The Rangers have three catchers on their forty-man roster. Jonah Heim, Andrew Knizner, and Sam Huff. They will probably carry only two. That probably leaves Sam Huff back in the minor leagues.

Poor Sam Huff. Always the odd man out. Forever stuck in Triple-A, the perennial prospect.

At twenty-six, he’s certainly not too old to still be a prospect, but he’s about to age out. Selected by the Rangers in the seventh round of the 2016 draft as an eighteen-year-old out of Arcadia High School in Phoenix, Huff played a premium position with power. He seemed destined for the fast lane.

Sure, he struck out a lot, but he hit monster shots. His eighteen home runs in 2018 and twenty-two in 2019 earned him a call up to the Rangers in the lost COVID year of 2020 when the minor leagues weren’t playing. 

In ten games he hit three home runs, along with three doubles, batted .355, with a staggering 1.136 OPS and an elite 204 OPS+. Yes, he struck out exactly one out of every three plate appearances, but that’s what Rangers did back them. Joey Gallo had no problem being the Rangers every day right fielder, and he didn’t make contact nearly as often. Huff put up impressive numbers in his ten games with the Rangers after having not played higher than A-Ball. Was this the Sam Huff moment?

Since then, he has wallowed away in the high minor leagues, waiting for a chance while the Rangers have been waiting for him to develop into a more consistent hitter. 

He made it back to Texas in the forgettable 2022 season for forty-four games. His strikeout rate stayed the same, his hitting, unfortunately, didn’t, slipping to a .245 average and an OPS of .675, half of what it was in 2020.

He has a little time last year with the Rangers, getting into twenty-one games, batting a respectable .256 with a respectable OPS of .801 and an OPS+ of 112. By comparison, Nathanial Lowe’s OPS+ was 111. Josh Jung’s was 109.

But the Rangers traded for Knizner in the offseason and put him on the forty-man, signaling they may not be expecting Huff to be the backup catcher.

Maybe this is the year Huff figures it out in the minor leagues. Maybe he doesn’t. Either way, you have to wonder how many more chances he’s going to get until he no longer becomes a prospect and makes that sad transition to bust, even though he has certainly held his own when given the opportunity.