The Rangers' gamble on the rookies in 2024 has not panned out so far

Texas Rangers v Oakland Athletics - Game Two
Texas Rangers v Oakland Athletics - Game Two / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

The Rangers offense is struggling. Badly. And while this three-game winning streak has fans excited, we can't ignore what we just watched for the last month.

This was a topic of discussion during the whole month of May. The Rangers offense didn't score more than four runs in a game from May 8 (the second game of the double header with the Athletics) through May 25. This problem arose unexpectedly as the team hoped to rely heavily on the offense, especially in the first half of the season.

Now about a third of the way through the season, the pitching injuries are worse than anybody could have ever expected and the offense isn't consistently doing its job. Not shockingly, the Rangers have lost a lot of games lately with that recipe. A major issue has been the Rangers ability to hit lefties, which has left them sorely missing Josh Jung, who is still at least a month out from returning. It's also a big topic for one of the team's struggling rookies.

Evan Carter has yet to find a groove during the 2024 season. After an outstanding final 23 games of the regular season that continued through the playoffs, Carter hasn't given the Rangers a shred of what they were expecting. His most pronounced struggles are in lefty-on-lefty matchups. Carter has just three hits this season in 27 ABs against lefties, none for extra bases. That leaves him with a .111 average and just a .282 OPS against left-handed pitchers. As a result, he's often been benched against lefty starters as of late.

The thing making it so much worse is that he's only been just above average against right-handed pitching. He's batting .218 against righties with 24 hits in 110 at-bats. He's driving the ball much better against righties, with 11 of his 24 hits going for extra bases, resulting in a much higher .755 OPS against righties, but he's not getting the quantity of hits he needs to be effective — especially when he can't seem to hit lefties at all. Carter is not alone in his struggles this season, but the Rangers were hoping for a big year from the rookie and he will need a massive turnaround for that to pan out.

The other rookie had been out a while and probably has not gotten a fair sample size to judge, but Wyatt Langford has not found a groove yet this season either. The Rangers felt confident in calling him up with minimal minor league experience, and no one can fault them for that. He crushed the minor leagues last season and spring training this season. He looked ready.

Langford hardly has a discrepancy in production based on the handedness of the pitcher. He hits lefties slightly better with .651 OPS while he has a .570 OPS against righties. His total OPS is .588. The problem is none of those numbers are great. In fact they are well below the major league average OPS of .699.

Langford has been the victim of large strike zones, but also seems to have not timed up a major league fastball yet. He was routinely swinging late at that pitch. He's also just not seen the same pop yet in the major leagues as in the minors or spring training. Langord has 28 hits, five of which went for extra bases.

Relying on rookies to contribute majorly to the offense this season was always going to be a gamble. So far, it hasn't panned out. Both had success in their small sample sizes while the rest of the league didn't really have time to adjust to them. Now pitchers have figured out how to throw to Carter and Langford. It is their turn to adjust, and they will.

The question is, will it be soon enough? The Rangers may need to consider adding more bats to remain competitive this season if these two don't start contributing in the near future.