Friday on the Farm: A preview of Texas Rangers minor-league spring training, where talent is already shining through
Camp begins Monday, but the 90-player mini-camp has left many players ready for games.
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Lost in the MLB lockout and the pre-lockout free-agent frenzy three months ago is that 2022 is another critical development year for the Texas Rangers’ farm system.
It won’t be as critical as last season, when most players hadn’t played for 18 months because of the COVID pandemic that led to the cancellation of the 2020 minor-league season.
The Rangers don’t get enough credit for how well they prepared the prospects to hit the ground running. Many took big steps.
They can’t pull back now. Even though the Rangers spent $561.2 million on Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Jon Gray and Kole Calhoun, they need prospects to become quality big-leaguers to help balance the checkbook.
The next official step begins Monday with the first workout of minor-league spring training.
Granted, most of the approximately 185 players expect at the Surprise Recreation Campus have been working out in Arizona for at least 10 days and some have been there six weeks.
“We’ve got a pretty robust group here that’s ready to go right now,” vice president Ross Fenstermaker said. “They look much further along than you’d expect for March 2.
“Our message has been to them, 'We have time.' I know it's early. There's a lot of people here — major-league staff and front office all around — and there's an inclination to want to impress. But we've tried to soften any of those expectations and let them appropriately build and manage their workloads and slowly scale them up to it.”
The Triple A season begins April 5, and Double A, High A and Low A are set for April 8. The lockout does not affect the minor leagues, save for players on the 40-man roster who need more seasoning.
What needs to happen in the next month? Staying healthy is at the top of the list, but the Rangers have a lot of players’ futures to sort out.