Delino DeShields was a godsend in 2015. A Rule-5, come-out-of-nowhere spark plug when the team really needed one.
Then just as quickly as he won the center field job, he lost it. And he ended up in Triple-A. To make matters worse, he wasn’t even in Arlington the day they had Delino DeShields socks day at the Ballpark. That’s how far off the radar he fell.
But he came to camp this year lighter and more determined to be the guy he was in 2015. So far, so good. And, his position would be left field. A position so undemanding, the Rangers stuck Mike Napoli out there a few years ago.
In a small sample size, but the only sample size we have to go on, DeShields is 3-for-10 with and on-base percentage of .462. And he has two stolen bases. And while the sample size is small, it is giant in comparison to what other Ranger hitters are doing.
Early spring stats are as reliable as a teenager’s promise to cut the grass, but if DeShields can win a spot in left field, he can make all the difference in the world to this lineup.
Carlos Gomez is, by default, the probable lead-off hitter in 2017. But if DeShields vintage 2015 returns atop the lineup, Gomez can slide down, where he can be a lot more deceptively dangerous.
DeShields, Choo, Beltre, Napoli, Odor, Lucroy, Gomez, Mazara, Andrus is a pretty potent string of hitter to run out every night.