Texas Rangers 2024 Season Preview

The Texas Rangers are the defending World Series champions. How are they looking heading into the 2024 season?

Marcus Semien #2 of the Texas Rangers is met a home plate by Corey Seager #5 after hitting a solo home run in the first inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.
PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - MAY 24: Marcus Semien #2 of the Texas Rangers is met a home plate by Corey Seager #5 after hitting a solo home run in the first inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 24, 2023 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

For the first time in the history of history, the Texas Rangers will be looking to repeat as World Series champions. Riding high from their shocking run through October, the 2024 Rangers will have their sights set on a return trip to the playoffs and hopefully postseason glory once again. They will have to buck the historic trends that have recently plagued reigning champions.

In the past two offseasons, the Rangers have made the biggest of splashes. First by signing Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, and Jon Gray prior to the 2022 season, then by going out and getting Jacob deGrom, Nathan Eovaldi, and Andrew Heaney before last year. This offseason has been quite different.

With the uncertainty surrounding the regional sports networks and how much money the organization will be guaranteed from TV in the future, there has been a lack of high-end spending this offseason. Couple that with the fact that because of the previously mentioned moves, the Rangers will have their largest payroll in the history of the franchise in 2024, and big signings this offseason were never in the cards.

There were calls for GM Chris Young to re-sign playoff hero Jordan Montgomery ever since Josh Sborz got Ketel Marte looking to end the World Series. On Tuesday, the southpaw signed with the Diamondbacks instead. “Just write the check,” many had said. When spending other people’s money, that really is an easy answer. Owner Ray Davis should continue to write large checks, but within reason.

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What is in store for this 2024 Texas Rangers ball club? Let’s take a look at where the season might go and which players will most likely have the biggest impact.

Texas Rangers Projected Lineup

Projected Lineup
1. Marcus Semien – R – 2B
2. Corey Seager – L – SS
3. Evan Carter – L – LF
4. Adolis García – R – RF
5. Josh Jung – R – 3B
6. Wyatt Langford – R – DH
7. Jonah Heim – S – C
8. Jared Walsh – L – 1B*
9. Leody Taveras – S – CF

Very few lineups will cause more stress for opposing pitchers this year than the Texas Rangers. With a stacked top of the order and few apparent weaknesses, there are no easy outs when Bochy turns in his lineup card.

Marcus Semien and Corey Seager will not only set the table but will do plenty of damage themselves. Semien is Mr. Ironman, playing in all 162 games last season and slamming 29 home runs from the leadoff spot. Seager missed some time last year but still smashed 33 home runs in just 119 games.

The duo was, in fact, so good that Seager finished second and Semien third in the AL MVP race. Not a bad start to a lineup.

Who Hits After Semien and Seager?

The order of the lineup after the top two guys is a little murky; it will undoubtedly ebb and flow throughout the season. On Monday’s exhibition against the Boston Red Sox, Bochy used the above-listed lineup.

The lineup will change on any given day depending on the handedness of the opposing starter, or how individuals are swinging the bat as of late. For instance, Bochy showed that he wasn’t scared to put young rookie phenom Evan Carter in the three-hole in the World Series. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him there at times during the regular season as well.

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After working hard on his plate discipline and approach heading into last year, Adolis García will be looking to maintain the confidence he built during his stat-busting playoff run. If he can stay within himself and not try to do too much, García should have an even better season with all of the other productive pieces around him.

Defense Is Still a Key

Josh Jung and Seager have missed almost all of the preseason due to injury. Jung had a calf strain, and Seager was rehabbing from a sports hernia surgery he had late in the offseason. Thankfully they both seem to be on track for Opening Day. Not only is that a huge boost for the offense, but it will help solidify the team’s rock-solid defense as well.

For as much as this team slugs, they can also flash the leather. That goes a long way in helping the pitching staff. This defense can get off the field quickly so they can get back to work with their bats.

Everyone loves to talk about offense, so stellar defense can sometimes be overlooked. A fun fact from last season is that the two teams with the fewest errors on the year ended up playing in the World Series. The Arizona Diamondbacks committed 56 errors, while the Rangers came in second in MLB with only 57.

Rangers players and coaches alike take pride in their defensive abilities. With all of the key players back from last season, that will not change in 2024. Look for a number of web gems, but more than that, look for a tight defense that doesn’t give the other team extra outs very often.

The Bottom of the Order Is Stout

With Nathaniel Lowe starting the season on the IL due to an oblique strain, Jared Walsh, who was a non-roster invitee to camp, looks to be making the Opening Day roster. Walsh was an All-Star in 2021 before injuries and a neurological issue hampered his production over the past two seasons. Another strong veteran bat will be nice to have until Lowe is healthy enough to return to action.

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With Wyatt Langford and Evan Carter both bursting onto the scene, there has been much clamor about trading Leody Taveras. Thank goodness that X.com fans don’t run baseball organizations.

First off, Taveras is only 25 years old and doesn’t have a birthday until September 8. While he isn’t the batter that Langford or Carter is, he is a switch-hitter who plays an above-average center field. That is worth a lot to this club.

