Texas Rangers 2017 Positional Breakdown: Center Field

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Aug 29, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers left fielder Carlos Gomez (14) catches a fly ball hit by Seattle Mariners center fielder Leonys Martin (not pictured) during the third inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 29, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers left fielder Carlos Gomez (14) catches a fly ball hit by Seattle Mariners center fielder Leonys Martin (not pictured) during the third inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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Aug 21, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Texas Rangers center fielder Delino DeShields (3) celebrates after he hit a 2-run home run during the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 21, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Texas Rangers center fielder Delino DeShields (3) celebrates after he hit a 2-run home run during the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Delino DeShields

Delino DeShield’s rookie season in 2015 took everyone by surprise. Finishing 7th in American League Rookie of the Year voting, DeShields was a key piece to the 2015 playoff push.

Scoring 83 runs, stealing 25 bases, and getting on base at a .344 clip, DeShields helped set up the middle-of-order perfectly. So what happened in 2016?

DeShields was sent down to Triple-A Round Rock last May after starting the season with a .217 average. Expected to start everyday in center field and lead off, DeShields was replaced by a converted shortstop.

He did show signs of improving after rejoining the big league club in July. Hitting .261 in July and .250 in August, DeShields appeared to be regaining his rookie form. Unfortunately, he took another step backwards in September hitting .080.

There was a bright-side to DeShield’s rough 2016, however. His 17.5 UZR per 150 games in center field was a vast improvement over his -10.0 UZR/150 in 2015.

DeSheild’s rediscovering his rookie form would be huge for the Rangers, especially considering Gomez is on a one-year deal. However, a reliable 4th-outfielder off the bench may be a more realistic expectation for the 2017 season.

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