Isiah Kiner-Falefa was only five games into his first Triple-A season when he got called up by the Texas Rangers in early April. A few days later Authentic Isaac Yiadom Jersey
, Ronald Guzman got promoted and also made his big-league debut.
When Texas reached the midpoint of the regular season this week, the 23-year-old rookies were among eight position players on the roster who are 25 or younger.
While the Rangers were on a 70-win pace after a loss in the 81st of their 162 games, they’ve had a recent uptick. They have won nine of their last 11 games while claiming four consecutive series in a stretch when veteran stalwarts Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus were finally back in the lineup together.
In the 82nd game Wednesday night, when the Rangers (36-46) started the second half of their schedule before an off day Thursday, lefty Mike Minor took a perfect game into the seventh of a 5-2 victory over San Diego. Keone Kela, the hard-throwing 25-year-old closer, got his 20th save – the most in the majors without a blown chance and a club record to start a season.
”When you take all the individual parts of the first half and you look and evaluate players of where they’re trending, they’re trending in the right direction athletically as well as mentally of how they play the baseball game,” fourth-year manager Jeff Banister said. ”We’ve gained some knowledge, and some guys have proven to themselves that they can play at this level and where they’re at and what they need to work on.”
General manager Jon Daniels has said publicly several times that the team’s priority this season is the development of its young players.
Young sluggers Nomar Mazara and Joey Gallo were already regulars in the lineup before this season, along with second baseman Rougned Odor. Speedy center fielder Delino DeShields has been a constant since returning from a broken bone in his left hand, an injury that occurred the first weekend of the season.
”Our coaches, they’ve put that development hat on,” Banister said. ”You watch them every day on the field, different players working on different things that we feel like they’re going to help these players out for the longer term, for the bigger picture.”
Kiner-Falefa was called up when Odor, the 23-year-old already in his fourth season with Texas Youth Minkah Fitzpatrick Jersey
, went on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain. Andrus, the shortstop in his 10th season at age 29, suffered a broken elbow when hit by a pitch just a couple of days later. Beltre had more hamstring issues.
”Everything happened so quick,” said Kiner-Falefa, who has two starts at catcher after previous starts at second base, third base and shortstop. ”I’m trying to soak it all in. … It’s been a cool experience. I’ve had the opportunity to learn from everyone here, and all the veterans.”
Guzman has 51 starts at first base, though he is on the seven-day concussion disabled list. The Rangers were batting when Guzman slammed his head into a knee on an attempted pickoff Monday.
Profar was 19 when he homered in his first big league at-bat in 2012, but he missed all of the 2014 and 2015 seasons because of right shoulder issues. He split each of the last two seasons between the Rangers and Triple-A Round Rock, but has started at all four infield positions this year in his most consistent action in the majors.
”I’ve got a really good chance to experience the big leagues, a lot of things that you want to work to be consistent on,” Profar said. ”We have very good young players here, we’re all learning. It’s going to be good for us going down the road.”
A teenager among men, Juan Soto has impressed his teammates on the Washington Nationals with his maturity and, even more so, his potent bat.
Soto hit a tiebreaking two-run double in the eighth inning, and Washington beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-2 Thursday night in the deciding matchup of a three-game interleague series between neighboring rivals.
Soto Youth Leighton Vander Esch Jersey
, a 19-year-old rookie, is batting .326 with 16 RBIs in 28 games. Starting in the cleanup spot for the first time, he drew a walk and delivered the game’s pivotal hit.
”I think we’re all amazed every single day,” Washington ace Max Scherzer said. ”He puts together great ABs. He has antics and has some flair. He’s a great young player. He’s just enjoying himself.”
Bryce Harper led off the eighth with a double off Mychal Givens (0-4) and Trea Turner followed with a single. After Anthony Rendon struck out, Soto hit a liner into the gap in left-center.
”He’s got unbelievable poise,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said of Soto. ”No matter what the situation is, he goes out there with a game plan.”
Whatever that plan is, it’s effective.
”I just try to be focused and keep working,” Soto said.
Rendon homered for the Nationals, who received seven strong innings from Scherzer and flawless work from their bullpen.
Newcomer Kelvin Herrera (1-0) pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning and Sean Doolittle got three straight outs for his 20th save in 21 tries.
Seeking to end a rare run of two straight losses, Scherzer left a tied game after allowing two runs – both on solo homers – and striking out nine.
Afterward, the right-hander heaped praise upon Soto for the manner in which he’s adapted to playing in the big leagues.
”He has a great feel for the strike zone,” Scherzer said. ”To have that type of eye, it’s remarkable for him to be able to do that at this time and this age and this level.”
Activated from the 60-day disabled list before the game, Colby Rasmus homered for the Orioles in his first at-bat since April 6.
”Me and Max, we go way back, so I felt real good Youth Preston Brown Jersey
,” said Rasmus, who had been sidelined with a hip injury.
In addition, Rasmus made an outstanding throw from right field to the plate, nailing Wilmer Difo on a tag-up play in the seventh inning with the score tied.
Mark Trumbo also homered for Baltimore, his sixth of the season and third in four games.
Baltimore starter Kevin Gausman gave up two runs and four hits over six innings. The right-hander was lifted with the score tied, leaving him winless in his last seven starts.
WALK THIS WAY
Martinez put Harper in the leadoff spot for the first time since May for this reason: ”The thinking is if he’s hitting up top, he’ll start taking his walks again and it will get him going.” It worked. Harper walked twice.
Struggling Orioles slugger Chris Davis will start Friday night in Atlanta, manager Buck Showalter said. Davis hasn’t played since June 11, when an 0-for-5 outing against Boston dropped his batting average to .150. Since then, he’s been working on his swing and mental approach in an effort to turn around his unproductive season.
In addition to activating Rasmus from the DL, the Orioles optioned OF Joey Rickard to Triple-A Norfolk and moved LHP Richard Bleier (latissimus tear) to the 60-day DL. Also, DH Pedro Alvarez cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to Norfolk.
Orioles: RHP Chris Tillman (back) will next pitch for Class A Delmarva after allowing three runs in two innings for lower Class A Aberdeen on Wednesday night.
Nationals: RHP Brandon Kintzler (flexor strain) is close to coming off the DL. Martinez hopes the reliever can pitch an inning on a rehabilitation assignment before being is activated. … Martinez said RHP Jeremy Hellickson (right hamstring strain) will soon go on a rehab assignment and pitch five or six innings.
Orioles: Alex Cobb (2-9, 7.14 ERA) helps Baltimore open a three-game series on the road Friday night against the Braves, who lead the NL East.
Nationals: Tanner Roark (3-7, 3.87) takes the mound in the opener of a three-game set against the visiting Philadelphia Phillies, who entered play Thursday in a second-place tie with Washington.