Sudden impact.

Derek Dietrich’s lead-off single in the eighth sparks a five-run rally.

The Derek Dietrich era has begun. So who is this guy?

Dietrich plays first, second, and third. He has also logged in time in left and, for one game in his seven-year career, in right. Most of his games, though, have been at second.

Which is weird because the Rangers have a second baseman. Or, maybe after last night, had one.

The left-handed hitting thirty-one-year-old Dietrich played six seasons with Miami. He batted a career-high .279 in 2016, with a pretty good .375 OBP, helped along by leading the league in being hit by a pitch, which seems to be his strongest offensive weapon. Last year with the Reds he set the major league record for the most times being hit by a pitch in a single series, with six.

While he was never all All-Star, Dietrich had a pretty good four-year run with the Marlins from 2015 to 2018, batting .262, with an on-base percentage of .344, and an OPS+ of 112, meaning he was twelve percent above major league average offensively. He did, however, have a really bad year last year with Cincinnati.

By comparison, since 2017, the current Rangers second baseman is a .216 hitter, with an OPB of .282, and an OPS+ of 76. He produced about 75 percent of an average major leaguer during that time. This year, it’s much uglier. His 2020 OPS+ is 14. Remember, 100 is average.

Last night, in his first game with the Rangers, playing second base, Dietrich went 3-for-3 with a hit by pitch, stole a base, and scored two runs. He was an offensive catalyst, starting the five-run eighth inning comeback over the Mariners.

Rangers fans will have to wait and see what Dietrich’s role will be going forward. The But one thing is for certain. He is a much better option at second than the current second baseman, should the Rangers choose to make a change there.

Which is something they have refused to do since 2017.