A continuing look at the Rangers 40-man roster.
Age: 25 (26 on January 11)
Right-Handed Hitting Infielder/Outfielder/DH
Nick Solak doesn’t have a position.
He came into 2020 without a position as well. Danny Santana was the starting center fielder but he crashed and burned at the plate.
Solak ended up getting significant playing time in center (thirteen games), left (twenty-nine games), second (seventeen games), and DH (five games). He even played at game at first.
The theory was Solak’s bat would force his way into the lineup somewhere.
The reality was, everyone else’s bat was so weak he made it in by default. While Solak had a disappointing season at the plate, he was better than anyone else they ran out there in left or second.
Picked by the Yankees in the second round of the 2016 draft, Solak was traded to the Rays in 2018, and to the Rangers mid-season 2019.
He made his major league debut about a month later, on August 20, getting both his first career hit and first career home run that day.
His 2019 numbers were impressive and cause for optimism: .293 average, .393 on-base, and OPS of .884, and an OPS+ of 123. His 2020 was not so impressive, declining in every important offensive category: .268/.326/.671/84.
So, he heads into 2021, once again, without a position. The Rangers acquired David Dahl to play left. Rougned Odor still has three more guaranteed seasons on his albatross of a contract at second. And Willie Calhoun has the inside track at DH.
If Solak hits like he did in 2019, he will force his way into the lineup somewhere. If he hits like he did in 2020, he might not.