Time is ticking on the whole “give the young guys a chance” thing as the Texas Rangers inch closer and closer to contention.
No doubt this was a prudent strategy in 2021 when the team was clearly in the middle of a rebuild and trying to evaluate their assets. And some of this will continue in 2022 as the transition to winning baseball unfolds.
But as the 2023 goal to return to competitive baseball approaches, that means less time for some of these assets to get a chance to prove themselves at the game’s highest level, especially as the Rangers keep eyeing big names like Corey Seager and Marcus Semien. Those type of signings are meant to expedite the process.
Here are three players that must make the most of the 2022 season.
3 Texas Rangers who have to come through in 2022
Once the top prospect in the Philadelphia Phillies organization, Spencer Howard was acquired by the Texas Rangers in a mid-season trade that sent Kyle Gibson, Ian Kennedy and Hans Crouse to Citizens Bank Park.
It was a move that seemed like a head-scratcher, and quite frankly, it still is. It’s evident the Rangers valued Howard’s prospect pedigree and raw talent, but that talent has not surfaced at the MLB level yet.
In 21.1 innings with Texas last season, Howard posted a 9.70 ERA. Though he did have 21 strikeouts in those 21.1 innings, that ERA figure is hideous. Of course, that’s a small sample size, so it’s best not to overreact, but it still isn’t pretty.
The Rangers have some really intriguing young pitchers on the rise in their farm system like Jack Leiter, Cole Winn, Ricky Vanasco, Owen White, T.K. Roby and others worth a look like Glenn Otto, A.J. Alexy (both of whom saw big league time in 2021), Cody Bradford and Yerry Rodriguez.
It’s not as if Texas is completely beholden to Howard, but he must tap into his potential in 2022 if he wants to be a part of this team going forward. The Rangers believe he can, or they wouldn’t have made that deal with the Phillies.