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Grading the 2017 Texas Rangers players, Part III

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Taking a look at the performances of the 2017 Texas Rangers players

Miami Marlins v Texas Rangers Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

We continue our series where we issue grades and review the 2017 seasons for each Texas Rangers player, starting with the positional players and going in alphabetical order before moving on to the pitchers...

Joey Gallo — A-

What a weird couple of years it has been for Joey Gallo. He was one of the most polarizing prospects in baseball heading into 2015, with many people believing his 80-grade power would make him an impact player in the majors, and many people believing his whiff rate would make him Brandon Wood, Part Deux. Gallo was called up for what was supposed to be a short stint in 2015, impressed immediately, and then struggled, and followed that up with a 2016 campaign that can only be described as disappointing, as he went 1 for 25 with 19 Ks in his limited major league look while getting questioned about how he was handling being back in AAA and his overall struggles.

After an offseason of fans lamenting that the Rangers didn’t sell high on Gallo, he came to spring training and seemed to be a new player, having better at bats and earning praise from the coaching staff for his mindset. He was still destined for AAA to start the season until Adrian Beltre’s calf strain landed him on the d.l. to start the year...and Gallo, given the opportunity to play third base in his absence, seized the change and ended up staying in the majors all season.

The numbers for the 23 year old were impressive — 41 home runs, good for third in the A.L., and a .209/.333/.537 slash line that included a slugging percentage that was 9th in the league. The 196 strikeouts were a bunch, and it depressed his average, but 75 walks meant that Gallo was getting on base at a decent clip even with the batting average hovering around the Mendoza line.

But just watching Gallo, he looked like a different hitter than he did in his prior stints. With a more open stance, he appeared to get better reads on pitches earlier on, helping him lay off the balls off the plate that pitchers would try to get him to chase. He showed discipline with two strikes, even when that resulted in him getting called strike threes from time to time on borderline pitches. And he never went into a deep tailspin -- even in his worst month, June, he had a 749 OPS.

It was a huge step forward for Gallo, and he’s established himself as part of the Rangers’ future going forward, with the question being at what position. If this is what Gallo is going forward, then he’s a solid major league starter at any one of four positions that he can handle. If his BABIP goes up a little, though (it was .250 this season -- 9th worst in the majors), and improves the contact rate a bit, he’s an All Star caliber player.

Carlos Gomez — B-

Picked up off the scrap heap in August of 2016, signed to a one year deal this past offseason, Gomez was a solid contributor for the Rangers this year, helping to fill the center field hole that has been a revolving door in recent years. With a .255/.340/.462 slash line and solid defense, the only reason Gomez’s grade isn’t higher is because of the amount of time he missed with injuries, as he logged just 105 games for the Rangers.

Gomez turns 32 in December and will be back on the free agent market, and while both the team and the player have expressed an interest in a reunion, Gomez is probably going to be looking for that one last big payday along the lines of the 5 year, $82.5 million deal Dexter Fowler signed last offseason, while Texas will be looking to do a shorter term deal. What happens with Gomez will shape the Rangers’ offseason a great deal.

Phil Gosselin — C

Claimed on waivers by the Rangers from the Pirates in mid-August to give them a legitimate backup shortstop, Gosselin was up and down in August, came up to stay in September, and almost never played. Gosselin never got a start for the Rangers, coming into 12 games as either a pinch runner or a late game replacement. He appeared in just one Ranger win (as a pinch runner in a 3-0 victory at Anaheim), and in September mostly appeared at the end of games when the Rangers were being blown out.

Gosselin was 0 for 7 heading into the season finale, but picked up a double to avoid having a .000/.000/.000 slash line for Texas on the year. The Rangers have already waived him, and he will resume the vagabond life of a depth utility infielder, spending the next few years getting spring training invites and being stashed in AAA just in case.

As for the grade? I don’t know what to give him. His job was to sit on the bench just in case someone was hurt, and play defense late in games to give starters a rest. He did that, so you could give him an “A” I guess, or you could give him an F for having a 375 OPS, or you could give him some grade in between.