The youngest prospect in Rangers big league camp this year was center fielder Evan Carter, who doesn’t turn 21 until Aug. 28.
He entered the spring having played six games above Class A, and was never going to make Texas’ Opening Day roster.
Still, Carter could use that time to make a favorable impression on new Rangers manager Bruce Bochy and veteran teammates who might have heard the name and the hype around the organization’s No. 1 prospect.
That was what Carter, the Rangers’ minor league player of the year last season, wanted to accomplish with his first invitation to major league camp.
“I’m not going to say I was going to make the team. I’m 20 years old and don’t have that many games at Double-A,” Carter said. “I just wanted to learn as much as I can, grow as a player and a person, and that’s all I can ask for out of it.”
Bochy made sure Carter had plenty of opportunities. Carter played in 15 Cactus League games before he was reassigned to minor league camp. He went 3-for-11 with seven walks and four strikeouts.
Carter’s advanced approach and knowledge of the strike zone will help him continue to thrive on his way to Arlington, but he also showed an understanding of what it takes off the field to be a success.
“You don’t see too many 20-year-old kids have a routine like he does in the weight room and in the cage, knowing what he’s trying to accomplish and having a plan,” veteran outfielder Robbie Grossman said. “That’s the most impressive thing for me, because that’s one of the hardest things about being up here and staying up here as long as you can.”
Carter will open the season at Double-A Frisco, where he played the final week last season before helping the RoughRiders win the Texas League title. Frisco is just 30 minutes from Globe Life Field, and Carter senses that he is closer than he thought to the majors.
“Hopefully I’m here sooner rather than later,” he said.
— Righthander Dane Acker was slowed in minor league camp by shoulder soreness but should be pitching for an affiliate by mid April. The Rangers have discussed starting him at Double-A Frisco despite just nine games last season at High-A Hickory after returning from Tommy John surgery. Acker wowed team officials before camp with his fastball/curveball combination.
— Hard-throwing reliever Alex Speas has returned to the organization after taking off 2022 to reset himself mentally. The righthander continued throwing throughout the year and reached 100 mph with his fastball.