Texas Rangers First Half Awards

The All-Star game was Tuesday night and now we enter Summer awards season, time to open the envelope and unveil who has won the midseason awards for the Texas Rangers.

93rd MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard
93rd MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
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Most Improved Texas Ranger

The players in this category have made a tremendous leap forward from the 2022 season to the 2023 season. It would be almost impossible for this team to have 52 wins and be in first place if not for the work these players put in to improve their skills. The nominees for this category are Ezequiel Duran, Josh Sborz, and Leody Taveras.

Duran made the team out of camp for the first time in his career. His playing time the first two weeks was very sparse. He was coming in as a pinch hitter, getting occasional starts in left field or in the infield. That changed once Corey Seager pulled up lame to second base in Kansas City and had to go on the IL with a hamstring injury. Duran would eventually become the replacement shortstop for Seager. In that month he not only filled in for Seager, but also became a true offensive weapon. He made sure that the team was not missing anything either in the field or in the batters' box. He moved to primarily left field once Seager came back in May. His numbers in the first half had some fans talking about how he should have made the All Star team. At the break Duran has a .308 batting average, 12 home runs, 35 RBIs, and 29 total extra base hits. He has truly given depth to the lineup in a way the Rangers have not seen since their World Series days when players like Mike Napoli and Nelson Cruz were sometimes hitting near the bottom of the order.

Josh Sborz is the next nominee. There was talk in camp about him possibly not making the team. He was truly awful in spring training and if that is what Bochy was basing his decisions on then Sborz would have pitched elsewhere this season. Bochy remembered Sborz from his days as Giants manager when Sborz was in the Dodgers organization. He knew that there was more there than what Sborz was showing. They placed him on the IL out of camp. This allowed Sborz to keep working and he was brought up in April. He has been their best reliever for most of this season. He hit a rough patch heading into the break. In the month of June as the Rangers were struggling Sborz was excelling. He made 10 appearances in June, had three wins, gave up just one run, he pitched 16 1/3 innings, and had 0.55 ERA. He also struck out 22 batters and walked just two. It was his best month in a Rangers uniform. He has not been as successful in July. He has become one Bochy's more trusted relievers and has settled in a late-inning relief role for Texas.

The final nominee is Leody Taveras. The once-hyped top prospect is now starting to come into his own this season. He has been on a journey since making the Opening Day roster out of summer camp back in 2020. He survived that season. He then hit a rough patch in April 2021 and was sent down. He then started 2022 in Round Rock before playing his way back by June 2022. He then had an oblique injury that forced him to start this season on the IL. Since coming back he has now become one of the Rangers' best all-around players. He is still playing excellent defense and has now combined that with a solid offensive game. Taveras at the break has a .295 batting average, 10 home runs, 40 RBIs, and nine stolen bases. He has done all of this by primarily hitting ninth in the order. He has become that second lead off hitter. His success has led to several big innings this season because once he reaches base he passes the baton to Semien and Seager and the Rangers get rolling from there. It is hard to believe that the Texas offense would be as successful as they have been without Taveras taking a massive leap forward in the first half.

The Winner is....

Leody Taveras is the winner. He still has some things to work on defensively, but his offensive output has won the Rangers several games this season. There have been nights when the combination of him and Duran have really pushed the offense forward. He struggled initially in April and fans were calling for top prospect Evan Carter to take his job. If he continues this production throughout the second half the center field job is his and Carter will be moving to another position. He has been so good that fans are now content to let Carter stew in Frisco and eventually Round Rock.