Sep 1, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers left fielder Jim Adduci (35) gets his first major league hit during the second inning against the Minnesota Twins at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Answer is Right Under Ron Washington’s Nose: The Case for Craig Gentry Part Two

Shortly after the Nelson Cruz suspension I argued that Craig Gentry should pick up the bulk of the outfield time. A few days later Jon Daniels landed Alex Rios and my hopes for Gentry were never realized. With Jim Adduci, apparently a lifetime minor leaguer up to this point, now getting at bats I have to once again ask why Gentry is not getting playing time. At the time I argued Gentry should grab the playing time Nelson Cruz left behind I claimed Gentry was subpar offensively.

This is not true.

Last year Gentry dropped a neat 106 wRC+ over 269 plate appearances. He also delivered 2.8 WAR. Other players with at least 250 plate appearances in 2012 that delivered 2.8 WAR are Asdrubal Cabrera, David Ortiz, Allen Craig and Jeff Keppinger. That is solid company. Last year Yoenis Cespedes provided 2.9 WAR. Each of these players also had at least 100 more plate appearances than Craig Gentry. Gentry was starting player kind of valuable last year. This year Gentry has his wRC+ up to 102 through 216 PA and has a WAR of 2.3 good for second best on the team behind Adrian Beltre’s 5.2. (Fangraphs). Gentry is not sub par offensively and with his stellar defense he is a starting caliber player.

Now before my fine readers get too worked up I should point out that the Baseball-Reference WAR calculation paint a slightly different picture. Gentry comes in fifth behind Beltre, Ian Kinsler, Leonys Martin and Elvis Andrus respectively. Still, Gentry is one of the better Rangers and starting caliber.

I cannot understand what Ron Washington is doing with his outfield. This team has few question marks about who to play on the infield and at catcher. Beltre should play third as often as possible. Andrus and Kinsler get to play up the middle with Jurickson Profar giving them the occasional day off. Mitch Moreland and Jeff Baker should platoon at first and A.J. Pierzinski should catch as much as possible. That is all easy. Washington has largely employed this lineup but he has mismanaged his outfield by woefully underplaying Gentry. This is particularly true since the loss of Cruz and addition of Alex Rios. Gentry has a higher WAR than Rios even though Rios has over twice as many PA. (2.0 WAR and 545 PA). Rios’s wRC+ is 99. He is also a league average hitter. If Washington is going to play Rios every day and not consider matchups then Gentry deserves the same treatment.

Perhaps the Rangers’ coaches think Gentry can get overexposed by playing too much. I am not a baseball scout so maybe that is fair but I doubt it. David Murphy has over 400 plate appearances and he has looked overexposed all year. Gentry and Murphy were considered fourth outfielder types up to this point but Gentry has put up WAR numbers in line with a starter in half as many plate appearances while Murphy has put up replacement level numbers while getting a starter’s share of appearances. Washington is finally giving in and playing Murphy less which at least means more Jeff Baker but it has not meant enough Craig Gentry. If Gentry had had those extra 200 plate appearances and corresponding time in the field it could have meant another win or two so far. I do not blame Washington for going with Murphy early in the year, David was excellent last year, but Washington left him in too long.

The Rangers are leading the division by one game. It is not time to give time to 28 year old organizational depth guys like Jim Adduci crucial at bats. I hope Adduci proves me wrong and tears it up. I hope Adduci does a Miguel Cabrera impression for the next two months but he is not going to and Gentry is the guy whose at bats are going to waste.

Tags: Craig Gentry Texas Rangers

  • MarshaHart

    AMEN!!!!! Well put!

  • Eric Reining

    Perhaps the Rangers’ coaches think Gentry can get overexposed by playing too much. I am not a baseball scout so maybe that is fair but I doubt it.

    Gentry vs. LHP: .275/.395/.422 (121 wRC+)
    Gentry vs. RHP: .225/.319/.313 (74 wRC+)

    Craig is not an everyday player. He just isn’t. Extremely valuable in his role as a 4th outfielder, yes, but the idea that he would continue to produce a 100-plus wRC+ is just silly. The predominant reason his WAR is so good is because he is an elite fielder who can steal bases.

    To use WAR as a means to compare him to guys like David Ortiz and Allen Craig, who occupy offensive-heavy positions, is not particularly fair. I don’t disagree with your analysis, I just think you are manipulating the information in a way that doesn’t paint the most accurate picture.

    Also, just because Jim Adduci started on Sunday does not mean he will be taking at bats away from the regulars down the stretch.

    • MarshaHart

      Well I certainly wasn’t impressed with Martin offensively or defensively today~ certain people get a pass. I would really like to see Gentry get a lot more playing time myself. Why not see what he can do ~ we certainly have given Murphy a lot of time at the plate & on the field which has been costly in the long run. Gentry has the best OBP of anyone on the team besides A Beltre. When he does get on base he produces if given any chance at all. I have seen Gentry stranded on 3rd base many times after working hard to get there ~ simply because someone failed to bring him home~ such as the other night after the triple. There are a lot of issues that don’t paint a clear picture or total analysis. Gentry is doing his part & should not be ignored. He is a play maker!

      • Eric Reining

        A playmaker, yes. A platoon playmaker.

        As I mentioned above, Craig Gentry is a valuable 4th outfielder, but to play him against right-handed pitching would be a huge mistake, as dictated by his on-base and slugging vs. righties that I posted above. Even David Murphy is a better hitter against RHP.

        Craig isn’t being ignored by the Rangers, he’s being used in a way that maximizes his production. He simply cannot hit right-handers, so if you play him every day, you are killing his value to the club.

        • MarshaHart

          I wish more players possessed the speed & ability that Gentry has ~they would be getting on base a lot more often & with more consistency he will & has hit against right handers. Too much emphasis on the left /right hitting. Yes he hits better off of left hand pitchers which are often the hardest for even some of our right handers to hit off of. And he is actually hitting better off of right handers than Murphy~ look at the stats before writing ~ Gentry is .225 off rights ~ Murphy is .220. And he is even better against left .275 left & .225 right. The guy needs more conisistent play. He has even shown what it take s to be a good lead off player ~ getting on base & doing what ever it takes. When Gentry does get to play he makes the most of it. I am so tired of seeing him left on third base after getting on base one way or another ~ putting himself in scoring position ~ and then often with 1 out ~~ the so called hitters such as Martin or Elvis stand there & strike out or fly out swinging for the fences or It has happened again & again. That is the Rangers biggest problem. Gentry’s numbers are very good there. With bases loaded average is .500. So I totally disagreed that he is being played in a way that will maximize his production. We haven’t seen what he can do. We haven’t even discussed position playing ~~ they guy can play & adjust to any OF position & plays them all very well! (=

          • Eric Reining

            vs. RHP Murphy has a 83 wRC+, while Gentry has a 74 wRC+.

            Batting average by itself is a meaningless statistic.

          • MarshaHart

            I agree batting average by itself is pretty meaningless~~ and changes constantly. Don’t know where you are getting your numbers there though~ for 2013 ~ Murphy has 74wRC+ ~ with 441 ~PA figured in the ~ Gentry has 101wRC+ with only 227PA~~ sort of hard to compare when one player has such less consistent play~ such as Gentry coming in sometimes in very clutch situations in the end & right off the bench ~ like he did with that triple a few games ago. (= Which he actually does quite well at. He has a .500 with bases loaded. But anyway~~~ I notice there aren’t many replies on your columns ~~ even though I have found some of them interesting. You are from California? Anyway would be really nice to see Gentry get more consistent play & more confidence coming from his management. (=