all together last season. They traded for Jordan Montgomery, who was stellar in the playoffs. They got way more than they could have imagined out of Nathan Eovaldi and Dane Dunning. They traded for Max Scherzer. They pushed the envelope as far as they possibly could to help out this pitching staff and it ultimately worked out.

Heading into 2024, they’ll be waiting for deGrom until after the All-Star Break in all likelihood by the time he gets healthy and gets built up in the minors. If he’s effective, that’s a hell of a Trade Deadline addition. I think they may badly need him by that time.

This Rangers group was 18th in ERA and FIP last season. That’s typically not what you see from a World Series champion. Furthermore, this pitching staff was 18th in ERA at 4.62 and 21st in FIP at 4.58 in the second half. That was even with a 2.79 ERA and a 3.27 FIP from Montgomery after the trade from the Cardinals.

The offense provides a remarkable margin for error for these guys, but the projection systems are not kind to any of them. While I do not treat those as gospel by any means, it’s worth noting that the best ERA in the rotation of Eovaldi, Jon Gray, Andrew Heaney, Dunning, and Cody Bradford by Steamer projections is Eovaldi at 4.23. ZiPS has him at 4.12 to lead the group. That’s assuming we get a healthy Eovaldi and Steamer projects him for 174 innings, a number he has reached once in his career and he turned 34 in February.

ZiPS has a more responsible projection for 131 innings. Gray is also only down for around 130 innings. Heaney is at 117, with Steamer on the high end at 145. Dunning projects to be the most durable by a decent margin. Max Scherzer is expected back in June. deGrom in August. Tyler Mahle is on a similar timeline to deGrom. If the projected rotation can hang on long enough for reinforcements to arrive, it could help a lot.

I’ll be curious to see if that happens. Eovaldi had a 2.83 ERA over 117.2 innings in the first half, but came back and had a miserable September with 21 runs allowed in 20.1 innings. Somehow, he turned it around in the playoffs and was quite stellar, but the health is always a big question. Gray had his own second-half issues, posting a 5.32 ERA over his final 64.1 innings. An injury also derailed him.

Heaney’s 147.2 innings were the most he had thrown since 2018. Dunning spent most of the season as a huge negative regression candidate and finished with a 3.70 ERA, but a 4.48 xERA. I’m not sure Bradford is a MLB-caliber arm, but the Rangers may have no choice. Prospects Owen White and Jack Leiter (son of Al) may appear this season, but Jack has struggled badly since turning pro after being a standout at Vanderbilt.

The Rangers bullpen posted a 5.01 ERA and a 4.94 FIP in the second half as well, so this was a group that did not impress. Jose Leclerc was great down the stretch, but Will Smith did not and Aroldis Chapman had walk and home run problems. When you look at how the second half went, it’s a marvel that this team won it all, but that speaks to getting hot at the right time and hitting the absolute snot out of the ball.

This year’s pen loses Smith and Chapman, along with some others, but Leclerc is back along with newcomers David Robertson and Kirby Yates, who both have closing experience.

Texas Rangers Player To Watch

SP Dane Dunning

Like so many Rangers, the second half was unkind to Dunning. He allowed 14 HR in 80.2 innings after allowing six in 92 innings in the first half. His ERA jumped from 2.84 to 4.69 and his wOBA against was 55 points higher. Regression finally found him and he struggled his way through July, August, and September.He only posted a 19.4% K% and allowed a Hard Hit% over 40.2%. He also allowed the highest launch angle of his career.

It could’ve just been fatigue, it could’ve been something more. Apparently he spent the winter learning a forkball, so I guess he’ll be looking for more grounders this season, which makes sense given his batted ball distribution. He had a GB% over 53% in 2021 and 2022 before posting a 46.3% mark last season.

Texas Rangers Season Win Total Odds & Prediction

This is a really perplexing team to me. This is not the pitching staff of a 90-win team, but if you told me that the Rangers would average six runs per game on offense, I would believe you. Last year’s team scored 5.4 runs/game and I could see improvement this season. I could also see some guys leak back towards their career norms and the team a little closer to 5.0 R/G.

If that’s the case, this pitching staff is going to be up against it a little bit, especially in the first half until the walking wounded are able to return to the front lines. This was a team that made a 22-win improvement from 2022 to 2023. That’s a huge leap. While the Rangers did spend money and bring in talent, they also went for it at the Trade Deadline and brought in a lot of stopgaps.

I lean Under 89.5 here, simply because I don’t know how the pitching will hold up and there’s no guarantee that Scherzer looks like himself in June or that Mahle/deGrom avoid setbacks. But, man, this offense should rake and I think we’ll see a lot of slow-pitch softball games out of this team.

Slight Lean: Under 89.5

Get all of our preseason coverage in the 2024 MLB Betting Guide.