With the MLB All-Star break upon us, it’s time to reflect on some unexpected events that have taken place over the past three-plus months. It’d be impossible to not immediately think about the Texas Rangers when going through this exercise.
On the eve of Opening Day, the Rangers not only had the lowest preseason playoff odds in the American League West, but it was also one of the lowest in baseball. They entered this year with just a 0.6% chance of reaching October for the first time since 2016 with rookie manager Chris Woodward steering the ship, according to FanGraphs.
With 90 games in the books, Texas is the surprising owner of a 48-42 mark. While that’s nine games off the pace of the first-place Houston Astros, they’re firmly in playoff contention thanks to just a three-game deficit in the wild-card race. FanGraphs has their current playoff odds at just 2.1%, but just think about how much of an increase that is for a club that was anticipating another rebuilding year.
How did the Rangers get here? Well, they actually had an underrated offseason when it came to adding external talent to the roster. Below is a table of winter acquisitions currently on the roster, their fWAR total thus far, their 2019 salary, and what their performance has been worth according to FanGraphs’ Value metric.