Texas Rangers: 3 up, 3 down, and 3 things to watch after the first week of spring training
3 Things to Look out for This Week
Spring training games continue this week with games every day. World Baseball Classic will be getting started on March 8. I expect this will be the last full week that Jose Leclerc, Martin Perez, and prospect Mitch Bratt will be in camp. Martin Perez made his first start on Monday. He went three innings, giving up three hits, one run, and a strikeout. He became the first starter to be stretched out to the third inning.
He might get one more start later this week in a Rangers uniform before reporting to play with Team Venezuela. Jose Leclerc pitched today as well. Leclerc will probably make a couple more appearances before reporting to Team Dominican Republic. Prospect Mitch Bratt is in minor league camp and he will be reporting to Team Canada next week as they get started as well. Keep an eye out for Perez and Leclerc this week as they will be gearing up for the WBC coming up next week.
The next player to be watching for this week is right-hander Kyle Cody. He is fully healthy for the first time since the 2021 season. He made his Spring Training debut on Saturday and looked really sharp in the scoreless inning that he threw. The stuff looked good and he was able to pitch a perfect 7th inning. He has an uphill climb to make the team out of camp. He is in competition with several players, both veterans, and prospects alike. He is someone who could make the team. The bullpen likely has two spots that are up for grabs. I am going to keep an eye on Cody this week to see if he can follow up on his strong inning on Saturday and continue to build momentum this week.
The final player to be watching for this week is Kumar Rocker. He has generated a lot of buzz so far in camp from young players and veterans alike. He is apparently now throwing a 97mph sinker. He has yet to throw in a game, but is scheduled to pitch in Tuesday's game against the Colorado Rockies. He pitched last fall in the Arizona Fall League. He was inconsistent with his control and his velocity was not quite what it was at Vanderbilt. He is seemingly back now healthy this Spring and ready to take on all challengers. He told Jon Heyman of the New York Post,
"Everything’s back to normal,” he said. “So now it’s all about executing a pitch.”"- Kumar Rocker
He will get to do that in a game this afternoon. Who knows how many chances he will get in the major league camp. It could just be today and then he gets sent down to minor league camp. He could pitch well and earn himself more opportunities. It will be very interesting to see how he fares against other major league batters.