Renato Nunez, the newest Texas Ranger: I saw Renato play quite a few times in 2015 when Midland rolled through Frisco. He mashes left handers and he mashes mistake pitches from any handers. He strikes out a lot, isn’t a good defender and my notes from some of his games include the words, “slow” and “very, V, slow”. I’m not sure why I didn’t write “very” the second time there, but I’m fairly certain I wasn’t abbreviating “voluptuous”. He’s still young, having turned 24 on April 4th, and can hit the ball over the fence, so I completely understand taking a flyer on a guy who was dubbed superfluous to Oakland’s OF needs. And yeah, he’s mostly a LF. I’ve seen him play 3B and I asked a scout tonight if 3B at the big league level was possible for Renato and he said “Not really.”
Overall, Renato is a pretty limited player, but the one skill he has is fairly coveted. He’s not a great hitter in that he doesn’t use the whole field and has shown some dodgy approach in the past, but he can pull the snot outta it from time to time. Is he a future DH? Is he gonna provide some RH pop to the Rangers’ mega-lefty lineup? I really don’t know.
Renato hit 32 homers last year as a 23 year-old in AAA. That’s nothing to scoff at, and his .967 OPS against lefties in 2017 represents a loud number. He started 41G at 3B and 47G in LF. He even played a handful of games at 2B and 1B in 2017. I ain’t gonna lie: I’m your friendly neighborhood optimist, so I’m just gonna fixate on the 32 AAA homers and reason that this was a lotto ticket worth it’s price (essentially, free). Signing Renato might result in some roster whack-a-mole over the next couple of weeks, but the upside is a righty who can hit a tater or 20 and isn’t arbitration eligible until 2021.
Frankly, like Adam mentioned last night, I’m not sure where Renato fits here. He’s got more power than Rua and might be a better hitter, but he’s not the defender Ryan is despite both players having experience at similar positions. Maybe the plan is to give Renato a bit more run at 3B. He initially lost his job at 3B in AAA to Matt Chapman, which- no shame in that, and maybe someone within the Texas front office/scouting dept wants to spin Renato at the hot corner one more time. This acquisition feels like another chomp at Texas’ twisting search for a right-handed power bat. I don’t know what role they expect Nunez for fill here, but I do know they’re desperate for a young right hander to hit the ball hard. Is it Renato? TBD.
As Always, Enjoy Baseball!