Over the past two seasons, we have watched Ronald Guzman excite fans at times, then turn around and disappoint everyone, mainly me, who expect him to take the next step in his development as a major league player for the Texas Rangers.
With the recent signing of Greg Bird and other moves the organization can do, is Ronald Guzman running out of time in the franchise’s eyes?
Guzman finished the season strong in 2019, slashing .305/.397/.475 at the plate with a .872 OPS in September and October, giving Ranger fans hope for what he can bring back in 2020. However, before September, Guzman struggled mightily at the plate, hitting just .193 at the plate with just 8 home runs and an on-base percentage of just .282. Against left-handed pitchers, Guzman was nowhere to be seen with his abysmal .134 BA and 26 strikeouts in just 80 plate appearances against southpaws.
In the offseason, Guzman reached out to former Texas Ranger Nelson Cruz for advice and tips, working out with Cruz during the winter for about a month. Cruz took a while to become the slugger he is, leading the MLB in home runs during the past decade up to 2020.
Guzman may be on the same path, but do the Rangers have the time to wait for Guzman to find his swing again?
Guzman has the ability to be a top defensive first baseman, and there’s no doubt about it, but whether he is able to take his time and find his rhythm at the plate will be the determining factor if he makes this roster or not.
Greg Bird was signed by Texas in early February, creating even more competition for Ronald Guzman at first base. Bird has only played with the Yankees for his career so far, but like Nelson Cruz, a change of scenery is all Bird may need to unlock his potential. After first being called up in New York in 2015, Bird hit .261 with 11 home runs and 31 RBI in 46 games.
Since then, Bird has been a huge disappointment for the Yankees, never able to hit for .200 in a single season since 2015. Bird comes in as a clear option for Texas to play first base if he is able to put it together at the plate, or he needs to at the least be better than Guzman at the plate since Guzman likely has the advantage defensively.
Options that the Rangers will look at is the utility player list they have acquired over the past 2 seasons. Todd Frazier, Danny Santana, and Nick Solak can all play third base, with Santana and Solak have the ability to play outfield, namely center field. If Solak doesn’t win the job over Odor at second base, he could fill in at third base if given the opportunity to prove himself, allowing Frazier to move to first base in place of Guzman.
If Solak isn’t able to play third, then the Rangers could move him to center field while having both Frazier and Santana manning the corner infield positions in whatever order the Rangers want.
Simply putting this into perspective, Ronald Guzman could be looking at his last full season to prove that he can play at the major league level.
Guzman has the potential to reach 20 home runs with 80 RBI in a season, but he’ll need to fix his approach at the plate and produce like the Rangers want him to, otherwise, we could be seeing the end of Guzman in Texas.