The 2023 MLB Playoffs start next week, and if the regular season ended today, the Texas Rangers would be in them. They currently hold a 2.5-game lead over the Houston Astros for first place in the AL West with six games to play. Barring a crazy final week, the Rangers should make the playoffs.
If they do, they'll need to adjust their roster a bit. After playing with 28 players in September, Texas can only carry 26 in the playoffs.
While the majority of spots would be easy decisions, there might be a few roster spots still up for grabs. That could open the door for a couple of unexpected players to make the roster at the last minute.
With that in mind, here three surprise Rangers who might make the postseason roster.
3 Surprise Rangers on Postseason Roster
1. Jake Latz
Considering that Latz spent most of the season at Triple-A (and didn't pitch particularly well there), it would definitely be surprising if he made the postseason roster.
Still, it wouldn't be totally shocking or undeserved.
For starters, Latz is a lefty, which definitely gives him a leg up compared to some of the other fringe relievers on the roster. Many of the best hitters in baseball bat left-handed, so having a southpaw like Latz to neutralize them could come in handy.
Second of all, Latz pitched well in his season debut earlier this month, tossing a pair of hitless and scoreless innings to close out a game. The ability to go multiple innings is critical in the playoffs, too, when starters typically have a quick hook and only go 4 or 5 frames.
Latz showcased that versatility in Triple-A this year as a starter (5 starts), reliever (41 relief appearances) and closer (7 saves). His closing experience means he's able to handle high-leverage situations as well, which could also give him a leg up when it comes time to fill out the roster.
So while he may not be an obvious choice, Latz is a surprisingly solid option who could add some nice depth to the bullpen.