SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers have their own Hall of Fame to honor former All-Stars, Most Valuable Players and -- maybe someday -- a Cy Young Award winner.Outfielder Jared Hoying isn't likely to join them. But he would deserve to be a charter member of another Hall of Fame.That would
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers have their own Hall of Fame to honor former All-Stars, Most Valuable Players and -- maybe someday -- a Cy Young Award winner.
Outfielder Jared Hoying isn't likely to join them. But he would deserve to be a charter member of another Hall of Fame.
That would be the fictional Texas Rangers Organizational Player Hall of Fame. He belongs up there with Zach Zaneski, Steve Rowe, Kevin Richardson, Guilder Rodriguez, Jason Botts, Ryan Strausborger, Nate Gold and a few others.
"A lot of great names there," Hoying said. "A lot of great teammates."
Hoying carries their banner as he competes for a job in Spring Training.
"Absolutely," Hoying said. "We all put our heart and soul into it and never gave anything less … play the game the right way. You see so many guys who tried so hard and didn't get to the big leagues. They didn't get the opportunity or they ran out of time. You really feel for them."
Organizational player is another term for Minor Leaguer. It can be a stigma, but it can also be a badge of honor. Manager Jeff Banister understands that, because he was an organizational player with the Pirates.
"You know that when you give yourself a self-evaluation, you know you are not as physically gifted as other players," Banister said. "But you are gifted in other areas, in your instincts and how you play the game and the value you add. They may not add physical value, but they add game-playing value.
"They know their craft, and add value to the team with it."
Hoying is in his eighth season with the Rangers. He was selected in the 10th round of the 2010 Draft out of the University of Toledo, and he spent four seasons at Triple-A Round Rock before finally getting called to the big leagues last year.
Hoying played in just 39 games in the Majors in 2016, but he was on the postseason roster because of his value as a baserunner and defender.
The Rangers made Hoying a free agent on Dec. 2 by not tendering him a contract. Ten days later, he was back on a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training. Hoying did not seriously consider signing with another team.
"I don't know anything different," Hoying said. "I like it here, some great people. I have deep relationships with a lot of guys. They have treated me well. I got a big taste of the big leagues last year, and hopefully I'll get a bigger taste this year."
Hoying has a difficult task to be on the Opening Day roster. The Rangers have Carlos Gomez in center field, Nomar Mazara in right and the competition for left field includes Delino DeShields, Ryan Rua, Jurickson Profar and Joey Gallo.
Hoying will likely end up back at Round Rock, where he has played in more games and had more at-bats than any other player since the Express became the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate in 2011.
"I don't worry about that," Hoying said. "That's out of my pay grade. I just try to play baseball, and let the chips fall where they may. Who knows what the next month will bring? I go day by day. I love it here, and I love baseball. I'm having fun. That's what it's all about."
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.