Keep Calm and Ranger On

There are numerous storylines fighting for attention in this young Ranger season. There has been 96% of a perfect game, a Matt Harrison injury that may be worse than originally thought, and the irresistible urge to bask in the joy that is another terrible start for the Angels. I’ve found my attention wandering elsewhere, though.
    I’ve become fascinated with the young guns. I’m speaking specifically
of Nick Tepesch, Joe Ortiz, and Leury Garcia. Aside from being young,
these guys all have a few things in common. All three have made their
major league debuts this year, they all were drafted or originally signed
by Texas, and they all show a level of poise and confidence beyond their

It is the last of those commonalities that has caught my eye. Garcia,
Tepesch, and Ortiz all carry themselves with a calm, confident
demeanor. Heck, Ortiz has become known as “Fearless Joe” in some circles
because of the way he attacks the strike zone with such gusto. All of
these guys have just recently made the jump from opening act to headline
performer, and seem unfazed by the spotlight. They all seem to know what
job they are there to do, and are focused entirely on getting that job

This level of composure from Texas rookies should not surprise
anyone, though. Elvis Andrus, although not originally signed by
Texas, showed the same level of composure when he debuted with the big
league club. More recently, Robbie Ross also exemplified the
cool, calm, and collected demeanor of which I speak.

While this level of mental composure is great to see from rookies, it
is useless without accompanying physical skills. I contend, though, that
those characteristics feed each other. Josh Hamilton is arguably one of
the most physically gifted players to ever put two hands on a bat.
However, his mental makeup keeps him from being as successful as he should
be. Similarly, Michael Young has always been considered a smart, mentally
tough player, but we all watched as his physical
skills diminished to the point that he was no longer able to maximize
those mental attributes.

A young player who is confident in his abilities and not intimidated
by the big stage is better able to focus on the physical actions
required to be successful. Conversely, a physically gifted player
will naturally be more confident his skills. Luckily, establishing harmony
between the two seems to be a specialty of the Texas Rangers scouts, farm
system and coaching staff.

Maybe these guys are just naturally subdued, composed individuals. It
may be that Texas has put the right people in place to scout,
draft, and sign young players with the desired mental characteristics.
Perhaps it is more the work of the developmental and coaching staff that
are so adept at honing the physical skills of players that they feel an
enhanced level of confidence. I believe all of these things are required
to produce the kind of young talent that the Rangers are cranking out.

The Rangers have put together a system that, from top to bottom, is
committed not only to success, but to excellence. Nick Tepesch, Joe Ortiz,
and Leury Garcia are merely the most recent products of a
system that is sure to keep producing for years to come. They have
constructed a roster that is capable of winning now, while
maintaining a system that will allow them to succeed in the future. That
should allow Ranger fans to face the season and the coming years with the
same sense of calm and confidence that the young players
bring to the field.

Chris Kautz is an alumnus writer for ShutDowninning. He can be reached at or on Twitter @JustCristobal.

Chris Kautz

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