Every year, teams go into spring training with ninety-nine percent of their roster already set. Just a matter of getting ready for the 162-game grind. And get a look at some of the potential call ups when the inevitable injuries occur.
There isn’t a place for Ezequiel Duran to play, but his spring performance is pretty much forcing the Rangers to find a spot on their opening day roster.
Duran played mostly third base last year. Ever since Adrian Beltre retired, third base, like left field, has been a parade of mediocrity, waiting for Josh Jung to arrive. He has. Duran also played second. The Rangers have one of those signed for six more years.
This spring, Duran logged time in left, which is a good thing because the Rangers haven’t had one of those for so long, you kind of forget who the last good Rangers left fielder was. Duran also played shortstop this spring. Their current shortstop has only nine more years left on his contract.
But what really turned heads this spring has been Duran’s bat. Spring numbers are as reliable as a teenager on trash day. But once you start getting deep into spring, you start facing guys who will actually be wearing major league laundry.
Duran hit .365 this spring, knocking three home runs and seven doubles in his final games in Arizona. Yes it’s spring, but he is making contact. Hard contact.
There’s always a place for someone who makes contact. Especially now the shift is banned. Duran seems have earned a spot. As Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said, “If you look at who may have been a surprise in Spring Training, he would be right there at the top.”
It used to be major leaguer wanted the label of utility player. Then, the term Super Utility emerged. And those kind of guys started not only getting more popular and more valuable, but more desirable. You can get a lot of at-bats on a team that doesn’t really have a left fielder or center fielder or a DH, and by filling in here and there to give guys a breather.
Duran seems to be that guy.
NO GAME TODAY.