The initial high of opening day has, for many fans, worn off. Sure, teams like the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Angels are still all sunshine and daisies. They are also amongst the best teams in baseball, with brilliant storylines like the Angels’ P/DH Shohei Ohtani dominating on the mound as well as in the batter’s box, or the Mets’ 3B Todd Frazier getting off to a hot start.
Still, most teams are not in this state of euphoria any more. Many have nothing but horrible. For teams like the Cincinnati Reds and the Tampa Bay Rays, things are fairly clear. The team is not going anywhere, so no need to stress about their performance on the season. Just enjoy the sport, ignore the results.
Then there are those teams in the middle. In purgatory, not knowing where they or their team will end up. This is the place that the Texas Rangers find themselves to start the season.
The Rangers are 5-11 on the young season, fifth place in the AL West. Nothing outstanding, but not a guarantee that the Rangers are destined for failure. It is the ever growing list of injuries that appear to be doing that.
In just the 16 games played so far, the Rangers have lost three starting position players in SS Elvis Andrus, CF Delino DeShields and 2B Rougned Odor, as well as SP Doug Fister and P Tim Lincecum. A hearty chunk of the team, that includes the best player on the team so far in Andrus and the most consistent pitcher so far in Fister.
Due to these injuries, the Rangers have had to look at their minor league system for player to take their slots. In doing so, three position players have been brought up: 1B Ronald Guzman, 2B Isiah Kiner-Falefa and CF Carlos Tocci. While Tocci and Kiner-Falefa have not done a ton, Guzman joins 1B Joey Gallo, Odor and RF Nomar Mazara as a core group of youngsters up in the majors.
While we know what Gallo, Odor and Mazara are bringing to the table, Guzman is more unknown.
Guzman has gotten off to a hot start in his first pair of games in the majors batting .375 with a homer, walk and two RBIs, as well as a solid glove at first. Additionally, he has shown the ability to be clutch, as per the Texas Ranger’s twitter:
When your first ML 💣 ties it up in the 8th!
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) April 14, 2018
He would, after that late homer, go on to get the game winning RBI in extra innings, once again as per the Texas Ranger’s twitter:
First ML homer in the 8th: ✅
Game-winning RBI in the 10th: ✅
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) April 15, 2018
Not many players produce in the clutch so quickly in the majors. Even fewer do so twice in one game. Through this, we see the potential of Guzman, and how much it shines alongside the aforementioned young Rangers and premier outfield prospect Willie Calhoun.
At best, the Rangers are only dark horse candidates for the wildcard this year. It is even more likely that they do not make the playoffs at all. Still, this is no reason to stress. With the aforementioned youth, there is a core for the future. Hopefully they exceed expectations. If not, they still can see a light at the end of the tunnel. At the very least, the season is intriguing.