It appears that Carlos Gomez is poised to miss some time after leaving the Rangers’ Mother’s Day game with a strained right hamstring. That is a pretty significant blow to a lineup that has just started to pull things together. Even as the Rangers won their sixth straight game, the front office’s mind likely started looking over their options for what happens if Gomez goes on the 10-day disabled list on Monday.
Couple that with the late scratch of Shin-Soo Choo from Sunday’s game, due to back spasms, and it would appear that at least one person is going to need to be pulled from the Minor League system.
The versatility of the Rangers at all levels has the potential to be their saving grace, here, as Texas has several viable options for all three outfield spots already on the 25-man roster. Available for immediate call-up are some players that can either play outfield immediately or shift someone else to the grass.
The once-Golden Boy, Profar was sent back down to Triple-A Round Rock at the beginning of May. Without the regular playing time, Profar struggled mightily at the Major League level. After 15 games, the 24-year old was slashing a dismal .135/.289/.135, while filling in at left field, first base, second base and shortstop.
Profar has been on a tear in 11 games back with the minor leaguers. His slash line is now .310/.341./476 with the Express. At first glance, it appears that Profar should be the first man back up.
Pros: Versatility. Profar can literally play anywhere except pitcher and catcher. He has experience at all four infield positions, game time action in left and center and could probably make an easy transition to right field.
Cons: If you’re not going to guarantee that Profar is playing every single day of this run, you probably shouldn’t recall him. With Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo, Delino DeShields and Nomar Mazara still able to man at least left field, Profar would have to count on Choo hitting the disabled list as well to be considered for everyday playing time.
Also, in those 11 games, Profar has only hit the outfield twice. The Rangers have wanted him to rebuild value as a shortstop, so stopping that process to bring him back up to the outfield would be counter-productive.
The 25-year old Drew Robinson came somewhat out of nowhere. A fourth round pick from 2010, Robinson came into the 2017 season as the 23rd best prospect in the Rangers’ organization. He went through Spring Training playing like a man who was ready to prove he was better than that. Robinson finished spring with a slash line of .246/.355/.477 and made the Opening Day roster.
With Profar, Gallo and Rua ahead of him, however, he didn’t garner more than two at-bats before he was sent back down. In Round Rock, the utility fielder is slashing .245/.364/.353 while manning several spots on the diamond.
Pros: Versatility, again. Like Profar, Robinson has played at every position on the field except pitcher and catcher. An infielder by trade, with most of his experience at third base, Robinson could be a worthy glove to handle the hot corner if the Rangers would like Joey Gallo to transition to left field.
Alternatively, Gallo could be a left-handed platoon with Mike Napoli at first base. With Adrian Beltre rumored to be coming back to the Major League team by the end of May, it might not be a bad idea to get Gallo started at an alternative position.
Cons: For this stretch, there’s very little downside to having Drew Robinson on the team. The biggest problem is that you don’t know what he’s going to give you off of the bench. It’s unlikely that he gets everyday playing time, but that hurts his value far less than it does Profar.
Can Robinson show enough as a part-timer to warrant a spot on the bench? While not a burner, Robinson does have some base-running acumen. He could be a quintessential replacement-level player.
Hoying, a returning Ranger was actually non-tendered in the off-season and chose to re-sign with the Rangers, seeing a better chance for some Major League action with a club that knows what he is. Hoying is a late-inning, defensive and base-running replacement.
Last year, in 39 games, just 46 at-bats with Texas, Hoying was just a .217 hitter, but his speed and defense off the bench made him invaluable to Banister’s team down the stretch run. This year in Round Rock, Hoying has 125 at-bats under his belt with a .248/.338/.488 slash line.
Pros: Familiarity and experience as a part-time player in this organization are what Hoying brings to the table. With over 700 games in his career as an outfielder, Hoying is the only one of the potential call-ups who is a true, bona fide outfielder.
As the Rangers seem to have found their late-inning mojo, having a defensive asset like Hoying to bring in would be a plus.
Cons: Hoying, as a true, bona fide outfielder, is limited to the grass. He has the most experience at center field, but has never played anywhere else (ONE game at first base when he started his professional career in 2010) meaningfully.
The Rangers would also need to clear a spot on their 40-man roster in order to purchase Hoying’s contract. This could be solved by moving Cole Hamels to the 60-day DL, but with Tyson Ross’ debut seemingly coming up, Hoying would likely be the first man out.
The Condor has been making waves throughout the Rangers’ organization. Texas’ number 4 prospect is likely the future first baseman for the Rangers. He’s also expected to make his Major League debut this season, although the front office would probably like to see it come in September with the season well in-hand (or well out-of-reach) instead of in May.
The possibility is there.
The recipient of the Rangers’ Minor League Defensive Player of the Year award last season, Guzman, the 22-year old left-handed first baseman, is on a torrid pace with his bat in Round Rock. In 35 games with the Express, Guzman is slashing an impressive .336/.395/.470.
Pros: You get to see what a rookie first baseman, expected to take the mantle of everyday player in 2018, can do right now.
Sure, he’s a first baseman and the Rangers’ need an outfielder, but Guzman could serve well as a platoon player with Mike Napoli and get Ryan Rua time as a regular outfielder. Then there’s the idea that Guzman would be hanging around a winning player like Napoli.
Cons: You get to see what a rookie first baseman can do right now. Guzman wouldn’t be the first rookie pressed into early service due to injury. His tools still need refining that can only happen at the Minor League level. And again, this isn’t a September call-up, when games potentially don’t mean anything one way or another.
Meaningful games are being played, and with the Rangers in the middle of their hottest stretch thus far, it becomes very important to keep the offensive continuity and momentum going. Going by what Condor told WFAA’s Levi Weaver, he sounds mentally like he’ll be ready when the call comes.
Who do I think makes the most sense? I like the idea of calling Drew Robinson back up. Robinson didn’t really get a fair shake to show what he can do after Opening Day. Pair that with the idea that Joey Gallo should start seeing Major League action somewhere else besides third base for the rest of this season (because you’re not taking that threat out of the lineup), and Robinson is my pick to be called up if Carlos Gomez hits the DL.
If Shin-Soo Choo hits the 10-Day DL as well, I believe Cole Hamels is transferred to the 60-Day DL and Jared Hoying is purchased and called back to the team.
How would you juggle the roster if Carlos Gomez hits the DL? Share your thoughts with Matt on Twitter @FisherWritesMLB.