It’s no secret that baseball times are tough in Arlington. After an offseason that saw many Texas Rangers fans displeased with the front office’s inability to define the club’s path, the start of the season hasn’t exactly been encouraging. Decision makers were set on not trading away prospects in an effort to improve the major league club as they had in year’s past, but they were also not willing to trade away valuable big league commodities either. The result? Some conglomeration of free agent veteran pitchers, projects, and a bunch of players returning from a 78-win team.
As we close in on June, the Rangers find themselves comfortably in the basement with no signs of climbing out of it. The club has been plagued by injury and misfortune during the 2018 campaign, but it hasn’t been all bad. Sure, there have been under performers and disappointments, but the bright spots have been there, especially for us prospect junkies.
In these trying times a couple of young players have gotten the opportunity to make an impact at the big league level. While the one guy we expected to make the biggest impact hasn’t seen the major league field yet, (*cough Willie Calhoun cough*) some of the lesser known names are putting themselves on the radar in the middle of the Rangers young, promising position player core.
First Baseman Ronald Guzman made his major league debut on April 13th and he has been a staple in the lineup ever since. Guzman was the number seven prospect on my Rangers Top 50 this offseason after a successful stint with Round Rock in 2017. In my preseason writeup I described Guzman as a promising asset with the bat, both in terms of power and average, but I wasn’t sure if his defensive ability would keep him on the field. Guzman has certainly proven he has the ability to hit major league pitching. His OPS+ of 96 should give the organization the confidence that with just a little bit of more experience and fine-tuning, he will be the offensive threat they were hoping he’d be.
— FOX Sports Southwest (@FOXSportsSW) May 26, 2018
Perhaps even more impressive than Guzman is a lesser known prospect who is taking full advantage of the Rangers unfortunate injury situation. Isiah Kiner-Falefa entered the season as our number 31 Rangers dynasty prospect and profiled virtually the exact opposite of Guzman. IKF, as Rangers affectionately refer to him, is a defensive asset who can play multiple positions. Through just 41 major league games, the Honolulu, Hawaii product has already posted a 1.2 WAR. While the glove is far more developed than the bat, my original writeup of Kiner-Falefa was that he has the ability to put the ball in play a lot and can run well, which he has done for the most part during his time in the show. His offensive start shouldn’t be cause for concern, there is still some hope he can develop a little more at the plate. His .253 average and 15% K rate are decent considering he had just 18 plate appearances above Double-A prior to his call up.
— TRSN Dallas (@TRSNDallas) May 28, 2018
Guzman and Kiner-Falefa aren’t putting up all star numbers by any means. But, they are making an impact at the big league level a lot sooner than many thought they would. They are fitting in nicely to a young core of position players that will be taking the field with the Rangers for years to come.
Featured image of Ronald Guzman – Texas Rangers on Twitter