Five Major Questions for the 2016 Texas Rangers

Source: Ashley Marshall/MiLB.com

Source: Ashley Marshall/MiLB.com

Will any of the Rangers prospects make meaningful contributions this season?

The Rangers farm system is full of quality talent, some of which could potentially make a splash in the majors in 2o16. One player who got a taste in 2015 was power-hitting corner infielder Joey Gallo, who played 36 games for the MLB club in 2015, slashing .204/.301/.417 with six home runs. However, the glaring deficiency in Gallo’s game was his inability to put the ball in play, striking out in an astounding 46% of his plate appearances (57 K in 123 PA). With a bit of re-tooling his swing and approach to limit his strikeouts, Gallo has a chance to contribute to the team in 2016 and potentially develop into a 30-HR kind of talent in the future.

The Rangers also have a trio of minor-league outfielders who could get some MLB time in 2016 in Lewis Brinson, Nomar Mazara, and the newly acquired Patrick Kivlehan. Mazara has been a highly-regarded prospect in his time with the Rangers organization, and is still just 20 years old. However, he tore up the AAA circuit in 20 games to close out 2015, slashing .358/.409/.444 in 88 plate appearances. Brinson wasn’t a top prospect going into 2015, but combined to bat .332/.403/.601 across three levels (A+/AA/AAA) last season, while slugging 20 home runs and 31 doubles. Brinson will likely spend the majority of 2016 in AAA, but could turn heads with a September call-up given a successful minor league campaign. Kivlehan doesn’t boast the eye-popping MiLB numbers that Mazara or Brinson do, but he’s 26 years old and performed solidly enough for the Mariners’ AAA affiliate last season that he could provide depth in case of an injury early in 2016.

The Rangers’ have a handful of minor league pitchers with MLB experience, including Luke Jackson, Anthony Ranaudo, Phil Klein as well as Chi Chi Gonzalez. Jackson is likely the one with the most upside in this group, posting a 10.7 K/9 at AAA Round Rock in 2015, but his ceiling is limited because he likely doesn’t have the juice to start in the majors like the other three do. The Rangers big-league club is good, but injuries and inconsistent performance are always possibilities, so having players who can fill holes on the fly will be huge for the Rangers in 2016.

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