Texas Rangers: Guzman’s poor second half hidden by that one night at Yankee Stadium
By Travis Koch
Ronald Guzman‘s three home run game at Yankee Stadium was awesome! Unfortunately, that’s all the Texas Rangers first baseman has had to offer in the 2nd half of the season.
It’s been two weeks since Ronald Guzman’s miraculous three home run game against the New York Yankees. Since that game, the Texas Rangers first baseman has hit .194, slugged .290 and driven in just one run. What he did on the night of August 10th at Yankee Stadium will be remembered for a long time, but the reality is Guzman has quickly returned to his struggles at the plate.
We covered Guzman’s struggles back on August 6th, two days before he posted a three hit game against the Seattle Mariners and four days before his three-homer game. From the first game after the All-Star break (July 20th) to August 6th, he slashed .146/.226/.208 with no home runs and only four RBI.
In the second half of the season, the 23-year-old is hitting .213 and slugging .393. He has four home runs and 19 hits.
Point being, our perspective towards Ronald Guzman may be skewered ever since his three home run performance. If his August 8th game (three hits against the Mariners) and August 10th game (three home runs against the Yankees) were discounted, Guzman would have one home run and 13 hits in 79 at-bats in the second half. That calculates to a .164 batting average. Adding his three doubles to his one home run, Guzman would be slugging .227.
In no way is 2018 a make or break year for Guzman, but he is clearly trending downward. The purpose of this year is to gain experience at the major league level and to prove to the organization that he deserves a long-term look at first base with the Texas Rangers.
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The problem for Guzman is he’s not the only candidate for first baseman of the future. Joey Gallo has spent some time at first base this season when he hasn’t been in the outfield. With the Rangers’ top three prospects being outfielders, there is every reason to believe Gallo projects as the team’s starting first baseman come 2020 and beyond.
First base is foggy even for next season. If Adrian Beltre were to give professional baseball one more year and re-sign with the Rangers, he would probably continue to get a good number of reps at third base. What would that mean for Jurickson Profar? Profar is the leading candidate to take over third if Beltre does not return. If Beltre comes back, would Profar play first base?
There are plenty of scenarios to be played out for next year. As this season no longer matters (for contention purposes, at least), the talk about next season is going to begin early. Most of the fans have already transitioned to next season, but we’d be naive if we assumed the front office is not already thinking long and hard about next season.
For young players like Ronald Guzman, the remaining 33 games are very important. The Texas Rangers need to see progress from Guzman. They need to see that he is headed in a promising direction. Aside from those two games, his second half has been very underwhelming. Still, he continues to play just about everyday. That could change come time for September call-ups; however, the Rangers want their 23-year-old to play everyday. It would just be nice if he earned playing time, rather than playing because he is young and because first base is available.