Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Texas two-step in center?
By Jason Catania
The Texas Rangers were linked to center fielders for much of this offseason, but the club is planning on starting the season with what they already have in camp.
Leonys Martin and Craig Gentry are the Rangers' top candidates competing in centerfield. Unlike with most position battles, there might not be a true "winner" by the end of spring training.
The most likely scenario has Martin, a left-handed batter, and Gentry, a righty, fitting together as a platoon duo, a scenario ESPNDallas.com's Richard Durrett wrote about. Defensively, the 29-year-old Gentry is the better player, and he also offers more big league experience and better baserunning. Martin, on the other hand, is a 25-year-old rookie with plenty of tools and much more upside offensively.
Because of Martin's potential, as well as the fact that his lefty-hitting bat would see more action in a straight platoon, Dallas Morning News' Evan Grant says that if Martin doesn't get the lion's share of action in center in 2013, then something went wrong. That jibes with what Star-Telegram's Gil Lebreton writes: that it's Martin's job to lose.
Baseball Prospectus' Ben Lindbergh breaks down the Martin-Gentry competition for ESPN Insider and explains why Martin should emerge as the "winner" this March:
Ben LindberghMartin vs. Gentry
"However, Martin has the higher offensive upside -- PECOTA projects a .265 TAv, compared to .248 for Gentry -- and as a left-handed hitter, he'll match up well with more opposing starters. Barring a big difference in spring training stats, neither player is truly likely to win, since the odds are that this will be a straight platoon. The real winner might be the Rangers, who stand to get solid production from the pair at a fraction of the cost of a high-priced free agent."