Ronald Guzman Has Only One Goal This Spring
The most shocking thing about first baseman Ronald Guzman—even more shocking than his immense 6-foot-5 size—is that he is still a pup.
Guzman just turned 23 in October, though he has been making news since he signed in 2011 for $3.45 million. If it hadn't been for fellow 16-year-old Dominican Nomar Mazara's $4.95 million bonus, Guzman would have stolen the show. Mazara is still taking the spotlight from Guzman, having completed his second full season with the Rangers with 20 home runs and 101 RBIs.
Guzman, meanwhile, will return to big league camp for a second straight year and is the organization's reigning minor league player of the year. He has only a slim chance at making the Opening Day roster, however, in part because of the emergence of Joey Gallo and in part because Guzman still lacks the pop the Rangers hoped would develop by now.
At Triple-A Round Rock in 2017, Guzman hit .298/.372/.434 with 12 home runs in 125 games, which is shocking given his massive frame. But he's not looking at his odds. He's preparing to make the Rangers' roster.
"I have the same mentality as last year, that I have a chance to make the team in the beginning," Guzman said. "But I'm going to come up at some time this year and try to make the team in spring training. If feel like I'm a step closer now."
Guzman seems to be content with who is at the plate, but he isn't giving up on the idea that he will never hit for power.
"I need to show them that I need to be a little more consistent with my at-bats," he said. "I would like to hit for more power, but I've got to accept what I am. I'm a line-drive hitter, and I know power will come. I'm going to stick to that."
Gallo will be the Rangers' first baseman if he isn't needed in left field. General manager Jon Daniels said that Guzman could make the team if Gallo isn't at first, but his chances are limited by the power outage and a lack of versatility on defense.
• The Rangers invited non-roster players second baseman Andy Ibanez, outfielder Scott Heineman, lefthander Jeffrey Springs and righthanders Reed Garrett and Adrian Sampson to big league camp. Sampson, who returned in July from elbow surgery, is the only one to have pitched above Double-A.
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• Outfielder Leody Taveras, the system's No. 2 prospect, took part in two offseason minicamps at Globe Life Park but was not invited to big league camp. He will start the season at high Class A Down East and says that's fine with him. "I don't get anxious," he said. "I try to stay focused and do the best I can."