Aaron Zavala Could Be Rangers’ Next Impact Rookie

The Rangers had one the best offenses in baseball through May, doing much of their scoring without shortstop Corey Seager.

Young players like rookie third baseman Josh Jung, center fielder Leody Taveras and utilityman Ezequiel Duran were major contributors.

There wouldn’t appear to be an opening in the lineup or the chance to upgrade from the farm system, but the Rangers are cautiously optimistic about the potential of 23-year-old outfielder Aaron Zavala making his MLB debut this season.

He returned to game action on May 17 at Double-A Frisco following rehab from offseason UCL brace surgery in his left elbow. He is stronger than ever and hitting balls farther than ever without losing his trademark discipline at the plate.

“Launching baseballs,” Rangers vice president Ross Fenstermaker said.

Zavala homered in his second game back but doesn’t worry about going deep. But the Rangers’ second-round pick in 2021 out of Oregon started to show more power last summer at High-A Hickory and it carried over after he was promoted for his first Double-A stint.

“I think a big thing was figuring out how to use the ground more and leverage my swing more,” said Zavala, who hit 16 homers last season. “As I learned that—and I’m still learning—I’m hoping that things will keep trending in the right direction.”

The Rangers also were impressed by Zavala’s focus, which came through during the rehab process after surgery from an injury suffered at the Arizona Fall League. He also tries not to stray from his routine or look too far into the future.

That recipe could lead to him contributing in the majors later this season.

“I’ve always been good about staying grounded and being in the moment,” Zavala said. “Whenever they tell me I’m going somewhere else, then that’s the day. Until then, I’ll just keep playing out here.”



— Righthander Kumar Rocker, drafted third overall last year, had Tommy John surgery on May 22. He felt something in his elbow during his final start May 17 for High-A Hickory, where he impressed with a 3.86 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 28 innings.

— Righthander Marc Church was bumped to Triple-A Round Rock on May 23 amid the big league club’s ongoing bullpen issues. Church, who appeared in major-league spring training for the first time this year, struck out 31 Double-A batters in 18 innings before his promotion.


Comments are closed.

Download our app

Read the newest magazine issue right on your phone