The Texas Rangers have struggled once again in 2021, but that doesn’t mean their roster is completely useless. While some areas have certainly struggled (starter Mike Foltynewicz hit 10 losses this past Thursday), other areas have shone bright. For example, both Kyle Gibson and Joey Gallo made the All-Star Game, and the latter even participated in the Home Run Derby.
At the end of the day, though, Texas’ record speaks for itself. This team has struggled and should be monitored closely ahead of the July 30 trade deadline.
Make sure to check out all of our other Trade Deadline Previews.
Rank: Last in AL West (23.0 GB)
The Rangers are clear sellers, though their level of aggressiveness remains unclear. While it would be wise to trade any player above the age of 30 with an expiring contract, Texas does have to field a team and also doesn’t want to allow itself to get fleeced. Thus, make no mistake: the Rangers are more than comfortable with sitting pat if they so desire.
Kyle Gibson, Starting Pitcher
Gibson had an impressive first half of the 2021 season and now finds himself as one of the best starting pitchers on the trade market. The All-Star is 6-2 with a 2.86 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 20.8 percent strikeout rate, and career-best 7.6 percent walk rate. Further, he has posted a career-best 3.9 percent barrel rate, which also ranks among the top-seven percent in MLB. Additionally, the hurler increased his velocity on every pitch from 2020 to 2021, as well as increased his spin rate on every pitch except for his cutter. All in all, he is posting career numbers this season and is likely a top trade priority for many pitching-hungry teams.
Ian Kennedy, Closing Pitcher
Kennedy has the ability to provide several teams with a key piece in the back end of their bullpen. The 36-year-old owns a 2.59 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and .233 OBA through 31 outings this year. He’s converted 15 saves while blowing just one. Velocity has been a key part of his success in 2021 as he’s throwing his fastball at 94.3 mph, which is a 0.7 mph increase from last season. He’s also throwing the pitch more frequently; the pitch had 50 percent usage in 2020 and 83 percent usage so far in 2021. The price to acquire him may be fairly high, but having a top-tier closer is imperative for playoff-hopeful clubs. It’s quite likely that he’ll be on the move this month.
Joey Gallo, Outfielder
Gallo’s bat has been on display this season, as has his ability to get on base. So far this year, he is slashing .228/.387/.497 with a whopping 73 walks and 120 strikeouts. He’s also amassed 24 homers and 52 RBI this year. The 27-year-old has made two All-Star Games over the past three seasons and could provide a major boost to contenders that need one more power bat in order to put them over the edge. Specifically, with Nelson Cruz already traded, the market is now more open for someone like Gallo to be dealt. He ranks among the top-10 percent in MLB in outfielder jump (90th percentile), xwOBA (91st percentile), chase rate (92nd percentile), maximum exit velocity (95th percentile), outs above average (96th percentile), and barrel percentage (97th percentile). The Rangers have a chance to fetch an enormous return for their slugger, who is capable of pleasing both baseball traditionalists and advanced statistics nerds.
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