Texas Rangers: Would Joc Pederson fit in the 2020 lineup?
By Kenneth Nash
Move Pederson or Gallo to 1B, the other in RF
Another potential fit would be having either Joc Pederson or Joey Gallo play first base with the other sticking in right field. Gallo has the makings of an elite defender in right field albeit we’ve only seen a small sample size from 2018. Still, in 128 innings Gallo posted a UZR/150 of 35.2 which was the highest mark of all players with 100-plus defensive innings in right field. Among qualifiers, Mookie Betts led the league with a 21.1 rating in over 1000 innings. Pederson doesn’t have much more of a sample size with just 280 innings under his belt and a UZR/150 of 2.3 in his career.
Both have experience at first base as well making this fit at least semi-realistic. Gallo has over 740 career innings at first with a -4.9 UZR/150. However each year he played at the position he improved and there’s reason to believe that despite being away from first since 2018, he could adapt well and become at least an average defender at the position given his athleticism. Pederson’s time at first all came in 2019 and even though it was a small sample size, it wasn’t promising. In 149 innings he was a -41.3 UZR/150 and committed six errors in just 20 games. Maybe with more work at the position he could improve but the defensive drop-off between Guzman and Pederson would be drastic.
This scenario would once again bump Guzman out of the lineup but would leave Danny Santana in center. If the Rangers don’t want Gallo to move back to center this is the next best scenario but the defensive drop-off would be significant as the Rangers best outfielder would likely be Pederson who was slightly above league average in right last year.