During the offseason, one of the many questions the Texas Rangers had to answer was their left field situation. Those questions were reasonably placed on a team whose left-fielders ranked at or near the bottom of pretty much all offensive categories at the position in 2022.
In a winter that saw the Rangers focus primarily on starting pitching, the club chose to address the left field situation by not really addressing it at all. However, even though the club didn’t bring in a big free agent bat like Joey Gallo or Andrew Benintendi the club still sits in a pretty good spot at the position heading into 2023.
As of now, I see the Rangers left field position being some sort of platoon situation for at least the start of the season. The chances of one guy completely winning the starting position straight out of camp seem very unlikely to me.
Addressing The Candidates
Josh Smith – 2022 was the year that saw former LSU Tiger Josh Smith come up to the big leagues and play 73 games for the Texas Rangers. Smith made 24 appearances in LF and had a very impressive 1.000 fielding percentage. The 5 ’10 lefty has been getting reps in both the outfield and the infield in the first Spring Training under new manager Bruce Bochy.
Brad Miller – The first season in Texas for ten-year MLB veteran Brad Miller was a disappointing one, to say the least. Miller couldn’t stay on the field much at all in 2022 as he made multiple stents on the IL eventually just shutting it down for the year in early September. For the first time in his Rangers career Miller will be fully healthy for the start of the 2023 season and should have a much better season.
Ezequiel Duran – When you think of a Rangers prospect that is close to the big leagues and has a ton of potential, you think of Ezequiel Duran. The former Yankees prospect got his first taste of the big leagues last season where he appeared in 58 games slashing .236/.277/.365. Like Josh Smith, Duran is getting reps in both the infield and the outfield this spring and I’m very curious to see if Duran ends up making the team or not.
Bubba Thompson – If you asked most Rangers fans to compare Bubba Thompson to a Disney character most people would say Lightning McQueen and rightfully so, Thomson never actually got caught stealing last year, he just overslid the bag a few times. Thompson has the speed and defense to be a truly elite outfielder but the question is whether or not he can get on base at a higher rate.
Kane’s Predictions – Ultimately I think this competition is going to be a close one that will eventually end up in a platoon situation. As of now, I think we’re looking at a Brad Miller and Robbie Grossman platoon. This would be effective because of Groosman’s ability to hit left-handed pitching and Miller’s left-handed bat that can crush right-handed pitching. However, I do think that both Josh Smith and Bubba Thompson still make the team. Smith as an extra infielder that has the ability to play all four infield positions and the outfield. As well as Bubba Thompson as the fourth outfielder that can pinch run or be a defensive replacement.