Texas Rangers Spring Training: Will a late resurgence be enough for Nate Lowe?

Seth Carlson
SURPRISE, ARIZONA - MARCH 07: Nate Lowe #30 of the Texas Rangers laughs with a teammate prior to the MLB spring training baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Surprise Stadium on March 07, 2021 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
SURPRISE, ARIZONA - MARCH 07: Nate Lowe #30 of the Texas Rangers laughs with a teammate prior to the MLB spring training baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Surprise Stadium on March 07, 2021 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /
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Nate Lowe was supposed to arrive at spring training as the presumptive favorite to end the long-standing Texas Rangers first base drought.

As it turns out, though, that scenario hasn’t exactly gone according to plan.

Instead, a major challenger has emerged in the form of Ronald Guzman, the “totally different player” Guzman who entered camp in shape, with a new swing and coming off a Dominican Winter League MVP.

Ronald Guzman and Nate Lowe have been duking it out at Texas Rangers spring training.

It’s almost as if Guzman took it personally when the Texas Rangers acquired Lowe from the Tampa Bay Rays in a blockbuster off-season trade.

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Guzman has demonstrated his versatility in the outfield and has torn the cover off the baseball in spring training, namely to the tune of a 1.203 OPS and three homers in 26 spring at-bats.

Lowe, on the other hand, has endured more of a slog in spring training up until now. Overall, the 25-year-old has a .687 OPS and one home run in 28 at-bats, numbers that pale in comparison to his competitor’s output.

Recently, however, Lowe has begun to find his rhythm at the plate.

In the last two games against the Cincinnati Reds and the Seattle Mariners, the slugging first baseman has three hits and seven total bases (including a two-run homer in the second game) in seven at-bats, which raised his batting average and OPS significantly in the process.

Nate Lowe’s late resurgence in spring training might be enough for the Texas Rangers thanks to Willie Calhoun’s injury.

The home run was to the opposite field, which was doubly encouraging.

Assuming Lowe is able to keep up his hot hitting over the rest of spring training, will it be enough for the Texas Rangers to justify anointing him as their starter at first base come Opening Day?

It’s a tough decision for the team to make because on the one hand, Lowe was one of its prized acquisitions during the off-season. Therefore, a built-in pressure exists to prove themselves right for having made the trade.

On the contrary, it’s difficult to ignore the seemingly legitimate strides that Ronald Guzman has made in spring training and how he has really positioned himself for a roster spot.

Ultimately, Willie Calhoun’s groin injury appears to have opened up an extra roster spot, which could mean that until Calhoun is ready to return, both Lowe and Guzman could make the roster.

At the end of the day, we may not truly know what to expect at first base until Calhoun returns, which would force the Rangers’ hand once again.

For now, though, Lowe has not earned the job the way he was slated to entering spring training. Guzman has done the exact opposite.

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Time will tell if the efforts on both ends will have been enough.

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