Friday newsletter time: Rangers shut out during Award Week. So what?
(AP photo/Lindsey Wasson)
Josh Jung wasn’t even a finalist for American League Rookie of the Year, Bruce Bochy finished second in voting for Manager of the Year, the Rangers didn’t have a pitcher on any of the 30 Cy Young ballots, and Corey Seager and Marcus Semien finished second and third in MVP voting.
The Rangers have had three Gold Glove winners and two Silver Sluggers, but no winner in the prestigious awards given out by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
The Rangers, though, did have the MVP of the American League Championship Series and the MVP of the World Series as they became world champions for the first time.
They’re not complaining about getting blanked this week.
Thumb surgery cost Jung a chance at Rookie of Year. He likely would have been a finalist if not for missing five weeks. Bochy would have been the top manager had voting been conducted after the postseason.
There was no helping Seager and Semien. Even if Seager hadn’t missed 40 games to injury, he likely finishes second. Shohei Ohtani, the two-way star, had already wowed voters even though he missed all but three games in September with an elbow injury.
What Seager did in 119 games was nothing short of spectacular. He finished second in the league in average (.327) and OPS (1.013), and led the AL in doubles (42). He connected for 33 home runs, which was second on the team (Adolis Garcia, 39).
Next season should provide an opening for someone other than Ohtani to win the award. He will be unable to pitch and will be relegated to full-time duties at designated hitter. DHs don’t fare very well in award voting.
The Rangers have won MVPs in the past, as well as top rookie and best manager. They still don’t have a Cy Young winner.
Wash wins them over
Ron Washington was introduced Wednesday at Angels manager, and he had the media eating out of the palm of his hand.
The promise he made after signing his two-year contract probably fired up the Angels fan base and hopefully some Angels players.
“Once we get things together, we get these guys together in spring training and start to work, our whole focus is going to be to run the West down,” he said. “And you can take that to the bank and deposit it.”
Washington addressed the way he left the Rangers in September 2014, stunning everyone by resigning to tend to a personnel matter. He had chances at other jobs and thought he had done enough to land one, particularly the Padres in 2020, but kept missing out.
He repaired his image while working as third-base coach and infield instructor with the A’s and Braves. Now, he’s back in the dugout at age 71.
“What I did was I kept myself relevant,” he said. “I kept making a difference wherever I was. I had three or four interviews when I left Texas, and in each interview, I left the interview knowing I had the job. I left the interview where the general manager and the owner told me I was the guy.
“But then somewhere along the way you get a phone call and you always hear the one line, ‘going in a different direction.’ The direction was away from me, but I was still making a difference where I was.”
At Long Last, the Rangers Today/Triumph Books commemorative look at the 2023 Rangers, is in stories now and online at the usual suspects. That includes Amazon, where you’re find At Long Last with a label next to it: Best Seller.
Granted, it’s some weird subcategory and a regional ranking, but No. 1 is No. 1. At one point Thursday, the book was No. 14 overall in baseball books.
So, thanks to those who have purchased the book no matter at a store or online. The book continues to be available through Triumph. With the holidays around the corner, At Long Last would make a fine gift.
Also, stay tuned to the newsletter and website next week. A few specials are in the works.
Card of the Week
The Rangers ran their best minor-league position players through a hitting camp at the Surprise Recreation Campus the past two weeks. Think of a good hitter, and he was probably there.
That included shortstop Sebastian Walcott, the 17-year-old who finished his season at High A Hickory. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to start next season at Hickory, but even if he’s at Low A Down East, he will likely be one of the youngest players in the league.
He was only 16 when Rangers Today caught up with him at spring training. With any luck, he’ll be a guest on the podcast this offseason. In anticipation of that, his 2023 Bowman Chrome 1st Bowman is the Card of the Week.
Walcott likely won’t open 2024 as the Rangers’ top prospect, but he could finish the season at No. 1.
Evan Carter will still have rookie status, probably through April before he graduates. Wyatt Langford will take over at that point, assuming he doesn’t make the Opening Day roster.
That seems like a safe assumption.
Walcott won’t be in the majors in 2024 and probably not 2025. That’s fine. He won’t be needed, probably, unless something were to happen to Seager, Semien or Josh Jung.
One thought is that Walcott is going to outgrow shortstop and require a position change to third base or maybe a corner outfield spot. He’s already 6-foot-4, and his dad is 6-foot-5.
Walcott, though, wants to stay at shortstop, and the Rangers are going to let him as long as he shows he can play it.
Imaginary kiss, imaginary miss. Enjoy.
When you blow your dog a kiss and he watches it float by.. pic.twitter.com/7cIz6lg0Pa
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) November 16, 2023
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com