Texas Rangers: 3 players headed for make or break seasons in 2021
By Seth Carlson
Texas Rangers 2021 make or break candidate: Nick Solak
Nick Solak might have been named the starter at second base heading into 2021, but make no mistake, he’s not locked in there long term.
Sure, the Texas Rangers felt inclined to remove veteran incumbent Rougned Odor and his large contract unceremoniously from that starting role, but that’s all that really means right now.
Simply put, the 26 year-old Solak will have to show the organization he’s worthy of consideration at second base for both now and going forward.
The former Tampa Bay Rays prospect was acquired in a 2019 deal that sent reliever Pete Fairbanks to Tropicana Field.
That swap has certainly paid dividends for Tampa, as Fairbanks proved to be an effective bullpen weapon during their 2020 AL pennant run.
Can the Texas Rangers extract similar value from Solak?
The 26 year-old can play both outfield and infield, demonstrating his versatility. He spent most of 2020 in the outfield.
However, his batting statistics weren’t particularly special in 2020, clocking in with a .268 batting average and a .671 OPS in 209 at-bats.
Solak fared much better in his 2019 debut, notching an .884 OPS and five home runs in 116 at-bats during that brief call-up period.
If the Illinois native wants to make his case to be the long-term solution at second base for the Texas Rangers, he’ll need to put up numbers akin to his 2019 totals (if not exceeding them) in 2021.