Given the Texas Rangers infield surplus, all it takes is one bad slump to be at risk of losing playing time. First baseman Ronald Guzman is currently at risk.
He’s sort of hidden behind the rest of the offense over the past week, but Ronald Guzman has gone ice-cold at the plate. The Texas Rangers first baseman is hitting .145 since the All-Star break (16 games). He’s hit zero home runs and struck out 20 times in 48 at-bats over that span as well. Slumps happen in baseball and Guzman is without a doubt in a deep one at the moment. Unfortunately, his current slump is putting his playing time at risk.
Texas has an infield surplus. Adrian Beltre takes most of the reps at third base and the everyday middle infield is held down by Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor. That leaves first base as the only consistent position up for grabs. The Rangers have three very good infielders that are worthy of everyday playing time, but aren’t granted it simply because there is not enough space. Of course, I’m referring to Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman and Isiah Kiner-Falefa.
Kiner-Falefa has found a home behind home plate. He splits time with Robinson Chirinos at catcher and still gets the occasional start in the infield. However, Manager Jeff Banister is still having to find consistent ways to get the hot-hitting Jurickson Profar into the lineup. With the middle infield locked up and Willie Calhoun playing left field every game, Profar is essentially limited to first base and third base (on nights when Beltre either sits or DHs).
Ideally, 23-year-old Guzman and 25-year-old Profar would play everyday. Each is a big part of the Texas Rangers future; however, there are obvious road blocks preventing such routine playing time. For instance, continuing to give future Hall of Fame third baseman Adrian Beltre starts, along with fitting other important long-term pieces into the lineup.
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Frankly, Profar is out playing Guzman by a wide margin. That’s not so much a slight on Guzman as it is a compliment towards Profar. The super utility man has been one of the best hitters on the team all season long. Profar ranks second on the team in RBI, he makes pitchers work, he hits well from both the left and right side of the plate and he can play almost anywhere on the field. Hitting leadoff on Saturday and clean up on Sunday proves how vital Profar is to the offense. A guy like him is tough to compete with.
As of right now, Ronald Guzman cannot compete with Jurickson Profar. Therefore, Profar should be getting the majority of the starts at 1B if that is the position available for the night. Guzman is not at risk of being demoted or even being a strict pinch hitter off the bench. He’ll continue to get his opportunities a first base, only they may begin to lessen.
Guzman has looked completely lost at the plate as of late. Perhaps a few days off a week will give him time to get in the right offensive mindset and turn things around. The Texas Rangers want him to play, but surrounding circumstances are making it very difficult to accomplish that desire. Only nine players fit into a lineup; Guzman is currently on the outside looking in.