Originally posted on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 3/30/12

The Texas Rangers had a 2011 season nearly identical to their 2010: winning the AL West, and then winning the AL pennant. Clear as mud. Unfortunately, the seasons ended the same way too: with a World Series loss to an NL club that got into the playoffs on the season’s last day. Texas returns the nearly identical lineup this season as they had in 2011, with the exception of Josh Hamilton shifting to left field and Julio Borbon starting every day in center.

Rangers on TOC
End of Season Postmortem
Top Ten Prospects
You May Say I’m a Dreamer

Depth Chart (as of 3/30)
C: Mike Napoli
1B: Mitch Moreland
2B: Ian Kinsler
SS: Elvis Andrus
3B: Adrian Beltre
LF: Josh Hamilton
CF: Julio Borbon
RF: Nelson Cruz
DH: Michael Young
SP: Colby Lewis
SP: Derek Holland
SP: Matt Harrison
SP: Yu Darvish
SP: Neftali Feliz
CL: Joe Nathan

New Faces
The biggest new name in Texas is much-coveted starting pitcher Yu Darvish, who the Rangers ended up paying a mint for this offseason. Texas also has a new closer, shifting former closer Neftali Feliz to the rotation and signing former Twins standout Joe Nathan. And that’s really about all that the Rangers did this offseason. They pretty much stood pat after winning a pair of AL pennants.

Departures
Former ace CJ Wilson left town to go to the divisional rival Los Angeles Angels. Reliever Darren Oliver also left town, heading north of the border to the Blue Jays. Another reliever, Mike Gonzalez, is a free agent that hasn’t signed with anyone yet. And then, bench players Matt Treanor and Endy Chavez went elsewhere.

Impact Rookies
If you consider Darvish a rookie (technically correct, but realistically not), then he’s going to make a huge impact on the Rangers rotation this season. He’s essentially replacing Wilson on the team, and those are some pretty large shoes to fill, even if Wilson was only a dominant starter for two seasons. If Borbon struggles in center field, and the Rangers aren’t keen on starting David Murphy or Craig Gentry, they could call up Cuban signee Leonys Martin to fill the center field role.

Position Battles
There’s not much going on this late in spring training. With Hamilton shifting away from center field, the speedy Borbon will take over there, with Gentry and Murphy filling in when days off are necessary.

Injury Concerns
The Rangers are completely healthy, with one exception: prospect Matthew West, who sprained his elbow and may require Tommy John surgery for the injury.

Burning Question
Will the musical chairs arrangement of Neftali Feliz to the rotation, Alexi Ogando to the bullpen, and Joe Nathan to the closer’s role end up working out better for the Rangers than if they had Ogando in the rotation and Feliz still closing?

Best Case
Texas’s lineup does the exact same things they did last year, and Darvish wins the AL Rookie of the Year while contending for the Cy Young. The Rangers win the AL West over the Angels, and finally get the monkey off their back by winning the World Series

Worst Case
The Angels super team is just too good for the Rangers, and Texas doesn’t win the division. The team has to battle for a wild card berth, and while they get it, they get booted in the first round after being fatigued from their battle down the stretch.

Realistic Prediction
The Rangers are a damn good team, which isn’t really a bold statement at all. It’s a toss-up on whether or not they’ll beat the Angels, but I’d expect both teams in the playoffs, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they both went very far too.

[follow]

{loadposition content3}

This article first appeared on The Outside Corner and was syndicated with permission.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

LeBron, Steph featured on SI ‘A Nation Divided, Sports United’ cover

Tom Brady on Aaron Hernandez: ‘I don’t think about him very often’

Four NCAA BB assistants arrested in alleged fraud scheme involving Adidas

Patriots apologize for charging fans $5 for tap water

If you don't appreciate Aaron Judge yet, there's still time

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jerry Jones kneels with players prior to anthem, later stands

Jim Harbaugh wants Big Ten to address ‘unsportsmanlike’ opposing locker rooms

Yasiel Puig to play Tuesday after being benched two games

The strangest, oddest, most ridiculous developments of NFL Week 3

LeBron on Irving trade: I was ready to give him the keys

Josh Norman to Raiders WRs: ‘Do not run your mouth’

After Carmelo Anthony trade, the Western Conference looks completely different

The 'Celebrations are afoot in Philadelphia' quiz

Getaway Day: Closing time on 2017 regular season

Sports & Politics Intersect: Mayor Garcetti rolls back the NFL red carpet

The 'Greatest Show temporarily not on turf' quiz

Separating MLS playoff contenders from pretenders

WNBA Finals preview: Lynx look for revenge against Sparks

The 'Chris Sale joins an elite club' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: The home runs just keep on coming

Building on the NFL's positive changes beyond 2017

NFL Week 3 predictions

The 'MLB is as powerful as ever' quiz

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

After Melo trade, the West looks completely different

The 'Celebrations are afoot in Philadelphia' quiz

Getaway Day: Closing time on 2017 regular season

Sports & Politics Intersect: Mayor Garcetti rolls back the NFL red carpet

The 'Greatest Show temporarily not on turf' quiz

Separating MLS playoff contenders from pretenders

WNBA Finals preview: Lynx look for revenge against Sparks

Three Up, Three Down: The home runs just keep on coming

The 'Chris Sale joins an elite club' quiz

Building on the NFL's positive changes beyond 2017

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker