DeShields loses CF nod by June
If Delino DeShields plays well, he’s the center fielder for the entire year. He controls is own destiny, but will he perform?
This season is not like past seasons for DeShields. He finally has some heat on him, as there are multiple ways center field can be pulled from underneath him.
Gallo has proved he can slide over from left field and play a solid CF. Carlos Tocci had an encouraging spring before being optioned to Triple-A. He’s certainly eager to return to the big league club at some point this year. And of course Hunter Pence and Willie Calhoun can force some outfield reordering if either play at a high level with the Rangers.
But, again, center field is DeShields’ to lose. Like many other Rangers, he’s had a nice spring. He’s hitting .324 with a .395 OBP and four stolen bases. He’s definitely the glove that Texas wants roaming center field, but it comes down to his bat.
DeShields must reach base at a high clip. That’s all he really must do to keep his job. He did not do that last year, as he finished the year with a .310 OBP, a number that is simply too low for a speed guy.
Somehow, circumstances will dictate DeShields losing his role as starting center fielder. My gut tells me Joey Gallo takes over as early as June.