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These Rangers are among standouts in camp

@Sullivan_Ranger
March 4, 2020

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Who has made a big impression in Rangers camp? Ask a few veterans and it's clear that there are a number of young players --as well as one veteran -- who have done so.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Who has made a big impression in Rangers camp? Ask a few veterans and it's clear that there are a number of young players --as well as one veteran -- who have done so.

Jonathan Hernández, RHP
The Rangers brought Jonathan Hernández to camp with the intention of stretching him out as a starter. They also didn’t rule him out as a candidate for the bullpen, and that possibility is growing with the way he is pitching this spring. He starts Thursday against the Cubs.

“He is more mature now,” veteran pitcher Edinson Vólquez said. “He is taking everything more easily than last year. He has a better idea of what he is trying to do. Last year, for him, everything was fast. Now he has settled down. Last year he had a taste of the big leagues.”

Sam Huff, C
Sam Huff's home run against the Dodgers last Sunday -- a blast high off the batter’s eye in center field -- caught everybody’s attention. Huff is the Rangers' No. 2 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, and his offensive power is his best asset. But he is also determined to show he can be a Major League catcher.

“I’m impressed by how good he wants to be,” catcher Robinson Chirinos said. “Everybody knows he can hit. But he wants to be a good catcher. He’s asking questions. You don’t see a guy like that. Normally when a guy comes from the Minor Leagues and is good, he thinks he is a big leaguer right away. He’s not acting that way. I like that.”

Kolby Allard, LHP
Who is first in line if a Rangers starter goes down? Kolby Allard is earning that spot after going 4-2 with a 4.96 ERA in nine starts as a rookie last season. He struck out five in three innings against the Indians on Monday.

“He’s going about his business like a 10-year veteran,” pitcher Jesse Chavez said.

Taylor Hearn, LHP
Taylor Hearn is back to full strength after missing most of last season with an elbow injury. His velocity is up to 95-97 mph, and his slider has bite. Like Hernández, he could prove to be more valuable in the bullpen.

“When he got called up last year, he had that one bad game,” pitcher Mike Minor said. “I’ve seen him throw this year and he looks really good. He has made an impression on a lot of guys.”

Isiah Kiner-Falefa, IF
Isiah Kiner-Falefa appears to be flourishing, now that he has discarded the catching gear. He has three home runs in his first 22 at-bats this spring, and he may be the best defensive shortstop in camp, next to Elvis Andrus. He could be locking down a utility job.

“He is having a heck of a spring right now,” third baseman Todd Frazier said. “He’s got really good hands, really good defender. That’s probably the top dog right there. I like the way he plays the game. He plays the game hard, doesn’t say much and goes about his business."

Jason Bahr, RHP
Jason Bahr, 25, has been overlooked compared with some the Rangers' young pitchers who made their Major League debut last season. But, he was the one who received the team's Minor League Pitcher of the Year award. He’ll likely start the year at Triple-A Nashville.

"His stuff looks really good,” Jeff Mathis said. “And I’ve heard people comment on the way he uses his stuff. He is throwing the ball well.”

Rougned Odor, 2B
Rougned Odor has been impressive in camp because of his demeanor. Odor appears serious about being a much smarter hitter, keeping it simple, controlling the strike zone and sticking with his plan at the plate.

“I like what I have seen from Rougie,” Andrus said. “Rougie looks really good. You can see, his mindset in the game is a lot different than before. He came here with a goal. He is working on it. He is staying with it. I like what I have seen from him.”

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.