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 Rangers aren't going to make a big splash this offseason, and that's because they made theirs in July when they acquired a No. 1 starter in Cole Hamels. The thought all along was they were doing it to set themselves up for the next four years with him under team control, but little did they know they were positioning themselves for a run to the AL West crown. Now, we'll go ahead and throw Hamels in as the Rangers' ace simply because he'll be there on Opening Day while Yu Darvish will be rehabbing from Tommy John surgery with a projected May return.
Hamels: 30 starts, 197 1/3 innings pitched, 168 strikeouts, 53 walks, 22 home runs, 3.69 ERA, 7.66 K/9 innings, 2.42 BB/9 innings
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These numbers are OK, but they're aren't exactly what Hamels and the Rangers are expecting out of him, especially from a swing-and-miss perspective. In the last six seasons, Hamels has had at least 194 strikeouts and has fallen short of 200 just twice while eclipsing the 200-inning mark in each of the six. In his 12 starts with Texas last year, he posted a 3.66 ERA, so the ERA number is about in line, but the Rangers expect to have more swings-and-misses from their No. 1 starter, and that's what Hamels is and will be.