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Chris Woodward has made it clear that changes are coming to the Texas Rangers’ roster.
The manager already indicated that left-hander John King is being stretched out so that he can join the rotation, presumably unseating Jordan Lyles or Mike Foltynewicz.
Woodward on Sunday said that position players in the minor leagues will be taking at-bats from players in the major leagues in the not-so-distant future.
On Monday, Andy Ibanez was recalled from Triple A Round Rock and started at second base against the Oakland A’s. Ibanez was batting .352 with a 1.058 OPS at Round Rock and was batting .403 in June.
“He deserved it,” Woodward said.
Woodward didn’t say who else is coming or when, but he didn’t have to say the why. The offense simply isn’t good enough.
The Rangers, deep in a rebuilding season, need to see how well prospects fare against MLB pitching. They want to see if a little competition from prospects will light a fire under their young big-leaguers who might be struggling.
The same goes on the pitching side.
So, who might be coming?
Curtis Terry, 1B/DH: He hit for the cycle Saturday night but was already on the Rangers’ radar as a potential call-up. Terry leads Triple A Round Rock with 11 homers and 32 RBIs, and his .314 average and .995 OPS are second on the team behind ...
Sherten Apostel, 3B/1B: In his usual form Apostel is heating up after an adjustment period at a new level. He has hit five of his six homers this season for Double A Frisco this month. He is also playing some first base, which is important with so many third baseman including ...
Josh Jung, 3B: The top prospect made his 2021 debut last week and is not disappointing. Through five games, Jung is batting .421 with two homers and six RBIs. He’s had only 19 at-bats and has only 193 as a professional, but it’s hard to envision him not making his MLB debut this season.
Leody Taveras, CF: Adolis Garcia is entrenched in center field, and Eli White is playing regularly since he was recalled earlier this month. Taveras, though, has been doing the things the Rangers need to see in order to consider a return. He might have to do it for an extended stretch, but he has recovered from a terrible April in the majors.
Kyle Cody, RHP: Remember him? The Rangers do, and once he gets healthy (shoulder bruise) he’s going to need a place to pitch. Cody is in Arizona building back up, and the Rangers can use his ability to log multiple innings or even log some starts in preparation for 2021.
Jake Lemoine, RHP: He started a game Friday night, which raised some eyebrows. The Rangers aren’t stretching him out to be starting depth, but they would use another reliever who can log multiple innings. Walks, which have bitten Rangers rookie relievers of late, are a concern.
Joe Barlow, RHP: The closer at Round Rock is holding opponents to a .125 batting average and appears to have harnessed some of the control issues that have held him back in the past. Barlow was not a part of big-league spring training, which surprised some and possibly has motivated Barlow.
Joe Gatto, RHP: Signed to a major-league deal in the offseason despite having never pitched above Double A, Gatto was just bumped to Round Rock after a dominant 11 games for Frisco. He is no longer on the 40-man roster — neither are Terry, Jung, Lemoine or Barlow — so that could be a roadblock.
Wes Benjamin, LHP: His season has gone sideways, but Woodward really likes him when he’s on. When he is, Benjamin throws strikes and keeps hitters off-balance with his breaking pitches. He’s on the 40-man roster and has options, which can be a blessing and a curse.
David Dahl, OF: His first season with the Rangers hasn’t seen him recapture his All-Star form. Dahl struggled after a strong opening series, then got injured just as his bat appeared to be heating up. He’s on a rehab assignment now, which could be bad news for Jason Martin, but Dahl needs to hit as soon as he’s activated.
Charlie Culberson/Brock Holt, 3B: The Rangers value the professionalism and leadership shown by these two veterans, but that will only take them so far. The Rangers are going to need at-bats at the hot corner, and Culberson and Holt haven’t been productive enough so far.
Willie Calhoun, LF/DH: Terry is a first baseman, but he wouldn’t to take at-bats away from Nate Lowe. He would like DH when Terry is at first, which would take away one opportunity for Calhoun to play. If Dahl starts hitting, well, Calhoun better, too.
Demarcus Evans, RHP: This has nothing to do with his past two outings. Evans remains a part of the future. However, he can be optioned to the minor leagues at will, and he could draw the short straw if and when the Rangers need a spot on the 26-man roster.