Earlier this week, I examined the catchers that are in Spring Training with the Rangers, now I will examine the infielders. Below, I will rate each infielder and give their chances of making the 25-man active roster at the end of Spring Training.
Arias is a big prospect but probably needs some time in AAA before he’s ready. He hit .315 in 499 AB with 5 HR, 20 SB, and 17 BB last year with Frisco. Last year in Spring Training, he hit .889 with 3 RBI’s in 9 AB. He should be able to have success as a major-leaguer in his career but I don’t think now is the time.
Percentage 5.6% chance of making the 25-man active roster at the end of Spring Training
Aarom really doesn’t stand a chance because of his opponents. He has never played in the majors and needs some experience. I think this is what he might do in the future: Aarom in my eyes has potential as an average hitter and MAYBE a power hitter if he keeps improving his power numbers like he did in 2005 (11 home runs in 495 at-bats, compared to 4 home runs in 487 at-bats in 2004). In 2006 I think his potential impact is what Marshall McDougall did last year. In his career I think he has a 50-50 shot at helping a team in the majors.
Blalock is a proven major leaguer and will make the team unless he gets injured.
DeRosa will be a back-up all-around infielder unless he gets injured. He decided not to participate in the World Baseball Classic so that he could fight for the second base job. I still think Kinsler will get the job because he is a good prospect and is younger, which could make him more durable than DeRosa.
Durazo has been a power hitter in the past. Last year, he had Tommy John Surgery. Even though he had that he seems to be hitting well in camp. This is what Rudy Jaramillo said about his camp, "The power is there, the only question was his health. But he's definitely showing the power and the bat speed that he's shown in the past." I think that he will have to have a great Spring Training for him to make the active roster. If not, he probably will be the person to come up if someone gets injured.
The Rangers don’t expect Jimenez to do much. He has lost some of his skills going from a .270 AVG in ’04 (563 AB) to a .229 AVG in ’05 (105 AB). With Kinsler and DeRosa fighting for the same job he probably won’t make the team.
Ian is the #1 candidate for the second base competition. He should make the team unless Jimenez has an outstanding Spring Training. Even though he only hit .274 last year in AAA, he still has a .304 career minor league average. He had a career high in homers (23) and at-bats (530) last year.
McDougall has good career minor-league statistics with a .281 AVG in 2161 AB with 69 HR, 380 RBI, 238 BB, 415 SO, 52 SB, 339 R, a .349 OBP, and a .460 SLG in 6 years. In the majors he has only had 18 AB but hit .167 with 10 of his 15 outs being strike-outs. He will have to do really good to make the active roster.
Metcalf was only in high-A last year and probably won’t make the team. Last year, he did win the Rangers Minor League Player of the Year Award.
Last year, Nevin had his worst year since 1998. He had a .237 batting average in 380 at-bats along with 12 homers, 55 RBI’s, and 46 runs. He has been said to be hitting very well in camp. According to cbs.sportsline.com, Rudy Jaramillo said, "Nevin's swinging the bat real well. He's on a mission. I expect to have a big year from him." Hopefully he’ll be able to take that into the regular season. His biggest competition is Durazo, but Nevin will probably get the job because his salary is guaranteed and Durazo’s is not.
Teixeira is the best first-baseman in the American League and is debatably the best first-baseman in the MLB (along with Albert Pujols). With this, he will make the team unless he gets injured.
Michael was the league batting champion in ‘05 and will make the team unless he gets diagnosed with injury.
My prediction of which infielders will be on the active roster is the following:
Mark Teixiera - first baseman
Ian Kinsler - second baseman
Hank Blalock - third baseman
Michael Young - shortstop
Phil Nevin - designated hitter
Mark DeRosa - back-up infielder
Next in line:
Come back this weekend for the outfielders.