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Is Delino DeShields the final answer in center field for the Rangers?

When I think of those who played center field for the Texas Rangers throughout their history (that I’ve personally witnessed) three names stand out: Oddibe McDowell, Rusty Greer and Josh Hamilton. Since Hamilton, there have been a number of players at that position but none have really had the longevity.

Let’s run down the list:

Craig Gentry

Leonys Martin

Alex Rios

Michael Choice

Daniel Robertson

Drew Stubbs

Ian Desmond

Carlos Gomez

Jared Hoying

Drew Robinson

Joey Gallo (just a few games but he’s now primarily left field)

Ryan Rua

Carlos Tocci

And on-again-off-again since 2015 is Delino Deshields.

I think I recall my dear sweet Granny playing center one year but that may also have been a night when I had one too many Jagermeister shots.

The Rangers have put a lot of faith in DeShields, though his career has been a roller coaster of time in the big leagues and time spent in the minors.

Delino has the fielding. He makes spectacular plays in the outfield. He has the speed. I’ll put him against Royals speedster Billy Hamilton in a 40-yard dash any day. He has the ability to be the next great center fielder in Rangers history but it’s his offensive game that detracts from all of that. He came into Wednesday’s game hitting .067 with one hit, though it was a big hit, a grand slam that helped the Rangers beat the Cubs.

I really hope this is the year that he finally succeeds but he has to improve at the plate. He’s not just hitting below the Mendoza line (.200 batting average for those who are not familiar with term) he’s also hitting behind the Holland line (.100 batting average I named after myself because I was a horrible little league player).

The Rangers need his defense. They need his ability to steal bases in crucial moments. He doesn’t need, or want, to be relegated to a pinch runner/defensive replacement role. He needs to step up at the plate. If that doesn’t happen this year then the Rangers need to seriously look in the offseason for someone who can.

James Holland is a credentialed staff writer for Dallas Sports Fanatic. He's a lifelong fan of baseball and his hometown Texas Rangers. He's a member of SABR and Fangraphs because he craves ALL the data. He's also a karaoke addict who hosts shows at his favorite bar in Arlington.

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