Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections are a good measure of what to expect from players in the upcoming baseball season. We'll take a look at the Rangers' projections on a position-by-position basis. Szymborski can be found on Twitter at @DSzymborski.
The No. 5 starter gig is still up for grabs and likely will be in the spring, but there is a definite favorite to earn that role in veteran Colby Lewis, even though he hasn't officially been announced as having signed his one-year deal that he agreed upon back on Dec. 18, which is a bit odd and concerning. Assuming Lewis is indeed a Ranger again, he'll be the favorite to slide into the back of the Rangers' rotation as a veteran presence who you know will always compete and put up a good number of innings.
Lewis:22 starts, 128 2/3 innings pitched, 89 strikeouts, 34 walks, 18 home runs, 4.90 ERA, 6.22 K/9 innings, 2.38 BB/9 innings
There are likely a few guys who will be competing for this gig, but the fact the Rangers gave (at least we think) Lewis millions of dollars to pitch for them in 2016 means they definitely plan on him being a starter for them. They have already said multiple times that they don't want him in the uneven routine of being a relief pitcher. With that said, if Chi Chi Gonzalez is still around he'll be a strong candidate as well because he'll be much cheaper than Lewis, but they want to give every chance possible to Lewis.
The projections are about what you'd expect from the aging veteran who continues to defy medical science and sports medicine, and for a veteran No. 5 starter, I think the Rangers would gladly take it.