The home stretch of the 2021 season doesn’t involve a playoff run for the Texas Rangers. Rather, it provides something even more meaningful: auditions for future roles.
We’ve already begun to see a handful of players get their chance to audition in the second half of the season, including the likes of Curtis Terry, Andy Ibanez, Joe Barlow, Yonny Hernandez, Yohel Pozo and Nick Snyder. And we can expect plenty more Texas Rangers to follow in their footsteps the rest of the way.
But there are also incumbent roster spot occupants who need to prove their respective values heading into the season’s final stretch so that they’ll remain in the mix for the 2022 Texas Rangers.
Lets’ look at three who seem to be in this position.
The Japanese righty signed a two-year deal with the Texas Rangers in the off-season and struggled before getting injured
Expectations were moderately high for Kohei Arihara, who had a relatively successful career in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) in Japan, coming into his first MLB season.
Unfortunately, the early results weren’t so promising. He was on the losing end of the Padres’ Joe Musgrove’s no-hitter back in April and posted an unsightly 6.59 ERA in seven starts. His 1.53 WHIP and just 17 strikeouts in 28.2 innings pitched were concerning as well.
The 29-year-old then hit the shelf for an extended period of time due to a shoulder aneurysm, an injury expected to keep him out for the season. In a positive development, the righty is on a rehab assignment and could join the Texas Rangers in September.
Arihara, should he make it back this season, has a lot to prove in his second active stint to show he should be in contention for a starting spot again in 2022. Otherwise, he’ll be chalked up as a bust signing.