May 22, 2024

MLB 2024 Forecasts: Can the Texas Rangers Sustain Their Defensive Prowess?

The Texas Rangers clinched the World Series title last season, partly due to their stellar defense. With just 57 errors in 2023, they ranked second-best in the league, trailing only the Arizona Diamondbacks, their World Series opponents. This marked a significant improvement from their 96 errors in 2022, one of the league’s worst performances. Manager Bruce Bochy played a pivotal role in reshaping the team’s mindset, and MLB.com anticipates this trend to continue into the 2024 season, with many key players from their defensive resurgence remaining in the lineup.

2024 Rangers positional analysis: Will Texas' infield continue its run as  MLB's best?

A recent projection on defensive performance for the upcoming season conducted by MLB.com paints an optimistic picture for the Rangers. Utilizing ZiPS projections, FanGraphs depth charts, and adjustments for positional difficulty, they forecast the Rangers to tie with the Colorado Rockies for the fourth-best defense in the league, boasting a +27 defensive runs. The Cleveland Guardians claim the top spot with a +47 rating, followed by the Chicago Cubs (+35) and the Diamondbacks (+28).

In 2023, the Rangers boasted three Gold Glove winners — Nathaniel Lowe at first base, Jonah Heim behind the plate, and Adolis García in right field. All three secured their first Gold Glove awards. Lowe notably improved from a -11 outs above average in 2022 to four outs above average in 2023. Heim led all American League catchers in fielding runs above average and ranked second in the league in caught-stealing percentage. García showcased his defensive prowess with 11 outfield assists, consistently ranking among the league leaders in this category for the past three seasons.

Additionally, second baseman Marcus Semien and shortstop Corey Seager earned recognition as Gold Glove finalists. Third baseman Josh Jung, despite leading all players in his position with a .988 fielding percentage, likely missed out on Gold Glove consideration due to a late-season injury. MLB.com praised Heim as an “elite backstop” and highlighted Semien’s reputation as one of the premier second basemen in the game. Leody Taveras also received commendation for his defensive contributions, tying for the second-best fielding percentage among center fielders at .997.

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