Called up to the Major League roster following Brock Holt’s move to the injured list (strained right hamstring), longtime Texas Rangers minor leaguer Andy Ibanez finally made his MLB debut last night. Pinch-hitting for David Dahl in the top of the ninth inning, Ibanez slapped a ground ball right past the outstretched glove of Andrelton Simmons.
Considering the high-stress nature of the situation, you can only tip your cap to Ibanez for coming in and doing a job:
Ibanez’ first career knock moved the tying run over to second base, a run that would eventually be driven in by Isiah Kiner-Falefa via a sacrifice fly. The late-game rally by the Rangers saw the game be pushed into extra innings, an affair that Texas ultimately won thanks to some clutch hitting from the likes of Adolis Garcia (who is up to seven home runs on the season now!!!) and Charlie Culberson.
Texas Rangers INF Andy Ibanez finally made his MLB debut last night – and it was near picture perfect.
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Circling back to Ibanez, he’s been in the Rangers’ farm system for quite some time now. Initially signed to a Minor League deal way back in 2015, the Cuban born infielder has been working his was up the ranks ever since.
Once viewed as a top international prospect in all of baseball, the Rangers actually paid a pretty penny ($1.66 million) to acquire his services back in 2015. He was ranked as a top ten prospect in the Rangers’ system for quite some time, falling off as he displayed inconsistent performances throughout the Minor Leagues.
Ibanez’ most recent Minor League season came during 2019 in AAA, where he slashed .300/.375/.491 over the course of 121 games. Rather impressive numbers if I may say so myself.
However, the main drawback with Ibanez over the course of his Texas Rangers career has been his defense, as he’s been pretty consistently considered not well-versed enough at any infield position to justify using him on the main roster. His bat is actually rather decent for someone of his experience level, but his inability to field has left him out of the Rangers’ plans since making the switch from Cuban baseball to the MLB.
This is the second time Brock Holt (the Ranger’s go-to hyper utility infielder) has missed time with an injury, so it’s definitely possible that an avenue has opened up for Ibanez to see some more reps moving forward, however, any sort of longterm role still feels rather unlikely. Who knows though, his first at-bat was impressive, and smart teams will always find a spot for guys who can hit the ball.