Its playoff odds season, with Fangraphs having their 2024 playoff odds dropping today, and Baseball Prospectus having released their PECOTA playoff odds yesterday. And if you’re one of those people who likes yelling about how the Texas Rangers are disrespected and these publications are biased, well, its your lucky day, I guess.
Fangraphs is bearish on the Rangers — not only do they have them projected behind the Houston Astros (90.7 wins) in the A.L. West, they also have the Seattle Mariners (86.1 wins) ahead of the Rangers, who are projected at 81.4 wins. The PECOTA projections look better for Texas — 86.7 wins — though also much better than Houston, who they project at 94.6 wins. PECOTA gives the Rangers a 55.4% chance of making the playoffs currently, while Fangraphs is at 34.3% for the Rangers to make the playoffs.
If you want to know why Fangraphs isn’t buying on the Rangers, well, its pretty easy to figure out. The Rangers are projected to score 4.90 runs per game, the sixth best of any major league team, albeit a dropoff from the 5.44 runs per game in 2023, which was third best. So the offense is going to be good!, says FG.
In runs allowed per game, however, the Rangers project poorly. FG has them at 4.84 runs per game allowed, better than just seven other teams, and a drop from the 4.42 runs per game they allowed in 2023.
You can argue, if you want, with both sides of this — after all, Fangraphs has the drop in RS/G from 2023 to 2024 being larger than the RA/G drop, and so you can be mad that Fangraphs is disrespecting the offense moreso than the defense. On the other hand, the Rangers also outperformed with runners in scoring position, which means more runs than expected, and one wouldn’t expect a repeat of that.
Still, the big issue is the pitching, which I think all of us sitting here right now would agree is the case. Ben Clemens says that the Rangers would appear to be in pretty good shape in that regard if they make the playoffs, what with Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom and Tyler Mahle all projected to be back sometime in the second half, but that doesn’t solve the problem of getting there in the first place. I think we can agree that starting the season with a rotation of Nathan Eovaldi, Jon Gray, Dane Dunning, Andrew Heaney and Cody Bradford isn’t a great Plan A — you are a couple of injuries away from asking Owen White or Zak Kent or whatever veteran NRI didn’t piss all over themselves in spring training to log serious innings early on.
And that’s without even getting into the issues with the bullpen, which, you know, is the weaker part of the pitching staff.
(This is where we note that Jordan Montgomery is still out there, and signing him would make us all feel better.)
(I should also note that I just remembered again that the Rangers won the World Series three months ago, and so really, I feel pretty damn good as a Rangers fan right now anyway.)
Anyway, in comparison, PECOTA’s 87 wins for Texas seems downright optimistic. And its not far off from Fanduel’s current over/under line for Rangers wins, which is 89.5.
So do with this information what you will. And remember, most fans are currently complaining that FG and BP are underrating their favorite team — its not just us.