Bubba Thompson - Texas Rangers OF
It pains me a little to write about fans getting frustrated with Bubba Thompson, as I am a huge advocate of his unique skillset. The regrettable truth of the matter is Thompson is getting very few at bats this season and isn't taking advantage of them when they arise.
In 2023, Thompson has played in 35 games and yet only has 58 plate appearances. For the most part, he has been used as a late inning defensive replacement for Robbie Grossman and/or a pinch runner. With Grossman, Travis Jankowski, Leody Taveras, and Adolis Garcia getting most of the at bats from the outfield positions, it has been difficult for Thompson to break into the starting lineup.
There is no denying Thompson's speed. He comes in at 100% on sprint speed in all of MLB. With a team that is playing well and will be pushing for a playoff spot in September, he can still have a big impact on games without having to hit. One key defensive play or one stolen base at a critical time can make the difference in winning and losing in the playoffs. See exhibit A: game six of the 2011 World Series, if you don't believe me.
I get the frustration with Bubba at the plate, he has been horrific this season when batting. He is slashing .157/.228/.275, which is poor, to say the least. A trip back to Round Rock to get the bat lined out a bit and build his confidence would not be a bad thing. It would more importantly give him additional time on the bases for him to fine tune his stealing skills. Regardless of if Thompson does go back to Triple-A for a while or not, it is clear that Bochy loves what Thompson brings to the team and he will be a contributor in some way down the stretch and hopefully into October.