By: Reagan Holder
2018 was a tough year for the Rangers. They missed out on the playoffs for the 2nd straight year, finished 28 games below .500 and fired manager , Jeff Banister after his 4th season. No matter how bad that may sound there were some bright spots along with the low spots. Here are the biggest surprise performances and let down performers for the Rangers last year.
Surprise- Isiah Kiner-Falefa
With an early season injury to Adrian Beltre the Rangers called Kiner-Falefa to fill the future hall of famers shoes. Although the didn’t quite produce at the level of Adrian Beltre, he got the job done on multiple occasions. Kiner-Falefa hit .261 in his rookie campaign while playing every infield position including catcher.
Surprise- Jurickson Profar
The former No.1 overall prospect showed some signs of maturity this year. He set a career high in home runs, RBI, runs scored, doubles, triples and walks. Profar also played stelar defense at 7 different positions. The 25 year old took a huge step in the right direction last year. The only question now is his consistency.
Surprise- Jose Leclerc
In Leclerc’s 2nd full season he definitely made a name for himself. He notched a 1.56 ERA with a .85 WHIP and 85 strikeouts in 57.2 innings. His HR/9 was atop the league's best at 0.2 HR per 9 innings. The Rangers bullpen might have been awful, but Leclerc is a huge bright spot.
Disappointment- Delino Deshields Jr.
2017 was a good season for Deshields. He hit a career high .269 while stealing 29 bases and playing top notch defense in center field while being a consistent lead off hitter for the Rangers. 2018 was a completely different story. Deshields hit only .216 with a .310 on base percentage. He quickly lost his lead off spot and struggled to keep his spot in center field. Deshields was sent up and down to Triple A Roundrock to work on his swing throughout the season but nothing seemed to work. He is now competing for a spot in the outfield for the 2019 season, which he seemingly had locked up this time last year.
Disappointment- Elvis Andrus
The Rangers shortstop came off a great year in 2017. He hit over .300 for the first time in his career for the first time and hit a career high 20 home runs. In 2018 that .300 batting average dropped to .256 and he hit only 8 home runs. He struggled to stay healthy landing on the DL for a month and playing a career low 97 games. Let’s hope the now Rangers capitan can stay healthy and get back to his old self in 2019.
Disappointment- Alex Claudio
The sidewinding lefty had great season in 2017 holding down the Rangers pen with a 2.50 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP in 82.2 innings while holding opponents to a .235 batting average. In 2018 however Claudio had a career high 4.48 ERA with a 1.52 WHIP and an opponent average of .329 in 68.1 innings. Claudio had a rough year in 2018 but he has high expectations for himself in 2019.
While the surprise performers made up for the disappointments, the Rangers know they need to be more consistent as a whole if they want to compete in 2019 and years to come.