Texas Rangers: Ronald Guzman’s new swing may propel him into starting role

Dominican Republic's Ronald Guzman hits the ball during the Baseball Caribbean Series finals match between Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic at Teodoro Mariscal stadium, in Mazatlan, Mexico, on February 6, 2021. (Photo by CARLOS RAMIREZ / AFP) (Photo by CARLOS RAMIREZ/AFP via Getty Images)
Dominican Republic's Ronald Guzman hits the ball during the Baseball Caribbean Series finals match between Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic at Teodoro Mariscal stadium, in Mazatlan, Mexico, on February 6, 2021. (Photo by CARLOS RAMIREZ / AFP) (Photo by CARLOS RAMIREZ/AFP via Getty Images) /

Has Dominican Winter League MVP Ronald Guzman’s new swing given him the upper hand at first base?

The Texas Rangers have seen Ronald Guzman play and develop since he was teenage outfielder in the Dominican Republic.

He’s always had a long swing, but made up for it by crushing baseballs into the gaps and demolishing minor league pitching.

In the minor leagues, Guzman was a career .276 hitter. He hit 57 long balls and drove in over 350 runs over his six seasons in the farm system.

The “Condor” rose through the Texas minor league system rather quickly, signing in 2011 and making his debut in 2018 at the age of 23.

Guzman’s defensive prowess and potential to be a 20-25 home run first baseman was definitely intriguing for the Texas Rangers.

Although Guzy has since struggled mightily at major league level for the most part, he does have a knack for hitting against the New York Yankees.

Guzman has lost at-bats every year he’s been in the big leagues, going from 123 games in 2018 to 87 in 2019 and only 26 during the shortened 2020 season.

Rather than handing Guzman the first base job this season, as they have in the past, the Texas Rangers decided to make a move.

They acquired Nate Lowe from the Tampa Bay Rays, and promptly named him the “almost certain” everyday first baseman.

You can imagine that Ronald Guzman didn’t take to that very well, and decided to show the Rangers he still has a lot left in the tank.

In 2019, Guzman got ahold of former Ranger great, Nelson Cruz, and worked on finding himself in his swing.

The key thing for the “Condor” was the change in his swing and his attitude towards the game.

Before this past offseason, Guzman had a lot of moving parts. From opening his stance to adding a big leg kick.

You name it, he tried it.

He has since installed a batting cage at his home and really worked on simplifying the game he loves so much:

"“I wanted to be more of myself.I wanted to forget all the things that I have been working on the last couple of years and just go back to the Ronald Guzmán from when I was 15, 16 years old — being more simple, hitting more line drives, getting on top of the ball.” – Ronald Guzman"

And oh man, did he ever impress.

With the Gigantes in the Dominican Winter League, Guzman posted a .360 batting average over 30 games.

Related Story. Ronald Guzman looks like a man on a mission. light

He added three doubles, five homers and 13 RBIs to his credit, on his way to the league’s MVP award.

From the outside looking in, the old Ronald Guzman was gone and the new, improved and more simplified “Condor” was in.

Ronald Guzman has a new swing, which could propel him to the Texas Rangers’ starting first base job.

Now all he has to do is come into camp and win the first base job.

This, of course, isn’t as easy as it sounds, but in order to get more at-bats, Guzman has elected to learn the outfield, much like his younger days.

His new swing and willingness to be more versatile are only steps in the right direction, but remember that Nate Lowe can play first, third and the outfield, as well.

What will separate Guzman from newly-acquired Lowe will ultimately be the quality of their at-bats.

More from Nolan Writin'

With two games in the books, each man got their at-bats. Guzman during the opener, and Nate Lowe during the second game of the spring.

The “Condor” went 1-2 in his first spring outing, but his out was a missile into the outfield. He also had a sun-aided single, but that’s not the point.

He found a pitch, and drove it. Something we have seldom seen from the 6’6 first baseman over the past few seasons.

All-in-all, it was a very good first game for Guzman.

As for Nate Lowe, he opened his Cactus League play and Rangers debut with a frozen rope down the right field line. Check it out.

Not a bad start for Lowe, especially early in the spring, but his next at-bat may have put him in the backseat.

With men on first and second in the bottom of the third inning, Lowe swung-and-missed, failing to advance the runners and taking a bad hack.


It’s still early in spring training, but the Texas Rangers have a first battle on their hands.

Now, that doesn’t mean one bad swing puts you on the bench, but from the quality of both players’ days, I think Guzman takes the cake early on.

It’s been said by numerous sources that Ronald Guzman may be the next Nelson Cruz.

In other words, a late-bloomer who broke out in his late-20s and absolutely raked after that.

Unfortunately, Cruz was designated for assignment, and according to Jon Daniels was asked about pitching.

Looking at things in hindsight, it looks like he made the right choice.

For Guzy, it may take a DFA to get him in the right spot, and force him to prove himself to the organization, much like Cruz did in 2008.

However, if Ronald Guzman comes out swinging this spring, the out-of-options first baseman has a chance to become the player the Texas Rangers know he can be.

Will he be the next Nelson Cruz? I highly doubt it. An above-average hitter with superb defense? Definitely.

Next. Joey Gallo hit the first Rangers homer of 2021!. dark

We’ll have to see as the spring continues on, but as of right now, the new and improved Ronald Guzman has an excellent chance to reclaim the starting first base job in Arlington.