With the 2016 season just a few weeks away, the Texas Rangers look for another good year out of first base.
Heading into the 2016 season, the starting role at first base for the Texas Rangers is in the hands of Mitch Moreland. Last season Moreland hit .278/.330/.482 with 23 homeruns and 85 RBIs. At age 30, he’s in the heart of his prime and should maintain consistency in the next few years. Defensively, he’s got solid ranged and a good glove with a .996 fielding percentage posted in 2015.
Prince Fielder is currently listed at second on the Rangers depth chart but will spend most of his time at DH as he has limited defensive benefits on the field. In 2015, Fielder hit .305/.378/.463 with 23 homeruns and 98 RBIs. He led Texas in hitting and will be a great option for the Rangers heading into the season at DH.
Ryan Rua is also a first baseman on the Texas Rangers roster however it’s unexpected that he’ll see much playing time at the position due to his struggles at the plate and dealing with injury.
In the System:
The Texas Rangers have a few different players who present options at first base in their minor league system. The option that is probably closest to the major league team is Patrick Kivlehan, a utility player who is on the roster as a third baseman but has spent time at first and the outfield. In 2015, Kivlehan played for AAA Tacoma, a Seattle Mariners affiliate, and hit .256 with 22 long balls. He’s 26, which is older than most prospects but his talent is there which why we have him ranked at 17 in our top 25 prospects rankings.
This option seems very unlikely initially because of the depth Texas has at first. However if for some reason the Rangers go after a free agent, the top names out there are veterans Justin Morneau and Corey Hart. However there’s no need to really discuss these options as the likelihood that this happens is slim to none.
Position Grade: B+
Overall, first base is a solid position for the Texas Rangers and won’t be an issue. Expect Moreland to put up another solid year offensively and defensively as Texas pushes for another AL West title.