Spring seems to have arrived in Arizona this last week. After the first couple of weeks of cold and rainy weather, the Arizona sun came out and warm weather rolled in. Unfortunately for the Rangers the win-loss record was not as kind as the weather was. The Texas Rangers had a 1-5 record this past week.
The main issue was late-inning relief pitched by players who will not be on the Opening Day roster. They were shut out by the Arizona Diamondbacks last Wednesday 2-0. In the other five games they scored 6,11, 7, 10, and 8 runs. Offense is finding their rhythm as the countdown to Opening Day is nearing two weeks away. The losses have mainly been the fault of the pitching staff.
Jose Leclerc made an appearance in Monday afternoon's game against the Diamondbacks and pitched a scoreless inning. Jon Gray pitched three scoreless innings last Wednesday. Jacob deGrom made his first live game action in a Triple-A game on Monday afternoon and pitched two innings and struck out five batters. Nathan Eovaldi also pitched in a minor league game this afternoon as well. That was the week in camp. Lets take a look at three players that were up this week, three that were down, and then give you three things to watch for over the next seven days.
1. Corey Seager
Corey Seager has played at a superstar level this spring. He has a .500 batting average (13-26), three home runs, 8 RBI's, and a 1.437 OPS. He was one of the most shifted players last season and is now playing without a shift in 2023. The lack of the shift will seriously help improve his overall numbers. I expect a higher batting average, OPS, and for him to put up more hits than he had last season. He has been the Rangers' best offensive weapon this Spring and maybe one of the best players in all of the Cactus League. He is a dark horse MVP candidate this season if the Rangers are competitive. Right now at Vegas Insider they rank Seager right outside the top 10 at number 11 on their AL MVP Odds heading into the 2023 season.
2. Jacob deGrom
This past offseason the Rangers were ridiculed by many in the national media for signing Jacob deGrom. Well we are 16 days away from Opening Day and deGrom is on track to make his debut that day, Jose Quintana is out maybe till the All-Star break, and Carlos Rodon will open the season on the injured list. deGrom in his live batting practice and in game-action today was throwing a free and easy 100mph and looking much like the dominant self that he has been for his entire career. This doesn't guarantee long-term health, but it is good that he is on track to be ready for Opening Day.
3. Josh Jung
Last week I put him in the down section. He had been scuffling at the plate showing little power and wasn't producing. That all changed last Tuesday. Since March 7th he is 5-12 with two home runs, 3 RBI's, 4 runs, and hits in each of the four games he has played. He is starting to tune up for Opening Day. He is also fully healthy and as long as that remains the same he will be in line to run out there on Opening Day as the starting third baseman.