Fans are always asking: why do Major League teams bring so many players to Spring Training?
To answer that question quickly—they do it in order to get a good look at how the young players are performing and more importantly how they play against other Major League talent.
But after a few weeks, the teams will begin shorting their rosters in order for their Major League starters to get more consistent and longer game appearances.
On Sunday, the Texas Rangers made their first round of optioning players to the minor league squad in preparation for Opening Day.
Omar Poveda, Guillermo Moscoso, and Jose Vallejo are three young prospects on the Rangers 40-man roster that were expected to start the season in the minors.
The Rangers also optioned pitchers Thomas Diamond, Kason Gabbard (pictured above), and non-40-man roster invitee Casey Daigle.
Diamond will continue to work on his command and pitches as he is attempting to return from Tommy John surgery from over a year ago.
Gabbard is likely going to Triple-A Oklahoma City where he will continue to work on becoming a left-handed relief specialist. Look for him to be promoted to the Majors in the first couple months of the season.
The team also sent down catchers Manny Pina and Kevin Richardson. This will allow the Rangers to use only the four catchers competing for spots on the Major League and Triple-A rosters—Taylor Teagarden, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Max Ramirez, and Adam Melhuse.
With the return of Ramirez from the World Baseball Classic, getting innings behind the plate was beginning to become more and more difficult.
More players will be sent down in the upcoming weeks, but for now the team will keep players like pitching prospects Neftali Feliz and Derek Holland with the Major League squad to get more pitching appearances.