The Texas Rangers did not have the greatest season record-wise in 2022, but they did have several surprise performances. Three out of the four guys on this list made their major league debuts this season. With a record of 68–94, the Rangers finished in fourth place in the American League West division. While this was an eight game improvement over their 60–102 record of 2021, they still fell short of expectations. When the final pitch of the season was thrown against the New York Yankees on October 5 at Globe Life Field, 38 games stood between the Rangers and the division-winning Houston Astros. In a season such as this one, however, you need to focus on the good. The rangers have some very good young talent on their roster. That is something that everyone should be excited about heading into spring training in 2023. In the meantime, however, here is a look at some of the surprise performances of the 2022 season.
The Rangers signed left-hander Martin Perez to a one-year contract worth $1 million in early March. Nobody knew what to expect from the 32-year old lefty. His first stint with the Rangers did not go that well, so fans were a little reluctant when they heard the news of his signing. He was able to put their minds at ease, however. In his 2022 campaign, Perez, shocked everyone by winning 12 games, and finishing the season with an ERA of 2.89. He lost eight games, and his ERA indicates that he just did not receive enough run support.
He struck out 169 batters, and walked 69 over his 32 starts. That translated into 196 1/3 innings. He also had a WHIP of 1.26 in that stretch as well. He acted as somewhat of a stopper for the Rangers, as there were several instances where he would end a losing streak for them with one of his starts. His contract was only for one year, but Perez has publicly made it clear that he wishes to stay in Texas for the foreseeable future. Negotiations between his representatives and the Rangers’ front office are taking place as of the publishing of this article.
The call-up of third baseman Josh Smith was a breath of fresh air for the Rangers, and their fans. Smith made his major league debut on May 30 against the Tampa Bay Rays at Globe Life Field. In that game, Josh Smith singled to right field in his first big league at-bat in the bottom of the second inning off of right-hander Drew Rasmussen. Smith appeared in 73 games for the Rangers in 2022.
He had 42 hits in 213 at-bats. Two of those hits were home runs. He also drove in 16 runs, and scored 23 runs. Smith was able to add four stolen bases to his totals to go along with a batting average of .197. He had an on-base percentage of .307, and an OPS of .556. His batting average may seem a little low, but it is worth mentioning that 73 games is still a small sample size in the major leagues. Fans are looking forward to seeing what he does in 2023.
Just after the All-Star break, the Rangers got some much needed speed in outfielder Bubba Thompson. Thompson made his major league debut on August 4 against the Chicago White Sox at Globe Life Field. Thompson beat out a bunt single off Johnny Cueto in the bottom of the seventh inning of that game. That single marked the first major league hit for Thompson. He quickly became a fan-favorite in Arlington, and has definitely earned his spot on this surprise performances list. During the 2022 season, Thompson had a respectable .265 batting average.
In 55 games, Thompson recorded 45 hits in 170 at-bats. One of them was a home run. He also drove in nine runs, and scored 18 runs. His most powerful weapon is his aforementioned speed. Thompson stole 18 bases for the Rangers, and quickly established himself as one of the biggest speed threats in the league. He also had an on-base percentage of .307, and an OPS of .614. He is definitely one to follow going into the 2023 season.
Last, but certainly not least on this list of surprise performances is infielder Josh Jung. As the No. 1 prospect in the Rangers’ system, people had been talking about Jung for the better part of the past year. Fans were very excited when he made his major league debut on September 2 against the Toronto Blue Jays at Globe Life Field. Jung had fans cheering right away as he homered in his first major league at-bat. He did this off righty Ross Stripling in the bottom of the third inning of that game, a 4–3 loss to the Blue Jays.
Jung has a bright future ahead of him. He finished the 2022 season with a batting average of ..204. He recorded an even 20 hits in 98 at-bats for the Rangers this year. Five of those hits were home runs. He also drove in 14 runs, and scored nine runs. Jung also stole two bases in this stretch. He had an on-base percentage of .235, and an OPS of .653. Once again, 98 at-bats is a small sample size. Jung will have plenty more chance to stretch out in the major leagues. These guys are just getting started, but in the meantime, it is worth taking a look at their surprise performances from the 2022 season.
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