Texas Rangers: 3 up, 3 down, and 3 players to watch in Week 2 of Spring Training

Los Angeles Angels v Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels v Texas Rangers / Bailey Orr/Texas Rangers/GettyImages
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The Texas Rangers just finished their first full week of spring training games. That included split-squad games on Wednesday that were both rain-shortened. They played eight games overall on the week and went 4-4.

It was a really good week for the offense as the unit continued to score runs in bunches. The pitching looks solid. The veterans and youngster are making plays.

Martin Perez made two starts before getting on a plane to Miami to start preparng for the World Baseball Classic. Jacob deGrom continues to throw bullpens and is scheduled for a live batting practice session on Wednesday. If he comes through that healthy, the next step will be live-game action.

There's your quick summary of Week 1. Now let's jump into more specifics and what to watch as Week 2 is already under way.

3 UP

Cole Ragans

I have to start with Cole Ragans. If you want more details about changes he made this offseason then you can read my previous article here. He continues to impress the coaching staff. He made his first start on Sunday and went three innings, givng up one earned run on two hits and zero walks while striking out four. That followed up his one-inning performance on Wednesday against the Dodgers where he struck out two batters in that appearance. He's been absolutely lighting up the radar gun in a way that he didn't last season. He not only increased his velocity from 92 to 96 MPH, but he's also locating well. He's surprising some hitters with his ability to paint the corners. He has already survived the first round of demotions to the minor league camp that took place on Saturday. He's now trying to make it very hard for the Rangers to send him there at all.

Ezequiel Duran

Duran has been a fixture so far in that he's played in 10 of the Rangers 12 games through Monday's action. He has played both the infield and outfield, too. At the plate, he's producing. He's 7-22, with four RBI, two doubles, and only two strikeouts in those 21 at-bats. Last week when Will Smith signed, the Rangers designated Mark Mathias for assignment. Mathias and Duran were competing for the same role, and with the Rangers removing Mathias from the 40-man roster, it signaled a belief in Duran to potentially be that utility guy. He has shown progress at the plate and now just needs to prove he can handle all of the positions in the field that he will be asked to play. If he can do that well enough, then he likely will make the team.

Luisangel Acuna

I normally reserve this third spot for a prospect really making a name for himself, and Acuna is that player this week. He has done a really good job being the backup middle infield, normally coming in for Semien or Seager and playing the last few innings. He's taking advantage of the opportunities he's being given. This included his game-tying home run in the ninth against the White Sox on Saturday.

Overall, he's 6-for-16, with five runs scored and a stolen base. He's not a threat to make this team or steal a job from Josh Smith or Duran, but he's still in major-league camp. If there are demotions this week, he may be among those sent to the minor league camp, but he's making a strong impression while he's here. He's showing the potential to eventually be part of this MLB roster.