The Texas Rangers have probably been the busiest MLB team last two weeks. On Thursday they picked a few players in the Rule-5 draft, one in the Major-League portion and the other two in the Minor-League portion. In a 6-player deal with the Tampa Bay Rays the Rangers acquire Nate Lowe, Jake Guenther and a PTBNL.
Lowe, 25, was drafted in the 13th round of the 2016 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays. He is currently blocked in the Rays line-up and the Rangers needed an offensive upgrade at the position. According to the beats, the plan is for him to be the Rangers starting 1st baseman. I understand the reasoning but I love the defense that Guzmán provides.
The Rangers aren’t expected to keep two left-handed 1st basemen.
Lowe stands at 6’4 and 225 lbs. He is right-handed but bats from the left side. Lowe provides years of club control and upside with the power numbers. In 71 MLB games, he has slashed a line of .251/.322/.447/.770. His 107 OPS+ is really attractive. Lowe struggled this year (2020) at the plate with his .224 batting average but he only played in 21 games. He’s hit 11 home runs in 219 at-bats and has a 0.7 rWAR.
Guenther, 23, is another lefty 1st baseman. He was drafted by the Rays in the 7th round of the 2019 draft out of TCU. He’s got good numbers at the plate. In 2019 with TCU he hit a line of .345/.462/.576/1.039 at the plate with 10 home runs and 42 RBI.
Also in 2019, in the Appalachian league he hit .320/.431/.423/.853 with 2 home runs and 30 RBI.
The Rays return
Rangers shipped Osleivis Basabe, Heriberto Hernandez and Alexander Ovalles to the Rays. Three promising prospects from the Rangers that got some sour feedback from some of our fanbase.
Osleivis Basabe | Age: 20
Basabe was ranked as the Rangers #14 prospect by Baseball America in their mid-season rankings. In 2019, between the Arizona Rookie-League and Spokane he slashed .323/.352/.398/.750 at the plate but had no power in his 161 at-bats.
Heriberto Hernandez | Age: Soon to be 21
Hernandez was ranked as the #21 prospect by Baseball America in the mid-season rankings. Between the Rookie-League and Spokane, he slashed a line of .345/.436/.635/1.071 at the plate with 11 home runs and had 49 RBI.
Alexander Ovalles | Age: 20
The Rangers signed Alexander Ovalles in 2018 out of the Dominican Republic. Bats and throws from the left hand side. He played in the Rookie League where he was fantastic with a line of .377/.437/.623/1.059 with 2 home runs and 18 RBI. In Spokane, he struggled with a line of .187/.250/.319/.569 with 2 home runs and 15 RBI.
You can see the Baseball America mid-season ratings here.
The Rangers dealt from positions of depth within the system so losing these may sting a little but there are other players ahead of them.
What do you think of this trade? Did the Rangers give up too much?
*Updated January 5th, 2021
The Rangers recieved Carl Chester from Tampa Bay as the player to be named later. Chester played at Charlotte and Montgomery in 2019 but did not play in 2020. The Rangers assigned him to the Double-A Frisco roster.