Center of attention.

Before this swing, the Rangers were the only team in Major League Baseball without a grand slam.

The Rangers started 2021 with their center fielder of the future. 

Leody Taveras.

They rushed him to the major leagues last season but if there’s one characteristic of the Jon Daniels era it’s not knowing how to develop a prospect. Taveras is a perfect example of that. In 2020 he started strong, then the league adjusted to him and he finished the season with soft numbers.

But, also typical of the Jon Daniels era, the roster had major flaws. This Rangers team had no center fielder. It’s been years since they’ve had one. So, they anointed Taveras the starting center fielder on opening day. Trouble is, he can’t hit major league pitching. So, after toiling away in April to an .087 average and an OPS of .247, the Rangers finally executed a mercy flush.

Without anyone else, the Rangers had to bring up Adolis Garcia and slap him in the lineup.

All he’s done is hit so well he made the All-Star team. After hitting a brick wall after the break, Garcia is hitting again. He’s leading all of major league baseball in home runs and RBIs by a rookie, and is a legitimate candidate for American League Rookie of the Year. 

Yesterday’s 13-2 pasting of the Houston Astros was the best illustration of the gap between Taveras and Garcia. 

Back up with the Rangers, Taveras has struggled even more than before. He’s 0-for-19 in five games with one walk and nine strikeouts. 

The Rangers picked up 16 hits yesterday. The only Ranger not to get a hit was Taveras. Garcia, at DH, had three. Including the Rangers first grand slam of the season. 

Taveras is turning out to be yet another Rangers development failure. But at least Garcia is here to step in.

In a season that has been the opposite of enjoyable and positive, Adolis Garcia is one of the few bright spots.