Geovany Soto talks with Yu Darvish in between pitches.
It's foreign territory still for the Texas Rangers to be among MLB's upper echelon of teams. So saying the Rangers are checking in at No. 8 in winter power rankings on ESPN normally wouldn't be a bad thing at all. But with the recent success of the club, it's kind of a weird spot to be.
ESPN's David Schoenfield ranked the top-10 teams as he sees it now, and the Rangers checked in at No. 8. They are behind the following teams, in order: Washington, Cincinnati, New York Yankees, Detroit, Atlanta, Oakland, Los Angeles Dodgers. Rounding out the top 10 behind the Rangers are St. Louis and Tampa Bay.
Oddly, the Toronto Blue Jays are nowhere on the list as they seem to be the odds on favorite to win the AL East (ahead of the Yankees and Rays) if not the AL pennant, but then again, that's what everyone was saying about the Marlins last year too.
Schoenfield says this about the Rangers:
Yes, you don't easily replace 43 home runs in the middle of the lineup, and while the Rangers have whiffed on Josh Hamilton, Zack Greinke, James Shields and Justin Upton this offseason, this still remains a talented team with lineup depth and pitching depth. Yes, they've lost Hamilton and Mike Napoli, but prospects Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt are ready to step in and contribute or remain trade bait. The rotation still includes Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison and Derek Holland, with Alexi Ogando ready to move back into a starter role. Hard-throwing lefty Martin Perez will be given a shot to start, and Colby Lewis is rehabbing from elbow surgery.
Strengths: infield defense; power arms on pitching staff.
Weaknesses: left-handed power; catcher.