The Texas Rangers are gearing up for the playoffs and it is no secret that going into the season the outfield was the biggest question on this team. It has been a carousel between all three outfield spots but the Rangers have accumulated some real talent to move forward with.
Shin-Soo Choo, Delino DeShields and Justin Ruggiano were the outfield starters for the Texas Rangers at the beginning of the year. How many of those players are still playing in the lineup? Well, Shin-Soo Choo is on the DL and a longshot to return in the playoffs, Delino DeShields spent most of this year in the minors, and Justin Ruggiano is currently on the Mets.
Man that escalated quickly, so who do the Rangers actually have playing in the outfield right now? Carlos Gomez, Ian Desmond, and Nomar Mazara are the usual OF starters in meaningful games. Let’s establish how we got who.
Ian Desmond was a great shortstop and is in a one year contract year in which he is showing his versatility in the outfield. Initially signed to be the Rangers left fielder, he has found a nice home in center field. His pure athleticism has allowed the transition to be well enough and his bat has been one of the best on the team. His fielding does have a hiccup every now and then but he has played the most games on the team and has been the right kind of guy in the club house.
Nomar Mazara or “The Big Chill” hit the scene with a Boom when he was brought up to fill in at right field for an injured Shin-Soo choo. This rookie was not known as a hr hitter in the minors but that’s what he brought with him to the majors. Once opposing pitchers got a scouting report on him, his production did take a hit but he still was solid in the field. He recently has been getting back to producing very well and recently hit his 18th hr.
He has shown a calm presence for a young player and is one of the best on the team at fighting off pitches when he has an 0-2 count. After surviving the trade deadline, Mazara looks to be a keep piece in the Texas Rangers future plans.
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Carlos Gomez may be the most intriguing find yet for the Texas Rangers as the Houston Astros had traded for him in 2015. But his struggles within a year of that trade ended up with him being cut and the Texas Rangers bringing him in to be an everyday player. This addition of talent has yielded the Rangers with runs and a spark at the leadoff position since the recent absence of Shin-Soo Choo. Gomez has taken to the Rangers and has mentioned how the culture makes you want to be around the clubhouse at all times because it is so enjoyable as a player.
In addition to these guys, the Rangers added future Hall of Famer Carlos Beltran who has added a pop with his bat and another veteran presence. Carlos Beltran and Adrian Beltre are seen as the two best players currently playing who haven’t won a World Series, that may change this year. Shin-Soo Choo may return in the playoffs and that may mean that Nomar Mazara could be the man out at that time.
It is worth mentioning that Ryan Rua and Delino Deshields do still platoon the OF occasionally. Ryan Rua has had a solid season and Deshields provides great speed when he is in the lineup.
Who do you think the starting OF should be throughout the playoffs? Given the chance, would you rather see Carlos Gomez or Ian Desmond with the Rangers Next Year?