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Ronald Guzman Learns To Hit To All Fields

Best Player: 1B Ronald Guzman

The 6-fopt-5 Guzman keeps indicated that he might be the Rangers' first baseman of the future after another solid season, this time at Triple-A Round Rock. He  just missed a .300 season, settling at .298 after a seven-game hitless streak at the end of the season.

Signed for $3.35 million in 2011 out of the Dominican Republic, Guzman continued to show moderate power, with 13 home runs, and posted a career-best .372 on-base percentage. The Rangers like the way Guzman, who turns 23 in October, hits to all fields and the improvements he has made defensively.

"I thought he was going to be a dead pull hitter, but he's more of a gap-to-gap hitter," Round Rock manager Jason Wood said. "It was really good. He had a good season." Best Pitcher: RHP Kyle Cody

The 6-foot-7 Cody recorded a 2.64 ERA over 23 starts at two levels and struck out 136 in 127 innings. The 23-year-old, whom the Rangers selected in the sixth round from Kentucky in 2016, has seen his velocity jump to the mid-90s and his slider improve. His third pitch is a changeup, which still needs refinement.

As the Rangers search for a starter they can sign and develop, Cody, who spent most of the year at low Class A Hickory, is now a part of group and might be heading it.

"He got in a consistent rhythm mechanically, and developed a productive changeup, an increase in command of his fastball and an effective breaking ball that got outs versus right- and lefthanded hitters," pitching coordinator Danny Clark said. "He gained confidence in how and what he was doing in the weight room, nutritionally and in his mental focus. He took in all phases of development and made them his."

Keep An Eye On: 3B/2B Isiah Kiner-Falefa

The native of Hawaii spent his second season at Double-A Frisco, but it was clearly the best season of his career. The fourth-round pick in 2013 did something he had never done before—he hit a home run. He launched five in 513 at-bats and also collected 31 doubles to smash his previous career-high of 12.


Baseball America Prospect Report -- September 25, 2018

There's still reason for the Rangers to be optimistic when it comes to Ronald Guzman despite a below-average 2018.

The 22-year-old Kiner-Falefa is a veteran hand around the infield. Though drafted as a shortstop, he now plays more at second and third base, and he even has become a serviceable hand behind the plate. That prompted an American League scout to say that Kiner-Falefa is going to make a fine big league utility man someday. And sooner than later.

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