With all that happened in the past week, including the Rangers clawing back to .500, lots of kids getting called up and getting a chance, some players being DFAed or sent down, bullpen implosions and Marcus Semien inching his way past .190, the amazing catch Eli White made last week got overlooked here.
The Rangers under the Jon Daniels regime have never made defense a priority. Of the top 100 things they value, in fact, defense is number 2,342.
Remember Mike Napoli in left field? Remember IKF catching? Remember IKF playing short? Remember Willie Calhoun wearing a glove? Nick Solak playing second?
It’s easy to criticize White because he is so offensively challenged. And he is that. He has a career OPS+ of just 55. Meaning, he is about half as good as the average major league hitter.
But he might be twice as good as the average major leaguer defensively. And sometimes you just need someone who can flat out play D. Eli White is that guy.
You need defense. The Rangers, in particular, badly need defense. So, you can overlook his offensive shortcomings.
The problem with the Rangers of recent is they had offensive and defensive shortcoming. That makes fans want to get rid of everyone en masse.
But, truth be told, Eli White should have a place in this starting lineup. Because of his glove. Lots of championship teams had one guy out there who couldn’t hit but whose defense saved more runs than his paltry offense failed to created.
Eli White is that guy.
Until somebody who can play defense that well and actually can hit comes along, the kid stays in.