After being called up to the majors, Jose Trevino, Scott Heineman, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Emmanuel Clase are ready to make an impact for the Texas Rangers.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa has always been a utility player, but when called on to be a catcher in the beginning of the season, it was much different than what he was asked to do, as he had no real experience at the position. A finger injury derailed his season and sent him down to the minors, but now he’s back and feels even more comfortable no matter what the team asks him to do.
“I’m excited. Catching has always been my secondary thing… Now i get to be in my home position, I feel like… I feel like myself again,” when asked about being back and playing third base. In AA Frisco, his bat came alive again, as he was hitting .298 in 16 games with 11 RBI and 2 home runs. Asdrubal Cabrera was designated for assignment, and IKF was the corresponding move, starting his first game back against Detroit at third base.
When Chris Woodward was asked about Kiner-Falefa playing third base, he replied, “I know he can play third base. I’ve heard really good things about it, so we’re going to give him some playing time.” With the Rangers looking for full-time corner infielders, Kiner-Falefa will definitely get his chance at the cornerstone, possibly splitting time with fellow utility man Danny Santana. Santana has been playing multiple positions as well, including first base, but with the addition of rookie Scott Heineman who can play first and third base as well, it will likely be a carousel of the youngsters at the corner positions for the rest of the season.
With the move of Kiner-Falefa to third, Jose Trevino steps up to be the backup catcher behind Jeff Mathis. Tim Federowicz was designated for assignment with Cabrera, allowing Trevino to be called up. He’s expected to make an impact in the lineup offensively as Jeff Mathis is hitting just .160 at the major league level. Jose Trevino feels as though his offense is much better this time around in the majors.
Jose Trevino on what part of is game is most improved:
— J.C. (@JCDPH91) August 2, 2019
Chris Woodward on Trevino being in the lineup, “I love what Trevino brings, man… all the preparation he was doing in spring training and learning our system, he’s gonna be fine. He can take on a lot from a catching standpoint.”
Trevino’s biggest positive is his offensive potential, as his bat can help this offense that has shown up huge throughout the season but struggled from the catcher’s position in the lineup. Last season, Trevino hit a memorable walk off hit on Father’s Day weekend, and he’s ready to build from it.
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) June 17, 2018
Scott Heineman is the player Ranger Nation has been begging for to be called up to the majors as of recent. He’s mainly an outfielder, but his versatility allows him to play both corner infield positions, and will likely get his chance to play per Chris Woodward. “I want to give him a look, to see what he’s got,” said the manager. When asked about where Heineman will play, Woodward responded, “Probably mostly outfield, but he has been playing first. I want to see what that looks like when he takes ground balls. I don’t mind him playing first, probably more so in the outfield.”
In Triple-A Nashville, Scott Heineman was smashing the ball at .372 with 6 home runs with 18 RBI in 33 games. He’ll likely finish the season up in Arlington to get experience but to ultimately find out whether he is ready to compete at the major league level. Per Jon Daniels, “It’s time to raise the talent level at the major league level,” and Heineman helps in that regard.
The final move made by the Rangers in this roster madness was to option Kyle Bird to Triple-A Nashville, purchasing the contract of young flamethrower Emmanuel Clase from Double-A Frisco. Clase is a right-handed pitcher, mainly used in relief, reaching up to 100 mph on the radar gun. In 39 games between Down East and Frisco, he owns a 3-2 record with a 2.82 ERA and 12 saves. In his last 9 outings prior to his call up, he has pitched 12.1 scoreless innings, allowing just 2 earned runs in his last 26 innings pitched. When asked about Clase, Chris Woodward flashed a grin, and said that he’s “ready to see 100 [mph] up there on the scoreboard.”
The Rangers are making it clear that it’s time to start looking forward to the 2020 season. Young players like Trevino, Heineman, IKF, and Clase will all look to have an impact on this team for the rest of this season, but will hopefully be around to make one for next season as well.
The season isn’t over, and we could possibly see more prospects turn into big-league players to get a feel for who is ready and who needs work.