Texas Rangers spring training: What you need to know
By Seth Carlson
Important Position Battles
What are some of the positional battles to watch for during Texas Rangers’ spring training?
Talk may be going around of a rebuild in Arlington, but don’t fool yourself, this year’s spring training is shaping up to be as good as ever.
Lots of positional battles and pitching spots are up for grabs during the spring season in Surprise.
Among the most notable positional battles to watch will be at third base, where there isn’t currently an incumbent. Rougned Odor, Brock Holt, Sherten Apostel, Josh Jung and Charlie Culberson are all names to keep an eye on during this exhibition season.
At first base, newly-acquired Nate Lowe and former incumbent Ronald Guzman, who tore up the 2020-21 Dominican Winter League, will engage in a competition for the starting job, with Lowe expected to be the favorite to secure the position when it’s all said and done.
Behind the plate, newly acquired Jonah Heim and veteran Jose Trevino will battle for the starting catcher job, with Heim likely being the favorite and Trevino serving as the backup.
In the outfield, a minor center field competition could emerge between veteran outfielders Eli White and Delino DeShields, as well as promising prospect Leody Taveras, who finished 2020 as the everyday starter there. Expect Taveras to be in center field on opening day.
On the pitching side, there will be plenty of open competition for the five rotation spots and for bullpen roles. Dane Dunning and Kohei Arihara will almost certainly occupy the top two spots in a young rotation, with veterans Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles likely securing two other spots.
This leaves a fifth spot open in the group, which could likely go to righty Kyle Cody, newly signed lefty Hyeon-jong Yang from South Korea or veteran righty Mike Foltynewicz.
The pitchers who lose out on a rotation spot will likely head for the bullpen, which will be headlined by closer Jose Leclerc (assuming he doesn’t get traded before the season), young righties Jonathan Hernandez and Brett de Geus (rule 5), as well as lefty Taylor Hearn.