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The Rangers look like AL favorites

Jurickson Profar has been great since being recalled by the Rangers Rick Yeatts/Getty Images

If you haven’t been paying attention to the American League standings, you might be surprised to see that the Texas Rangers are pulling away from the rest of the league.

Following a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals, they sit at 44-25 and are four games in front of the Baltimore Orioles.

They are winning close games

Saturday’s win was the Rangers’ 15th win in a one-run game this season. They are 15-4 (.789 win percentage) in such games this season, the best record in MLB.

What might be most impressive about the Rangers is their ability to come back. The Rangers trailed 3-0 heading into the eighth inning Saturday and scored four unanswered runs to win.

Following their latest come-from-behind effort, the Rangers have more comeback wins than any other team in the American League, as noted in the chart below.

Pitching is strong despite losing key members

Yu Darvish was able to make only three starts after coming back from Tommy John surgery, and Shawn Tolleson was unable to hold onto his job as the team’s closer.

The Rangers have been able to deal with those challenges thanks to the performance of the rest of their pitching staff. Entering Saturday, the Rangers had a 3.93 ERA, good for 10th in MLB.

New closer Sam Dyson has thrived in his role. Dyson is tied for the MLB lead with 36 appearances this season, and he has held opponents down with a 2.10 ERA.

Young players stepping up

Former top prospect Jurickson Profar has provided a boost since being called up. He is hitting .341 with a .860 OPS in 20 games since being recalled.

Since being recalled from the minors on June 15 last season, Rougned Odor is hitting .283 and is second among all second basemen with 28 home runs.

Odor is 22 years old, and Profar is just 23.

Both are elder statesmen compared to Nomar Mazara, who has played well as a rookie at 21 years old. Mazara had a rough day at the plate Saturday, going 0-for-5, but he has a .292 batting average this season.

Going forward, the Rangers look the part of an elite team in the American League. If you think they look good now, just imagine where they might be if veterans such as Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder can get going.