Let the Kids be Kids
When I was a kid, Chuck E. Cheese’s had an ad campaign that said, “Where a kid can be a kid.” The commercials featured kids being bummed about living in a grown up world until it came time to go to the pizza place with lots of rides and games.The Rangers spring training has been nothing short of magical, especially, when you consider the performances of prospects NOMAR MAZARA, as well as JOEY GALLO and a healthy JURICKSON PROFAR which look quite promising. Mazara is hitting .550 over seven games in 20 at bats with a bomb the first game of spring training that got all Rangers fans foaming at the mouth. Gallo is hitting .263 with a pair of homers and a .440 OBP over 19 at bats. Profar is hitting .200 over 15 at bats with three strike outs but is still two years removed from playing any kind of baseball. The younger end of the Rangers organization gives us a lot of hope, not just about the 2016 season but about the years to come.
Most of us remember Gallo’s fairy tale debut last year against the White Sox as he was called up to take the field when ADRIAN BELTRE injured his thumb. Gallo went 3-4, with four RBI, just a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. But as Rangers Nation had visions of pennants and World Series rings dancing in our eyes, we would soon find Gallo struggling at the games highest level, seemingly overthinking the smallest details of his swing and making too many adjustments at once to try to stay on top of his game. Over the next fourteen games he would only produce five more hits and three more RBI. Even while his spring training has shown some glimpses of greatness, he still has six strikeouts over 19 at bats but has six walks to go along with that. He’s improving – slowly.
It’s easy to get overly excited about spring training. We’ve all been baseball free for five months and the names we’ve been hearing about in the farm system have finally gotten a chance to shine. But in getting our baseball fix, it’s easy to forget that spring training is just that-training. While our young guys look good, they are often playing against other young guys or against veteran players getting limited minutes to reduce the risk of injury. Plus, these are very small sample sizes in a game where players can get hot or cold faster than a Texas spring.
The future looks bright for the Rangers. But there’s a reason these guys are called prospects. They need time to develop in AAA if nothing else to develop confidence at the minor league’s highest level. We should also hope that the big leaguers all stay healthy and there’s no reason for an early call up. (IAN DESMOND playing LF gives them a ton of flexibility here.) Let’s be excited about the future but trust the guys who make the big bucks to put the best team on the field. Sometimes it’s okay to let some guys stay in the farm system-where a kid can be a kid.