Tuesday newsletter time: Rangers Today heads west with a list of players to watch
(AP photo/Elaine Thompson)
The 39 pitchers and six catchers on the Rangers’ spring roster (and probably some players from the minor leaguers) will be on the field Wednesday at the Surprise Recreation Campus.
So, who is everybody watching?
The obvious answer is right-hander Jacob deGrom, a preseason betting favorite to win the American League Cy Young. The other four starters need to be watched, too.
Catcher Mitch Garver is another to watch. His elbow/flexor tendon has been fixed and he said he’s ahead of schedule. The Rangers are anticipating that he will be a key member of the lineup.
Glancing into the future, right-handers Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker will be ones to watch. Cole Winn, too.
Seventy players in total will be in camp by Monday. Many will likely arrive before then, including the other young players. Josh Jung should be there early, possibly in bubble wrap, and so should top prospect Evan Carter.
The non-roster invitees and prospects on the 40-man roster will likely get into March before they are reassigned or optioned to minor-league camp. The Rangers have an off day March 9, so March 10 might be when some decisions come down.
That’s a long way off. They need to enjoy their time, but also learn so that they can stick around longer in the near future.
The person in charge of all those players on the roster will be in his first Rangers camp. Bruce Bochy was hired in October as manager, ending a three-year hiatus.
It will be interesting to see how he wants his camp run. Associate manager Will Venable is setting up camp, but manager, obviously, gave his input.
Fundamentals will be a priority, as will learning the new rules. Pitchers will be throwing bullpens on Day 1. The guess is they will be taking lot of fielding practice every day, with pitching coach Mike Maddux calling in his little brother, 18-time Gold Glove winner Greg Maddux, to lend a hand.
The thinking here is Bochy won’t be out front letting everyone know he’s in charge. He’ll be approachable as he tries to get to know everyone. He’ll let his coaches do their jobs. He’ll let players play, but will establish what he expects from them.
Him just being on the field should be enough to make his presence felt. The players know what he’s done in the game, and they’re going to follow him.
Rangers Today reminders
Thanks to the world of technology, Rangers Today was flying to Arizona as today’s newsletter was being published and distributed to email inboxes. The plan is to land in Phoenix around 8:30 and hopefully be setting up shop in Surprise around 10:30. The first workout for pitchers and catchers is Wednesday, and the full squad will workout together for the first time Feb. 20.
Just a friendly reminder that now is the time to get full access to Rangers Today. The cost is $5.99 a month, $35 for six months or $60 for a year. You can subscribe or upgrade your free account here.
As was mentioned last week, the podcast’s YouTube page is also worth a subscription, and it’s totally free. So, you should subscribe here. There will be not shortage of videos coming from Rangers camp, and there should be opportunities for some different stuff this season than we’ve ever done. Don’t miss out.
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As always, thanks for your support.
This was (probably) me right after takeoff to Phoenix. Enjoy.
Work starts at 8, me at 7:59 🥱
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Jeff Wilson, email@example.com