ARLINGTON (105.3 THE FAN) — The Texas Rangers open the 2014 season on Monday against Cliff Lee and the Philadelphia Phillies.
Vegas has put the Rangers O/U for wins at 86.5, which would be their lowest total since winning 79 games in 2008.
Our panel from 105.3 The Fan weighed in with their predictions for the 2014 season.
The Rangers will win the AL West if ….
RJ Choppy — …everyone else in the division suffers the same number of injuries as they have.
Cory Mageors — …they get healthy and have an Oakland A’s type post All-Star break hot streak.
Mike Rodriguez — …their pitching is healthy heading into the season. It’s not, and they won’t win the AL West.
Who will be the biggest surprise for the Rangers in 2014?
RJ Choppy — JP Arencibia. I don’t just love him because he’s a Vol, but also because I think the pitchers like throwing to him. He will not hit for average — we know that — but he’s got a little pop and calls a good game.
Cory Mageors — Robbie Ross will make people happy he got his shot.
Mike Rodriguez — The biggest surprise will be Robbie Ross. He will be a 10-game winner as a starter.
The biggest bust?
RJ Choppy — Jurickson Profar. Sorry guys. I know I’ve harped on Profar before, but the expectations were just too high for a kid who’s never put up numbers at any level of pro baseball. He’s not Mike Trout; he’s not Bryce Harper; he’s never going to be Derek Jeter or Cal Ripken. He’s going to be a more athletic and more consistent Royce Clayton.
Cory Mageors — Jurickson Profar is on a bad trajectory right now.
Mike Rodriguez — Choo will have an average season, but will be considered a bust based on the contract he got. He’s getting paid like a hitter who should hit .320 this season — he will be lucky to hit .280.
One bold prediction for the 2014 season.
RJ Choppy — There will not be a trade deadline deal, because they no longer want to give up the prospects.
Cory Mageors — Prince Fielder will finish top-5 in MVP voting.
Mike Rodriguez — The dream is over. The glory days of being a world Series contender are officially a thing of the past. That core is long gone and we don’t know what to expect with this new group. This has rebuilding year written all over it. A true test for fans who consider themselves part of a “baseball town”.
Rangers Projected Final Record
RJ Choppy — 89-73
Cory Mageors — 87-76
Mike Rodriguez — 76 – 86
Will the Rangers make the playoffs?
RJ Choppy — Yes — AL West Champs. Too many injuries and a lack of talent at the bottom of division allows them to win with 89. Plus Hou/Sea are better, so that will bring the needed win total down. I think they win the division by one game.
Cory Mageors — No playoffs and no Wild Card and no fake playoff play-in game. (this makes me sad)
Mike Rodriguez — The only shot at the playoff is if the geniuses who run Major League Baseball start allowing third place teams to play for the chance to get into the one-game Wild Card. But considering how badly MLB has screwed up their postseason, this wouldn’t surprise me.
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