Five Major Questions for the 2016 Texas Rangers

Source: Tom Pennington/Getty Images North America

Source: Tom Pennington/Getty Images North America

Will 2015’s offensive standouts maintain their production?

2014 was a year of disappointment for Rangers fans, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Both of the big-name acquisitions from the 2013-14 offseason, Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo, under-performed miserably. Young hitters like Elvis Andrus, Mitch Moreland, Michael Choice and J.P. Arencibia also fell far short of expectations. However, 2015 seemed to be quite the opposite, with Choo and Fielder returning (at least mostly) to form at the plate. Fielder slashed .305/.378/.463 with 28 doubles and 23 homers, as well as a 64:88 BB:K ratio. Choo also started to provide the gap-to-gap pop that he displayed in Cincinnati, racking up an impressive 32 doubles after hitting just 19 in 2014. Choo also upped his on-base percentage from .340 to .375, which is much closer to his career average (.382), and posted an OPS+ of 125 as opposed to just 100 (league average) in 2014.

Andrus took a step in the right direction, increasing his OPS by 20 points and cutting his strikeout totals from 96 to 78. While his season totals don’t look outstanding otherwise, his second-half numbers were far better than his first half, which Rangers fans hope is a bit of momentum he can carry into 2016. 21-year-old Rougned Odor impressed many with his play in 2015, showing an improved ability to get on base and hit for power (.297/.402 OBP/SLG in 2014 vs. .316/.465 in 2015). Rule 5 draft pick Delino DeShields set the table well at the top of the order for the Rangers, slashing .261/.344/.374 and stealing 25 bases in his first major-league season. First baseman Mitch Moreland regained some of the power he flashed before 2014, hitting 23 home runs and 27 doubles for a slugging percentage of .482 in 515 plate appearances. Whether or not most of these players can maintain or step up their 2015 levels of play will dictate whether the 2016 team has a top-five offense or not.

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