Friday newsletter time: A friendly piece of advice as Rangers begin playing spring games
(AP photo/Ross D. Franklin)
The Rangers graduate Friday from the monotony of practices to Cactus League games, which can get monotonous.
They will open the Cactus League schedule against Kansas City at Surprise Stadium and will face the Royals again Saturday.
Glenn Otto and Nathan Eovaldi are the scheduled starters. Jon Gray and Martin Perez will pitch Sunday and Monday.
They might pitch well. They might get lit up. The offense might score 20 runs or might struggle to get a hit.
No one should worry or do cartwheels about any of it.
Spring training is a process. Performance doesn’t really matter for established guys, and stats can be wildly misleading. Wins and losses don’t mean much, as games are often decided well after the regulars have exited the game.
The No. 1 goal is staying healthy and continuing to make the right kind of progress toward the regular season.
Things will start to get a little hairy for those in competition for a spot in the bullpen, in left field and on the bench. Those who can opt out of their non-roster deals will be trying to impress scouts in case they don’t make the team.
There will be stuff to watch throughout, even though sometimes it will be hard to watch.
But don’t fret — or wildly celebrate — the results. Not yet.
More prospect rankings
Third baseman Josh Jung, right-hander Owen White and outfielder Evan Carter are the only three Rangers in FanGraphs’ ranking of the top 100 prospects in baseball. Jung has been in all industry rankings, but his place in them has varied. FanGraphs has him at No. 31, only one spot ahead of White. That’s his highest placement in any rankings by far.
Carter comes in at No. 67. He has been rated as the Rangers’ No. 1 prospect by multiple publications, but not this one.
However, Carter was mentioned by one club official as one of the most impressive position players through the first four days of full-squad workouts. He and righty Jack Leiter went head-to-head Thursday in live batting practice.
Shortstop Luisangel Acuna (104) and Leiter (111) were in the next 12 in the FanGraphs rankings.
Card of the Week
The Topps guys were in the clubhouse earlier this week, and they brought a couple of 2023 Series 1 hobby boxes with them.
Not every pack was opened, and I wasn’t brazen enough to help myself. However, I did thumb through a stack of open cards and found some Rangers — Corey Seager, Martin Perez, Josh Smith and a team card of Bubba Thompson, Leody Tavers and Adolis Garcia doing their victory dance.
There was one more, and it is the Card of the Week: the Joe Barlow 2023 Topps Series 1.
Barlow, for those who don’t know, is the guest on the upcoming episode of the Rangers Today Baseball Podcast. He joined me Wednesday in Surprise as we looked out over Surprise Stadium. In the background you might hear a ballpark worker removing the pitch clock, which seems really counterproductive.
But Barlow was great. The main takeaway is he’s a family guy, as one of 11 kids. He also got married in November and loves his in-laws, too.
That’s worthy of being the Card of the Week.
What I imagined my three dogs did as my Uber pulled into the driveway late last night. Enjoy.
Guess who’s back? pic.twitter.com/U9bvyFwbAM
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) February 23, 2023
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org