Rangers Return Potent Lineup

Texas Rangers | Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

The Texas Rangers had one of baseball’s most potent offensive lineups last season, finishing among the top five in the MLB in batting average, home runs, RBIs, and hits.

But could they be even better in 2024?

“I think so, yeah,” manager Bruce Bochy told the media when asked that exact question on Wednesday. “Hopefully, we all improve. … I don’t think they’ve hit their ceiling yet, so, yeah, as an offensive group, I think we can improve.”

Six players from last season’s Opening Day lineup return for Texas this season, with “new” starters at designated hitter, left field, and right field. The outfield spots will likely be filled by crucial contributors to the club’s World Series run as Adolis Garcia takes over in right and Evan Carter in left.

Garcia started in center field in last year’s opener against the Philadelphia Phillies, but Leody Taveras soon took command of the position and held it for much of the season. According to MLB.com, Texas’ No.6 prospect, Justin Foscue, projects as the team’s new designated after the departure of Mitch Garver.

“He’s a bat that works at first base, second base, and DH,” Bochy said of Foscue. “…With Garver gone, we’re still looking for some help there at the DH spot.”

With so many returning players, the batting order is close to set, with Marcus Semien and Corey Seager occupying the top two spots, but the third hitter remains a mystery for now. While Garcia, Carter, and Nathaniel Lowe have all filled the spot in the past, Bochy says he has options for the third spot but wants to keep Garcia fourth.

“We’re going to get some looks at some different lineups this spring,” he explained. “I think the three-hole could be an area where we do mix it a bit depending on who’s pitching. I think you have to look at who’s swinging the bat well.”

Whoever gets the third spot will have the luxury of hitting in the middle of a lethal lineup, with great table setters at the top and other hitters behind him that opposing pitchers won’t want to face.

If Lowe drops down the order, it could make the bottom of the lineup even more robust with a career .273 hitter who has hit at least 17 home runs in all three of his seasons with the Rangers. Taveras, catcher Jonah Heim, and third baseman Josh Jung figure to round out the order.

Of course, for the lineup to truly improve from a season that surpassed all expectations, the returning players have to keep up their performances, while the new additions that make the squad hold up their ends of the bargain.

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