Texas Rangers' best-case and worst-case scenarios for 2024 season

Feb 20, 2024; Surprise, AZ, USA; Texas Rangers right fielder Adolis Garcia (53) poses for a photo
Feb 20, 2024; Surprise, AZ, USA; Texas Rangers right fielder Adolis Garcia (53) poses for a photo / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Rangers fans have a lot to look forward to in 2024, beginning with Opening Day, when the 2023 World Series banner is raised. It’s been nearly a quarter century since a team has successfully defended the Commissioner’s Trophy, but the Rangers clearly have the offense to do so.

Texas Rangers' Best-Case Scenario for 2024

There may not be a better top-to-bottom lineup in the game, and that includes the Dodgers and Braves. Marcus Semien and Corey Seager combined to drive in 196 runs last year, Adolis Garcia added 107, and Jonah Heim had 95. Josh Jung and Evan Carter both broke through, and Wyatt Langford is making spring noises like he’s prepared to join them.

Here’s the scary part. With the exception of the veteran Semien, every one of the above-named guys had the best season of his career in 2023, and every one of them remains in his prime, meaning that even better is plausibly yet to come.

Carter is the perfect example. He batted .306 with five homers and a dozen RBI in just 75 late-season plate appearances, then hit .300 with a .917 OPS against the game’s best during the postseason. This, for the record, is a 21-year-old. Give Carter a full season and stand back.

The Rangers made the playoffs last season as a 90-win Wild Card while finishing third in the majors in runs scored per game. If all those sluggers perform up to heightened expectations, this is a 100-win lineup.  

Texas Rangers' Worst-Case Scenario for 2024

Against all their lofty hopes, two factors should keep Ranger fans awake at least part of the night. The first is pitching performance. Neither Jacob deGrom nor Max Scherzer will even put on a uniform before midseason at the earliest, and it would take a quality soothsayer to forecast how much or how well either will pitch when they are healed from arm injuries.

At least for the first few months, that leaves the pitching in the hands of Nathan Eovaldi, Dane Dunning, Jon Gray and Andrew Heaney. They combined to produce a 3.90 ERA last season -- good enough to support the Ranger offense, but hardly championship quality.

An effective bullpen kept the staff ERA down to 4.42, ahead of the league average of 4.62. But bullpens are notoriously flighty from season to season.

If the staff doesn’t hold up, the Ranger offense could find itself immersed in a lot of 10-9 games by the time deGrom and Scherzer are ready.  

The Rangers do have the advantage of playing in the AL West, a division outfitted with two probable non-contenders in the Angels and A’s. But they likely can’t beat the Astros without consistent quality pitching performances, and they also can’t take the Seattle Mariners for granted.

The second concern is history. Here’s another stat Rangers cans mull over in their nightmares. Since the Yankees repeated in 1999-2000, 11 of the 23 defending World Series champions failed to even reach postseason play just one October later.

Most Realistic Scenario for Texas Rangers

That Ranger offense is a scary proposition, too scary to bet much against. Unless injuries strike down Garcia, Heim, Seager, Carter or Jung – in which case all bets are off – it’s too deep a lineup to see going sour.

The pitching staff is another matter entirely. The kindest description of both Heaney and Gray is ‘lunch bucket journeyman,’ and while Eovaldi can deliver quality, he hasn’t given back-to-back 25 start seasons in a decade.

Finally there are the great unknowns represented by deGrom and Scherzer, who it should be noted will be 36 and 39 when they do come back.

To use a boxing analogy, the Rangers are the baseball version of Jake LaMotta, the Raging Bull of days of yore. They’ll administer a lot of punishment, and they’ll also absorb a lot. When the final bell rings, somebody will be left bloodied but standing, and it might or might not be them.

Either way, it'll be entertaining to watch.

Yankees' best-case and worst-case scenarios for 2024 (calltothepen.com)