Opening Day is just two months away, and the Texas Rangers are just a few players short of filling their roster.
The club is still searching for a pitcher to fill the final rotation spot. The Rangers need a couple more position players and two relievers. And with 54 players going to Surprise, Ariz. for spring training, Texas is sure to find the right guys.
Here, we are going to look at three dark-horse prospects who could sneak onto the Opening Day roster. Their names haven’t been mentioned much, but they have a decent chance of being in Arlington on March 31.
Luis Sardinas is currently ranked as the Rangers' No. 7 prospect by Baseball America.
The 20-year-old is a decent hitter with good speed. He had a collective .288 batting average and 32 steals between High-A Myrtle beach and Double-A Frisco. He can hit for extra bases and has a knack for scoring.
Sardinas’ issue is finding a place for him to play.
He is a shortstop who has Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar in front of him. He hasn’t shown much ability to play around the diamond, either. Plus, the Rangers have super utility man Adam Rosales.
There may not be enough room for him come March 31. It would also serve him better to continue developing at the lower levels.
But if somebody up the middle has a setback, Sardinas could be next in line.
Wilmer Font is another guy who could make the Opening Day roster for Texas.
And with Robbie Ross possibly spending time in the minors, another spot could be open in the bullpen.
Font was originally a starter until 2010, when he had surgery and missed the 2011 season. He came back and started a few games before transitioning to reliever. The 23-year-old has been dominant out of the bullpen at three different levels of the organization.
At this point, he could be more of a lock than a dark horse. But with the acquisition of Shawn Tolleson, among others, it could be a longer wait than Font hoped for.
Luke Jackson may have the longest road to the 2014 roster, but he shouldn't be ruled out.
Derek Holland’s injury has opened a spot in the rotation. Nick Tepesch and Colby Lewis should be considered favorites to fill in, but Jackson could be ready for the big league level.
He finished his 2013 campaign with an 11-4 record and 2.04 ERA between Myrtle Beach and Frisco. He had a WHIP of 1.180 and struck out 134 batters in 128 innings. His command is still a work in progress, but he has a live arm and would fit in nicely at the back end of the rotation.
If Texas doesn’t think the other candidates are worthy of the spot, Jackson could find himself making his MLB debut in April.
All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com
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