Last season Taveras was slightly below average at the plate with a 97 OPS+, but he improved both his strikeout rate (25.8% in 2022 vs 21.1% in 2023) and his home run rate (1.5% in 2022 vs 2.5% in 2023).

Having someone like Taveras in the nine-hole, a hitter who can turn over the order and also has tremendous speed, is a luxury for the Rangers. He struggled with the bat in the playoffs, but still, he hit a huge home run off of Justin Verlander in Game 1 of the ALCS.

Texas Rangers Projected Bench

Ezequiel Duran, Josh Smith, Travis Jankowski, Andrew Knizner

With Mitch Garver heading to Seattle in free agency, the Rangers either needed to promote Sam Huff to the backup catcher role or go outside of the organization. They chose to do the latter and brought in Andrew Knizner to help Heim with catching duties.

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Knizner comes to the Rangers after spending his first seven professional seasons in the St. Louis Cardinals organization. He has proven to have some pop with the bat, as he blasted two home runs this spring in just 38 plate appearances.

Josh Smith and Ezequiel Duran are huge parts of this Rangers team. They can both play just about every position on the diamond and play them at a high level. Duran has the higher ceiling with the bat, but Smith can be a tough out as well. While Lowe is missing early on, Duran will more than likely be platooning at first base with the left-handed hitting Walsh.

Travis Jankowski, a.k.a. El Blondi, as he is affectionately known by Rangers fans, is back for 2024. From looking like he wouldn’t make the team out of spring training last year to starting in the World Series when García went down was quite a jump.

Jankowski has quickly become a player that is easy to pull for, as you know that he is going to give it his all no matter what the situation. He is a good teammate, and bringing a guy like him back for another year speaks volumes, not only to his character but to the front office’s emphasis on good clubhouse traits.

Texas Rangers Projected Rotation

Projected RotationRotation Depth
1. Nathan Eovaldi RHPMichael Lorenzen RHP
2. Jon Gray RHPMax Scherzer RHP*
3. Andrew Heaney LHPTyler Mahle RHP*
4. Dane Dunning RHPJacob deGrom RHP*
5. Cody Bradford LHPJack Leiter RHP
* Injured

It always comes down to the pitching. You can’t have enough of it, and it can make or break a team. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the starting rotation for the Rangers as they begin the 2024 season.

The Rangers rotation will be tested early and often with a tough schedule to start the season. Seven of their first 16 games will be against the Astros – that’s more than half of their total games against Houston. Throw in trips to Tampa Bay, a sneaky-good Detroit team, and Atlanta, along with home series against the Mariners, Reds, and the Athletics (need to win this one!), and April is going to be tough.

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Unlike last season, when the Rangers had a ton of off days early on to help the pitching staff, they will actually have their longest stretch of consecutive games front-loaded on the schedule in 2024.

From April 5 to April 21, the Rangers play 17 straight games. Continuing to May 8, the Rangers will have 33 games in 34 days. There will be two off days in there, as the last day will be a doubleheader at Oakland. Still, that’s a lot of games with little time to rest up and breathe.

Nathan Eovaldi Leads the Way

At the top of the rotation is Nathan Eovaldi. He will get the Opening Day start after helping lead the Rangers to the World Series title last season. Not only is Eovaldi a competitor on the mound, but he has become a key mentor to many of the younger arms in the Rangers organization.

Next up is Jon Gray. When he is healthy and dealing, there are few better pitchers in the game. Another strong competitor, Gray enjoys getting the ball every fifth day and leading his team. He is in the third year of a four-year deal.

Dane Dunning was a pleasant surprise last season. He started in the bullpen and stepped up in a huge way when Jacob deGrom went down. Dunning will look to build on his 2023 numbers. That will require him to settle into a nice rhythm early as a starter.

The late signing of Michael Lorenzen gives the team some much-needed depth. He looks to slot into the rotation as soon as his arm is ready, which shouldn’t take long at all. Lorenzen isn’t the splashy signing that fans hoped for, but he is a quality pitcher who will have plenty to prove on his one-year contract.

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Lefty Starters

Andrew Heaney and Cody Bradford are the lefty starters to open the season.

Heaney had a very up-and-down year in 2023. Yet, he ultimately compiled a 10-6 record with a 4.15 ERA across 147.1 innings pitched. He can be a dominant pitcher or one that has serious issues. There is not much middle ground. Such is the life for most middle-to-bottom-of-the-rotation arms these days.

Heaney did have success out of the pen for the Rangers last season, and that ultimately could be where he finds himself again.

Cody Bradford will get one start in the rotation as the season begins. After that, he will more than likely head back to the pen. It looked like Bradford was a lock for the fifth starter spot for most of the offseason, but the Lorenzen signing changed all of that.

Perhaps with all of the games and limited off days, Bradford will find himself starting a few more games early on. A six-man rotation isn’t something the Rangers went with last season, but they could implement it at times to make sure everyone is fully rested.

