Texas Rangers Spring Training: Is Eli White becoming the new favorite in CF?
By Seth Carlson
A number of positions were up for grabs entering Texas Rangers spring training in 2021.
Center field was not initially one of those gigs.
Following a 2020 season in which highly touted center field prospect Leody Taveras made a solid first impression at the big league level, things haven’t gone according to plan this spring for the 22-year-old.
It was widely presumed that Taveras would be the starting center fielder for the Texas Rangers once again in 2021.
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That’s looking less and less likely with each passing day that Taveras continues to struggle, in combination with the recent surge of Eli White.
White, entering his third season in the Rangers’ organization, also made his MLB debut in 2020.
The 26-year-old didn’t exactly tear it up upon his arrival in Arlington last season with a .460 OPS in 52 plate appearances.
The Clemson product and former Oakland Athletics draftee is having a productive spring training, though, hitting .333 with a home run and a 1.012 OPS in 12 at-bats so far.
White keeps hitting and making a name for himself in camp, while Leody Taveras continues to flounder.
Eli White could be the new favorite to start in center field for the Texas Rangers.
Of course, all hope is not lost for the Texas Rangers’ No. 4 prospect Taveras according to MLB Pipeline.
At the raw age of 22, there’s still room to mature and adjust back to league that Taveras hopes to call home for many years.
But Eli White is seizing the moment, taking every opportunity given to him in spring and running with it.
For that reason, he’s becoming the likely favorite to win the newly-competitive starting center field job.
Texas also brought back veteran and fan favorite Delino DeShields this off-season. The 28-year-old is having a strong spring showing as well, with an .818 OPS in 11 at-bats so far.
It’s conceivable that the Rangers could carry both White and DeShields as their center fielders to begin the season, while having Leody Taveras start the year in AAA Round Rock for further development.
This may be just conjecture for now, but don’t sleep on Eli White as the Texas Rangers’ Opening Day center fielder in Kansas City on April 1.