Texas Rangers: Ronald Guzman’s MVP sets up first base competition in 2021

Seth Carlson
Texas Rangers first baseman Ronald Guzman will have a chance to become an everyday starter after his recent call up (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Texas Rangers first baseman Ronald Guzman will have a chance to become an everyday starter after his recent call up (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /
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Ronald Guzman recently took home MVP honors in the Dominican Winter Baseball League. What could that mean for the Texas Rangers at first base in 2021?

The Texas Rangers can now say they have a 2020 MVP winner on their roster!

No, not an MLB MVP winner, unfortunately.

The above is still a true statement, though, as first baseman Ronald Guzman has won MVP of the Dominican Winter Baseball League in 2020, according to DWBL reporter Victor Baez.

https://twitter.com/Jeffrydejesus14/status/1342149932548042753

The DWBL proved to be quite the stomping grounds for the MLB veteran Guzman, who hails from the Dominican Republic.

In 30 games played and across 111 at-bats, the Texas Rangers’ first baseman hit .360 with five home runs, a .450 on-base percentage and a .523 slugging percentage.

A few of those figures would represent career highs for Guzman had they been attained at the big-league level.

It’s a great honor for Guzman to win this award in his home country, and should give him a confidence booster heading into Spring Training 2021, where it is expected that he and the newly acquired Nate Lowe will battle for the Texas Rangers’ starting first base job ahead of Opening Day.

The Texas Rangers have quite the battle brewing at first base heading into 2021.

As of now, it is presumed that Lowe is the favorite to win the job due to his upside and the assets which Texas had to surrender to the Tampa Bay Rays to acquire him.

However, statistics objectively show that Guzman has improved gradually during his tenure in the big leagues.

His OPS, for example, has risen every year from .722 in 2018 to .723 in 2019 before jumping up to .750 in 2020.

Guzman also set a career high in OPS+ in 2020 (102), in addition to double digit home run totals in two out of his first three seasons in Arlington.

Furthermore, Guzman has also been graded as a slightly better defender at first base than Nate Lowe, which could be a factor to take into consideration as a competition looms.

It’s important to note in the context of this positional battle that Guzman is out of minor league options, meaning that if Lowe were to win the job, the Rangers would have to get Guzman through waivers in order to retain him (assuming the team doesn’t keep two first basemen on the roster).

That wouldn’t exactly be ideal for Texas, as we noted earlier that “The Condor” is an ascending talent.

However this first base competition plays out, it’s sure to bring excitement and intensity to Rangers’ spring training.

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