Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
The Old Hands
Yes, Leonys Martin qualifies as a returning veteran. After two years patrolling the outfield, this looks to be the year that Martin makes the centerfield spot his own.
Watch For – Defensively Martin’s speed to the ball and his cannon arm make “The Cuban Missile” someone opposing baserunners think twice about before stretching for that extra base.
Watch Out For – Martin appears to be Banister’s choice for to hit lead off and we’ll see how that decision squares with his career .316 on base percentage.
Elvis Andrus could be the best Rangers shortstop never traded to the Yankees. Of course that guy hit 156 homers in 3 years here, most landing somewhere near a pharmacy. Andrus has 20 jacks in six years. Entering his seventh year and signed through 2022, Elvis looks to be the long-term investment that Michael Young once was.
Watch For – Few ball players enjoy playing baseball as much as Elvis. When he’s at the top of his game, it’s a joy to behold.
Watch Out For – Elvis has not yet returned to the All-Star form he displayed in 2010, a performance that earned him the large contract and sent the Rangers to the World Series. Come back, Elvis, come back.
Adrian Beltre is the cornerstone of the infield. Sometime this summer he’ll trot out to third base for the 2500th time as a Major Leaguer and he is still the consummate professional. Beltre has the All-Star credentials, Gold Gloves and has been a legit MVP candidate. He should be a serious contender for the Hall of Fame just on his fielding skills, not to mention his fifth homer this year will be number 400.
Watch for – After all this time, Beltre still has as much fun playing the game as most Little Leaguers. It’s also possible his glove is magnetized.
Watch out for – Beltre’s one weakness is his legs – knees, quads, hamstrings… 18 seasons is a long time. If he can keep the wheels working, it’s hard not to expect good things.
Next: The Injury Concerns