With the 2022 regular season over, it is that time where we go back and take a look at the players who appeared for the Texas Rangers this past season.
Today, we look at infielder/outfielder Nick Solak.
Man, did things not turn out for Nick Solak like we hoped.
.207/.309/.329 slash line in 2022 in the majors. He started Opening Day going two for three with two walks and a home run, and things just went to shit after that.
Solak was sent down in mid-May. If you are a masochist, you probably want to know that he slashed .188/.257/.250 in the 25 games in appeared in after his Opening Day heroics, prior to being shipped off to Round Rock. That would be bad if he were still primarily a second baseman, as he was in 2021. But from a left fielder?
Solak had two very brief stints in the majors after that mid-May demotion, but for all intents and purposes, it was over for him after that. Solak was 27 years old with no defensive value. He didn’t hit in 2020, 2021 or 2022. The Rangers moved on.
Solak could have, I guess, gotten a little longer rope by excelling at Round Rock post-demotion, and in looking at the stats, he had been hot for a week or two prior to his brief call up in July. But overall Solak slashed .278/.371/.489 for the Express. For a 27 year old who is faking it in left field, that isn’t going to move the needle.
Solak’s strong performance after the Rangers landed him in 2019 from the Tampa Bay Rays, in exchange for Pete Fairbanks, appears to have been an illusion. Solak slashed .293/.393/.491 in 135 plate appearances for Texas in 2019, which is excellent...but it also belied a .339 xwOBA, almost 40 points below his actual wOBA of .375 on the season, hinting that this wasn’t sustainable.
If one wanted to be optimistic about Solak, one could point out that he put up a .335 xwOBA in 2022 in his limited action with the Rangers — right in line with what he did in 2019. Solak, it could be argued, was a victim of bad luck during his short time in the bigs in 2022, and didn’t get enough playing time for things to even out. He also put up a .250/.353/.455 slash line against lefties, which is pretty solid — his overall line was dragged down by slashing .158/.256/.184 against righthanders. Maybe he could have a future in a platoon role, maybe?
The Rangers thought otherwise, sending him to the Cincinnati Reds this winter for straight cash, homey. The Reds apparently aren’t bullish on the possibility, either, having optioned him to the minors early in camp. The Reds are bad and so if Solak can get something going in AAA, he might get another opportunity.
But life is hard for a righty bat with no position. Especially when you don’t hit.