With the MLB season on the horizon, let's take a look at what we can expect fantasy-wise from some of the Rangers' top players. We'll break it down into three categories — sure things, draft-worthy and sleepers.
Yu Darvish — Darvish has been predicted by many to be a favorite to win the AL Cy Young, and it's not that hard to imagine. Over the final two months of last season, he began to round into form after cutting down on his walks. This spring, it's been more of the same for Darvish, who walked just three hitters in more than 17 innings of spring work. Plus, he's more mature now and doesn't have the weight of Japan on his shoulders like he did last year.
Adrian Beltre — Other than a Triple Crown winner and the best rookie to possibly ever come along, Beltre was the best player in the American League in 2012. He carried the Rangers on his back, crippling hernia injury and all, and put up some serious MVP numbers finishing third in the race behind Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout.
Ian Kinsler — Yeah, he had an awful year in 2012, dreadful, actually. But he still managed to score more than 100 runs as the Rangers' leadoff hitter. If he can get back to his 2011 form, when he was a 30-30 guy, he'll once again be one of the most dangerous leadoff men in baseball.
Joe Nathan — The veteran closer showed he's still plenty capable of shutting down games in 2012 in his first year as the Rangers' closer. Closers, in general, are often overvalued in the fantasy baseball world, but there's no doubt he's one of the best ones as long as he stays healthy.
Matt Harrison — Despite a pretty awful spring, Harrison is still the Rangers' No. 2 pitcher behind Darvish and was the most consistent pitcher the Rangers had last year, which is why he's earned the right to be the team's Opening Day starter. He'll eat innings and get outs, even with his lack of strikeouts.
Lance Berkman — If he stays healthy, there's not much reason (other than an advanced age) to think he can't come close to repeating his 2011 season when he hit over .300, more than 30 homers and was an on-base machine for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Elvis Andrus — This guy could very well be in line for a career year at the plate as he's added gap power and might even approach 10 home runs this year. But make no mistake, Andrus will do his damage with doubles, triples and stolen bases as the Rangers are looking to get back to an aggressive style of baserunning they abandoned last year.
Derek Holland — There hasn't been a more prodigiously talented, yet inconsistent pitcher in the Rangers organization in recent years. Holland has all the tools of an ace, but the inconsistency of a No. 4 or No. 5 starter. The second half of 2011 saw Holland emerge as one of the best pitchers in baseball, but 2012 was once again plagued by inconsistency, injury and illness.
Leonys Martin — Want a guy to grab late and hope for the best? This is your best bet. Martin is ready to be a big-leaguer offensively. His defense might keep him out of the lineup at times, however, even though he had a solid spring in the field. If he could become a better baserunner that would up his value even more, as he is speedy. But then again, who's to say that can't come?