There aren’t many surprises left in Surprise. There are so few going into any spring training. Rosters are mostly set every year. It’s not like Corey Seager has to come in and turn heads and see if he can make the team.
The Rangers had their five-man rotation set beforehand. DeGrom, Eovaldi, Perez, Gray, Heaney. Heaney hasn’t been a world beater in Cactus League games but they’re meaningless Cactus League games.
The infield was set before spring training as well. Lowe at first, Semien at second, Jung at third, Seager at short.
Garver and Heim were going to be the catching tandem.
Adolis Garcia and Leody Taveras were in right and center. That really left only left and a few bullpen spots to be in contention. Most of the choices in left were anything but awe inspiring. Bubba Thompson cannot make contact. Brad Miller is a utility player. Josh Smith has potential. Same with Ezequiel Duran. Then, at the last minute, the Rangers plucked Robbie Grossman out of thin air and he has filled that one hole they’ve had in their lineup.
The bullpen is a little bit more up in the air. Bullpens always are. One year, a relief pitcher can be lights out, the next year he cannot seem to get anyone out. That’s the nature of bullpens. Fickle. How many failed starters do the Rangers carry? Dunning? Otto? Ragans? Hearn? Odorizzi? Those are usually mop up guys and with the Rangers having the best rotation they’ve ever had, there should not (hopefully) be mopping up many games. After all, guys like Dunning and Otto and Ragans and Hearn and Odorizzi aren’t starting. They were the guys who spilled the water bucket on the floor that needed mopping up.
You hope Spencer Howard and Josh Sborz are nowhere near Arlington when the season starts. After all, the Rangers have said they are out to win this year. And who will close? Leclerc? Jonathan Hernandez? Will Smith? Those are good options to have because they are options, which the Rangers haven’t had in the past.
The season starts Thursday. A few people are fighting for jobs. The last week of spring games start to more resemble real baseball. The regulars start. Starters go five, with the hope that well the bell rings they can go their federally recommended six innings.
All this last week of spring training does is make you impatient for the season. Let’s get this thing going.
San Diego vs Texas, 2:05