Center Field

2 of 2

Before I thought it would be best for Gentry and Murphy in a platoon. Yes Gentry has speed and Murphy has power I don’t think that is the best interest for the Rangers and what they are trying to do. With the idea of an everyday lineup including Nellie Cruz, Adrian Beltre, Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli, Michael Young and Mitch Moreland who are all heavy power hitters the speed issue needs to be addressed. Adding a constant speedster to the lineup is what I think is needed to really make the type of baseball Washington likes to play work.

Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus are fixtures in the top of the lineup with the hope that their speed will allow them to score with the big bats coming after them. In 2011 Kinsler had an OBP of .355 and Andrus had .347. These numbers are good with the realization that each of them is getting on base on average of once every three times at bat.
Combined with their ability to get on base Wash used their speed a lot with Kinsler tallying up 30 stolen bases and Andrus had 37. Wash isn’t scared to use them for this either with Kinsler being caught stealing 4 times and Andrus being caught 12 times.

Coming after Kinsler and Andrus the next fastest was Craig Gentry who had an on base percentage of .347 and had 18 stolen bases without a single time being caught. Those numbers are also with Gentry playing in roughly half of the number of games as the two others at 64 games compared to 150 and 155. If he would have been in for the year his speed would have likely resulted in a comparable 35 stolen base year. Gentry is 28 and is still making less than a million a year. His WAR is 1.4.

While David Murphy is clearly a bigger bat than Gentry is his OBP was .328 the lowest so far and he had 11 stolen bases but 6 caught stealing second only to Andrus who had more than triple the amount of good stolen bases. Murphy played in 120 games. Murphy is 30 and will make $3.6 million this year with a WAR of -0.5.

The third man on the group was actually the Opening Day starting center fielder in 2011, Julio Borbon. Borbon played in 32 games before being injured after which he was sent to AAA and was reinjured which ended his season. In the time he was up with the Rangers he put together an OBP of .305 with a BA that was identical to Gentry and Murphy. Also he had 6 stolen bases which was the same amount that Michael Young had all year. Borbon is 26 years old and will make around half a million with a WAR of -0.3.

I would suggest that Murphy makes more sense to trade and get his salary off the table to open up for better player extensions and to acquire more prospects. Then leave Gentry and Borbon in place as a platoon in center field. This will also give Washington another speedy player on the lineup to play the type of small ball that he enjoys as well as giving the lower half hitters like Moreland and Young a chance to score a speedier person.

Also next year when Leonys Martin is in a better place developmentally to come up to the majors there won’t be as such of a worry to move on or both players to make room for him.

Go Rangers!

Anyway that’s my opinion. What’s yours? Leave me a comment or tweet me @RangerFanSteve.