After a couple of weeks, some members of the Texas Rangers are standing out from the others.
In fact, there are eight players who have a .300 batting average or higher while playing in at least eight games. Of the eight, only two of them played extensive time in the big leagues last season.
And even though it is spring training, it is worthy to note the players who are breaking out this spring. Many of them have seen a wide array of talent on the mound and in the batter’s box.
However, there hasn’t been a pitcher who has really stood out from the rest of the staff so we are going to look at hitters here.
Here are five breakout performances through the first two weeks of spring training.
Brent Lillibridge, 3B
Brent Lillibridge has had the hottest bat so far in spring training.
He has played in eight games and is hitting .438 with one homer and three RBI. The only blemish on his spring resume is a lone strikeout. Other than that, he is spraying the ball all over the diamond and has committed just one error over 36 innings.
The Rangers are the seventh team Lillibridge has played for in six years. Although the Texas infield is full, it would be difficult for the Rangers not to keep him on the 25-man roster if he continues to hit the way he has been.
Robinson Chirinos, C
Geovany Soto hasn’t seen much playing time due to an injury, and Robinson Chirinos is seizing the opportunity of extended playing time.
Chirinos has struck out six times in 17 at-bats, which account for nearly every out this spring. But he also has seven hits, making for a .414 batting average with four RBI and two walks. His .474 OBP is the highest of any other player with more than one game played.
He has thrown out three base-stealers in four attempts and has caught as many innings as J.P. Arencibia. Chirinos is really making most of the innings he has been given this spring.
Keven Kouzmanoff, 3B
Kevin Kouzmanoff hasn’t played in the big leagues for two years but is enjoying his first spring with the Rangers.
The 32-year-old is hitting .333 in 16 games so far. He is second on the team with six RBI and third in runs scored with six. He has one home run and has been walked three times.
Kouzmanoff has played 61 innings in the field, which is also the second most on the club. He has yet to commit an error and has split time at first base and third base.
After two years in the minors, Kouzmanoff is looking to prove he belongs on the 25-man roster.
Michael Choice, OF
Michael Choice’s performance so far this spring should be helping fans get over the trade that saw Craig Gentry go to the Oakland A’s.
Choice has played in 15 games this spring and is hitting .323 in 31 at-bats. He has one homer, a double and a triple and has driven in three runs. He is tied with Chirinos for the most strikeouts on the team (6) and has yet to draw a walk.
Cutting down on swings is something Choice will learn over the rest of spring ball. Expect to see him getting quite a bit of playing time when the regular season gets going.
Jurickson Profar, 2B
Although Jurickson Profar hasn’t played defensively, he is showing promise at the dish.
Profar has more at-bats (40) than any player. He is hitting .300 and has driven in a team-high 11 runs. He has three doubles and two home runs to his credit, one of which was a grand slam.
He also has a team-high eight runs scored.
Getting at-bats is key for Profar, who had scattered playing time over the course of 2013. Letting him hit every day is more important than getting him his first live groundball.
All stats courtesy of MLB.com unless otherwise noted.
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