The Texas Rangers have had their spring training games underway in the Cactus League since February 25th. There have been many split squad days, but the Rangers’ official record in the Cactus League sits at 3-6. The win-loss record doesn’t mean too much, but there have been plenty of players making impressions on Jeff Banister and his coaching staff in both good and bad ways.
Willie Calhoun: .364 BA, 1 HR, 8 RBI in 8 games
The main piece the Rangers got back from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Yu Darvish deal last summer, Calhoun had a brief stint at the Major League level last September when he collected 9 hits in 34 at bats. There is no doubt about that the 23 year-old belongs in the big leagues based on what he can do with the bat. The question that surrounded him upon arrival and Texas and still lingers today is where he belongs in the field.
The Rangers have been playing Calhoun mostly in the outfield this spring in anticipation that he could win the starting left field job. Texas will likely trot out average or slightly below average defensive outfielders in Delino DeShields in center field and Nomar Mazara in right, so it will probably take an incredible offensive showing by Calhoun to convince Jeff Banister that it’s worth the gamble to put Calhoun in the outfield several nights a week. Calhoun is certainly off to a good start at forcing his hand.
Matt Moore: 2 hits allowed in 4.1 innings
It has been a rough few years for Moore but he’s putting his best foot forward so far this spring for the Rangers. The lefty has logged 4.1 innings over two starts so far and has only allowed just four total runners to reach base.
Several other starting pitchers haven’t fared quite so well in their brief starts, but Moore is certainly putting a stranglehold on his position in the Rangers far from certain starting rotation. It’s also worth noting that Jeff Banister included Moore as one of the top starters who will not be forced into extra rest because of any potential six man rotation.
“We’re a little bit ahead of ourselves yet in slam-dunking this (a six man rotation). If you look at Cole, and I said it from the very beginning, Cole will be on a regular rest period, Fister will be on a regular rest period, Moore on a regular rest period.”
Mike Minor: 5 hits and 3 walks in 2.1 innings
Minor has appeared in two games so far with one as a starter and one as a reliever. His quest to transition back to a starting pitcher hasn’t gone too well through two and a third innings, with each and every out being an adventure, but it is still early and the 30 year-old reliever will have plenty more opportunities to prove he belongs in the starting rotation once the regular season begins.
Tony Barnette: 5 ER and 3 walks in just 2.1 innings
Barnette has continued his freefall from his top notch reliever form that he had in 2016 when he had a 2.09 ERA over 53 relief appearances for the Rangers. After seeing his ERA skyrocket to 5.49 in 50 games last season, and seeing him struggle so far this spring, it should be no guarantee that Barnette is in the bullpen come Opening Day on March 29th.
The Rangers have been lucky with injuries so far in camp with only minor injuries affecting them so far.
Elvis Andrus made his spring training debut on Friday after battling back spasms the first few weeks of camp.
Elvis Andrus will be held out of Rangers workouts again today with back spasms. Every spring Andrus deals with this. "It's too cold for me," he said.
— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) February 21, 2018
Adrian Beltre also was slightly delayed in joining the game action. He made his debut on Monday and went 2-2 with a double.
Base hit for Adrian Beltre in his first spring at-bat (Arlington High's Hunter Pence might have misplayed it a bit), and he goes to third on an RBI double by Willie Calhoun.
— Jeff Wilson (@JeffWilson_FWST) March 5, 2018
Stay tuned to Dallas Sports Fanatic for more Rangers coverage as we get fans ready for the 2018 season!
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