2020 is not the year we thought it would be. You could use that as a slogan with anything, even outside sports. This Rangers season leaves a significant bruise in the standings, but it does provide something 2020 has brought a lot of promise to the future. Friday marked another big league debut for a prospect who didn’t play AA or AAA ball, Sam Huff. It’s a standard theme trending in the organization in 2020, and it’s incredible.
Leody Taveras has already received excellent ratings from his coaches and teammates. Also, fans are basking into the talent Leody brings daily. “Every day that passes, you start to recognize pitches and all of that. Each day I get more comfortable,” Leody said Friday. At the top of the lineup, Taveras’ presence provides a jolt to the rest of the order’s eight guys. Eli White picked up his first major league hit in a clutch way Wednesday night. White’s defense continues to shine in left field.
First MLB hit for Eli White and it's a game tying double in the fifth. #Rangers
— Alex Plinck (@aplinckTX) September 10, 2020
Anderson Tejeda is getting some good looks at second base and shortstop. The aggressive approach at the dish continues to rub off on his teammates while his cannon arm lights eyes among the Rangers faithful. Finally, the Rangers got a look at Sam Huff on Friday.
Huff is regarded as one of MLB’s top 75 prospects and keeps true to the youth core the organization is building. “[Huff] obviously put a ton of work in on the other site, just in his game-calling, and just overall thought process in games and how he would handle it if he got called up,” Chris Woodward said Thursday.
Ronald Guzman continues to show growth on the offensive side since he joined the club. Even though it’s a short sample size, Guzman is hitting .279 with an on-base percentage just under .400, and an OPS of .856 — all career highs. Guzy’s defense remains unbeatable, and it looks like he’s found the stroke he’s looking for. “I thought last year, the last month, I focused on just being myself and hitting like I used to hit when I was fifteen, sixteen years old,” Guzman told me.
Despite nursing an injury, the Rangers got good looks at Jose Trevino and his ability to lead the club’s pitching staff. Seven of Trevino’s twenty starts have him collecting a multi-hit game. His bat is developing into a force in the lineup. It’s an aspect that lacked for the Rangers in the past from the catcher position.
— FOX Sports Southwest (@FOXSportsSW) September 10, 2020
On the pitching side, the combination of Kyle Cody and John King are flourishing. Cody scuffled a bit in his last start against the Angels but limited the damage. Meanwhile, King has had two growing outings. He picked up his first MLB win in the victory Wednesday against the Angels. Add this to what Wes Benjamin is putting in, and competition for a starting role may surface in Spring Training 2021. Taylor Hearn showed some signs of success after a rough go in his first MLB start, but these guys can pitch out of trouble when they need to, a vital skill, according to Woody. “It’s something I place a lot of value on it,” Chris said. “When they are put into the game in that situation, or they’ve created that they find a way to dig deep and execute pitches still, and maybe when they are a little tired at times too cause that is great quality, and they’re going to have learned how to do that as major league pitchers.”
#Rangers Chris Woodward said the fact that Wes Benjamin was able to go in and get out of trouble despite not pitching for two weeks showed a lot.
"When they are put into the game in that situation or they’ve created that they find a way to dig deep & execute pitches still."
— Alex Plinck (@aplinckTX) September 5, 2020
The Rangers have a lot of talented players currently at the alternate training site. Most notably, a move earlier this week sending Scott Heineman, but Chris Woodward says it was to get more playing time, “I love Scotty, and I love everything he does, his energy. He works his tail off every day. I do think he’s going to benefit from it because he’s going to get to play.” It’s unlikely that fans will see Josh Jung in 2020, but remain hopeful that Demarcus Evans takes the hill at least one time.
Even though the campaign can be frustrating to witness, the Rangers are getting some exquisite looks at the young talent in their system. The best way for these players to succeed is to give them a taste of the big leagues, and in doing it together, it is vital for Chris Woodward. “It just makes it easier; it’s a little bit you can share your thoughts with guys who are similar-like minded that are going through exactly what you are going through.”
There may not be much to cheer in 2020 from a win-loss perspective, but seeing such a young core come up and make an immediate impact like they have done is giving promise for the future. There will be bumps in the road, but to face big-league hitters and pitchers this early in their career will certainly help their growth.
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