The Rangers infield doesn’t look drastically different from most of last season, the exception being third base. Obviously, shortstop and second base will look the same as it has the past few years. Ronald Guzman earned his shot as the everyday first baseman last season after being called up in April.
There will be new faces at third base and catcher but Isiah Kiner-Falefa has proven his ability to play both.
I also included ages next to their position because... well... it’s a mixed bag in the infield. I only included birthdays for player’s having theirs during the season.
Jeff Mathis- C - 35 (36 on March 31)
The Rangers signed Mathis is a 2 yr/$6.25 million contract at the end of November after declining the option on Robinson Chirinos earlier that month.
Mathis is considered an “elite defensive catcher” and from what’s come out of spring training, he’s been a very beneficial mentor to Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Jose Trevino.
Chris Woodward is hoping to get 80 games out of Mathis, who hasn’t caught more than 80 games since 2011 when he caught 94 games. For reference, last season Chirinos caught 113 games for the Rangers and 88 games in 2017.
Mathis caught 63 games last season, 58 games in 2017.
His career average, in 14 seasons, is .198.
2018 AVG: .200
2018 OBP: .272
2018 SLG: .272
ZiPS Projected 2019 AVG: .193
ZiPS Projected 2019 OPS: .258
ZiPS Projected 2019 SLG: .283
2015: fractured right ring finger (53 days)
2017: fractured right hand (38 days) ended his season
for future reference:— Morgan Price (@morganprice) March 3, 2019
mathis pitched one inning last season and played three innings of second base for the first time in his career (which is 14 seasons)
Isiah Kiner-Falefa- C/Utility- 23 (24 on March 23)
Kiner-Falefa came up to the big leagues after Rougie got injured, and aside from acquitting himself well at third base, he also got regular time catcher, and handling himself behind the plate as if he has played that position his whole career.
He played 46 games at third base in 2018, and 35 at catcher. This year he’ll start the season as back-up catcher but can really be utilized throughout the entire infield. He played every INF position last season at least once except first base.
He had four homeruns, 34 RBIs, 28 walks, and 62 strikeouts in 356 at-bats for the 2018 season.
2018 AVG: .261
2018 OBP: .325
2018 SLG: .357
ZiPS Projected 2019 AVG: .252
ZiPS Projected 2019 OPS: .315
ZiPS Projected 2019 SLG: .333
2016: 7-day injured list May 28 in Frisco, assigned to AZL Rangers for a rehab assignment
Jose Trevino- C- 25
Trevino will most likely start the season at Triple A Nashville. He had surgery on his left shoulder, and when JD was asked in January, he said Trevino was “a little behind” as far as rehab goes.
He has had four ABs in three spring training games.
Jose played in three major league games last season, making his debut, and most notably hitting a walk-off single on Father’s Day.
2018 minor league AVG: .234
2018 minor league OBP: .284
2018 minor league SLG: .332
ZiPS Projected 2019 AVG: .219
ZiPS Projected 2019 OPS: .250
ZiPS Projected 2019 SLG: .314
2016: 7-day injured list
2018: 7-day injured list
Ronald Guzman- 1B- 24
After making his MLB debut last season, Guzman established himself as an everyday first baseman and will start the 2019 season as such.
In 123 games last season, Guzman hit 15 homers, collected 58 RBIs, 33 walks, and 121 strikeouts.
2018 AVG: .235
2018 OBP: .306
2018 SLG: .416
ZiPS Projected 2019 AVG: .247
ZiPS Projected 2019 OPS: .314
ZiPS Projected 2019 SLG: .403
2018: Concussion (8 days)
Rougned Odor- 2B- 25
Odor missed a month of major league play last season after straining his right hamstring.
The 25-year-old appeared in 129 games 28 homers, 63 RBIs, 43 walks, and 127 strikeouts.
It’s easy to forget the Rougie is in the same age bracket as Gallo and Guzman considering this will be his sixth season as the everyday second baseman for the Rangers.
2018 AVG: .253
2018 OBP: .326
2018 SLG: .424
ZiPS Projected 2019 AVG: .249
ZiPS Projected 2019 OPS: .307
ZiPS Projected 2019 SLG: .445
2018: Strained left hamstring (32 days)
Elvis Andrus- SS- 30 (31 on August 26)
For the first time in his career, Elvis was put on the injured list last season when the Angels broke his elbow (not intentionally, obviously, but that’s what happened.)
With missing two months, Andrus played in just 97 games, the first time he played in less than 150 games since 2010. (In his rookie season, 2009, he played in 145, in 2010 he played in 148.)
In 2018, he had six homers, 33 RBIs, 28 walks, and 66 strikeouts.
2018 AVG: .256
2018 OBP: .308
2018 SLG: .367
ZiPS Projected 2019 AVG: .272
ZiPS Projected 2019 OPS: .322
ZiPS Projected 2019 SLG: .403
2018: fractured right elbow (67 days)
Asdrubal Cabrera- 3B- 33
On January 24, the Rangers signed Cabrera to a 1 year/ $3.5 million contract, making him the everyday starter at third base.
He played in 147 games last season, hitting 23 homers, 75 RBIs, 41 walks, and 119 strikeouts.
2018 AVG: .262
2018 OBP: .316
2018 SLG: .458
ZiPS Projected 2019 AVG: .268
ZiPS Projected 2019 OPS: .325
ZiPS Projected 2019 SLG: .461
2015: Strained right hamstring, 15-day injured list
2016: Strained patella tendon in left knee, 15 day injured list
2017: Sprained left thumb, 10-day injured list (put on the IL twice for same injury)
Patrick Wisdom- 3B- 27 (28 on August 27)
The Rangers received Patrick Wisdom on December 11 in a trade sending Drew Robinson to the Cardinals.
Wisdom made his major league debut last August with the St. Louis Cardinals. Primarily he is a third baseman but filled in at first on occasion. He appeared in 32 major league games.
Wisdom maintained at .260 average in 50 plate appearances, going 13-for-50 with 10 RBI, four home runs, 19 strikeouts, and four walks.
He’ll most likely be a bench player for the Rangers at the start of the season.
2018 AVG: .260
2018 OBP: .362
2018 SLG: .520
ZiPS Projected 2019 AVG: .230
ZiPS Projected 2019 OPS: .297
ZiPS Projected 2019 SLG: .404
2016: 7-day injured list
If you want, we can all be in denial and just pretend Beltre is still the third baseman, whose with me?