Tuesday, March 02, 2004

This year's Laynce Nix... 

Last year, Buck Showalter became infatuated with Laynce Nix in spring training. He shipped him out to the minor league camp early on, supposedly so he wouldn't be tempted to bring him North with the team, but brought Nix over to play in so many A-squad games that it became a running joke. Even though Nix had never played a game above high-A, he almost made the Rangers opening day roster, before ultimately getting called up for good in July.

So who could be this year's Laynce Nix...the prospect thought to be a year or two away, who catches Buck's eye and lands him on the map sooner than anticipated? My guess is Jason Bourgeois. Buck had good things to say about Bourgeois in Wednesday's DMN, and he seems to be generating a lot of positive buzz in the camp. If Soriano stays at second base, there doesn't seem to be any room for Bourgeois on the big league team. But the scrappy second baseman, who had a breakout campaign in Stockton last year before coming up to AA Frisco and struggling a bit before hitting his stride, has gotten positive reviews for his attitude and work ethic, and as a speedy guy who hits for average and draws walks, he could catch Buck's eye as a possible solution to the leadoff problem.

For all the talk of guys like Jason Tyner and Ramon Nivar pushing Kevin Mench in left field, if Buck really starts to sour on the Mench Man, I'd expect to see the Rangers take a look at Soriano at left field and give Bourgeois a longer look at second. Regardless, I'm guessing we'll be hearing a lot of glowing reviews out of Surprise for the next few weeks about what Jason Bourgeois brings to the table, and I think, by the end of spring training, Bourgeois will have put himself on Buck's shortlist of guys he's going to want in Arlington as soon as possible.

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