Rotation Reinforcements

As with most rotations around the league, the Rangers’ will change its look as the season progresses. But for Texas, the additional pieces are already a known quantity. Max Scherzer, Tyler Mahle, and Jacob deGrom are a robust trio of arms that are on the rehab trail. They will look to make a massive impact on the team in the second half.

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Scherzer is rehabbing from back surgery and is currently on pace to join the team sometime in June. He might have not been his old dominant self in the playoffs last year, but he did give the team a much-needed boost after the trade deadline last year. Scherzer is a bulldog and a must-watch every time it is Scherzday.

Mahle is rehabbing after undergoing Tommy John surgery last May. The Rangers signed him to a two-year $22 million contract this offseason and will be looking for a year and a half of productivity in return.

And who can forget about Jacob deGrom? If the Rangers are able to hold things together and stay in contention long enough, the return of deGrom in August could be a complete game-changer. The best pitcher on the planet is rehabbing from his own Tommy John surgery. If all goes well, he could potentially pitch the final two months of the regular season.

With all of the additional firepower that will be on its way, it will be interesting to see how it all looks come August, September, and potentially October.

Texas Rangers Projected Bullpen

Projected BullpenProjected Bullpen Depth
José Leclerc RHPMarc Church RHP
Kirby Yates RHPJack Leiter RHP
David Robertson RHPYerry Rodríguez RHP
Josh Sborz RHPJonathan Hernández RHP
Brock Burke LHPAntoine Kelly LHP
José Ureña RHPZak Kent RHP
Jacob Latz LHPOwen White RHP
Grant Anderson RHPCole Winn RHP

It is well documented that the Achilles heel of the 2023 Rangers was their bullpen. The depth was not there, and few pitchers could be counted on late in games.

That all changed in the playoffs. José Leclerc and Josh Sborz both stepped up their games. Also, several starters that slid into bullpen roles pitched wonderfully in October. The pen could have a similar feel to it this season.

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With the addition of veterans David Robertson and Kirby Yates, the bullpen looks to have some of the depth that it was lacking last year. Plus, the team has several young arms who will start in the minors that should be able to get outs in Arlington this season when called upon.

Leclerc appears to be the closer heading into 2024, but as Bochy proved last year, he isn’t going to be restricted by set roles with his players. He is perfectly okay to go with the hot hand and will play a hunch as well as anyone.

Still, having a healthy Leclerc at the back end of the game sure doesn’t hurt things. And the fact that Sborz was left in to record the final outs of the World Series last year says a lot about his moxie.

Top Prospects Who Could Help in 2024

Wyatt Langford OF, Evan Carter OF, Marc Church RHP, Jack Leiter RHP

Obviously, Langford and Carter are going to help in 2024. The Just Baseball Top 100 has the pair listed at #2 and #5, respectively. They will begin the season not just on the roster, but in the starting lineup. There will no doubt be a fun battle between the two in the Rookie of the Year race.

Many believed that Marc Church would and should make the Opening Day roster. Despite having a good spring, Church will start the year at Triple-A Round Rock. This move is more about him still having options and the team needing to secure some additional pitching depth with José Ureña.

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Barring injury, Church will eventually make his way to Arlington this year; you can count on it.

Jack Leiter was once at the top of the prospect rankings, yet he has now fallen out of most top 100 lists. The struggle has been real for the second overall pick of the 2021 draft. Professional ball has proven difficult for Leiter up to this point, but his trajectory appears to have changed yet again. This time in a positive direction.

Leiter had a great spring, and before the Lorenzen signing, he had an outside shot at making the Opening Day roster. Instead, he will join Church in Round Rock and continue to work on his craft and await his call to the big league club.

Texas Rangers 2024 Outlook

Defending World Series champions, the Texas Rangers. Fans won’t get tired of hearing that introduction this season. But what will the 2024 season bring?

Fun times in Arlington are in store this season. Does that mean the AL West is the Rangers’ to lose, and another deep playoff run is imminent? Not at all. In fact, most people have the Astros winning the AL West this season.

And while the AL West is going to be a dogfight this year between Texas, Houston, and Seattle, the playoffs are the number one goal for this team. They proved last year that if they can get into the party, anything is possible in October.

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Reaching the playoffs is no given, but this team has the players to get there again in 2024. The offense is going to be one of the best in baseball again, along with that stingy defense. The pitching is going to be the big question mark, but heading into the season there is much optimism on that front as well.

It is possible that this team is in fact better than last year’s squad, yet doesn’t guarantee they end up with the Commissioner’s Trophy at the end. That is the beauty of baseball and the long regular season followed by the gauntlet of the playoffs.

One thing that is going to be true is that the Rangers will be a dynamic team to watch this summer. Not only will Texas fans be tuning in to catch their team, but baseball fans in general will be keeping an eye on the great state of Texas and its baseball.

Buckle up everyone, because as the legendary PA announcer Chuck Morgan would remind us, “It’s baseball time in Texas.”