Too bad spring stats don’t matter. Scott Heineman would be an early shoo in to make the roster.
Good thing the roster is such a mess. Scott Heineman should make the team by default. The Rangers forgot to get a center fielder this offseason.
The Rangers approach to fielding a lineup is always curious. Imagine entering the Indianapolis 500 and saying, oh, yeah, we don’t have an actual car. Let’s see if we can win this thing with a guy on a bike.
Don’t have starters? No big deal, let’s just convert a reliever. Yikes, that didn’t work.
Don’t have a catcher? No big deal, let’s see what this utility infielder can do? Or not.
Don’t have a left fielder? Hey, Mike Napoli, do you own a glove? You do? Then get out there. It’s easy. Just wait for the ball to stop rolling and throw it back in.
Center field isn’t one of those positions you just plug and play. Yet, the Rangers have done that recently as well. Remember Ian Desmond? You know who else remembers him as well out there? Cole Hamels. The image of Desmond misplaying a ball in center during a critical play in the playoffs against Toronto and Hamels turning away and slumping his shoulders in disgust still resonates. The Rangers were swept in that series.
Defense matters to teams that matter.
So, it’s good to see Scott Heineman tearing it up with the bat. After going 2-for-3 yesterday, he’s now batting an even .500, with a Trout-like OPS of 1.200.
Again, spring stats don’t matter. Heineman put up video game numbers in Triple-A last year (.340 AVG/.998 OPS) that didn’t translate once he was called up (.213/.679).
But everyone should get a grace period their first time up. Scott Heineman deserves a real shot as the starting center fielder for the Rangers.
Lucky for him the Rangers don’t have anyone else.
Game time: 2:05