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Rangers' Thomas Saggese Embraces The Grind Of Pro Ball

Thomas Saggese was the Rangers’ fifth and final pick in the truncated 2020 draft. The high school shortstop chose professional baseball over the magnificent views offered by Pepperdine.

Saggese, pronounced suh-JAY-see, is a baseball rat from outside San Diego. While he might surf on occasion during the offseason, working out and getting better at his day job is pretty much his entire focus.

Here’s how much of a baseball rat Saggese is: He likes the grind of a full season.

“It’s fun,” he said.

It undoubtedly is when a player has the kind of season Saggese just completed.

He hit .308/.359/.487 with 14 home runs and 11 stolen bases in 98 games for High-A Hickory. Promoted to Double-A Frisco on Sept. 14, he went 8-for-21 (.381) with six of his hits going for extra bases.

He then helped Frisco capture its first Texas League league title since 2004 with a two-game sweep of Wichita.

There’s a lot to like.

“It’s a long season, for sure, and it’s a grind,” Saggese said. “That’s the fun part of it. My body hurts. How am I going to get through it? My swing’s off. How am I going to find a way to get a hit today?”

Texas honored Saggese with their True Ranger award, which is given to the minor league player who best exemplifies the organization’s core values. Embracing the grind would seem to be one of those.

Saggese is comfortable playing second base, third base and shortstop. He might need to add outfield to the list based on the organization's MLB infield depth.

He’s not worried about that, having just made his Double A debut.

“I just go play,” Saggese said. “I haven’t really thought about that too much.”

In the meantime, he’s doing the No. 1 thing a minor league position player must do: hit.

“He is just a pure baseball player, a pure hitter,” Rangers vice president Ross Fenstermaker said. “He’s not the most gifted athletically but is very skilled as a baseball player. He hits all pitch types. He hits for power. He’s good.”


— Double-A Frisco righthander Owen White (shoulder fatigue) returned from the injured list for the Texas League postseason run and stuck out all six batters he faced in two perfect innings in the clinching win. The Rangers wanted him to log some innings so that he feels comfortable that he’s healthy heading into the offseason.

— Double-A Frisco outfielder Evan Carter was a key player during the Texas League playoff run, reaching base eight times in four games and scoring two runs. After the season, the Rangers selected Carter as the organization's minor league player of the year after he posted an .885 OPS and reached double digits in doubles, triples, homers and steals.

Juan Yepez Billmitchell

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