With a week until Opening Day, we'll take a look at the five most important factors to Rangers' success in 2016, spread out over — you guessed it — five days.
No. 4: Can the Rangers' bullpen be as dominant as it was over the second half a year ago?
Bullpen pitchers are rarely guys who can be trusted to be consistent for several years. Unless your name is Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman or someone like Aroldis Chapman, even guys who seem to be givens can fall off a cliff.
Look at Neftali Feliz, for instance, if you need some good evidence of that.
It's really a year-to-year proposition. But with all that said, the Rangers appear to be well set in the bullpen with several power arms in tow, including multiple guys who could pitch the ninth inning if needed.
Shawn Tolleson, Sam Dyson, Jake Diekman, Tom Wilhelmsen and Keone Kela? That's a group I'd take to battle, and that doesn't even include Andrew Faulkner, the hard-throwing lefty who might've been the Rangers' best pitcher in spring training. Oh, and you've got a guy at Double-A throwing 100 mph in redemption project Matt Bush.
But, all things could change in a hurry either with an injury or two or just ineffectiveness (again, look at Tanner Scheppers and Neal Cotts if you don't believe me).
While it seems the Rangers are set in the bullpen, and they very well may be, they're going to have to show it and pitch to the paper. If they're as good as advertised, the Rangers have a chance to be very good this year.