KFFL answers important fantasy baseball questions about each Major League Baseball team as spring training approaches. What must fantasy baseball players know about the Texas Rangers?
No Josh Hamilton. Now what?
Will Leonys roar?
Really, it's probably not that big of a deal. The club expects prospect Leonys Martin to occupy center field most of the time, and how much "most" is will probably depend on the Cuban's ability to hit southpaws and avoid mistakes defensively. The speedy Craig Gentry will probably serve as Martin's right-handed foil if the former is an issue. Martin, 24 in March, is an interesting sleeper because of his plus BA skills and speed (a possible 15 to 20 thefts here).
Left fielder David Murphy (.304 BA, 15 home runs and 10 stolen bases in 521 plate appearances in 2012) put up excellent results against left-handed pitchers last season, and his numbers against them in 2010 were quite solid. The left-handed batter's advanced indicators don't necessarily correlate with the kind of improvements he's made, however, so it's understandable if both roto managers and the Rangers are wary of Murphy's sustainability as an everyday player. He'll almost certainly receive the opportunity to be one, however, and that prospect should raise your interest in him a little, especially if he's not going to cost any more than he has in past years.
Don't rule out a surprise winner of the battle to man center field, either. The formerly lauded Engel Beltre, 23, and recent flameout Julio Borbon, 27, will provide the starkest competition for Martin this spring. Each would probably be a good source of stolen bases if he landed the job and kept it, at least for a stretch. Gentry could end up taking time from Murphy. And it's always possible that the Olt kid's name comes into the picture again. The 2013 season could turn out to be one of transition, but the Rangers will still score plenty of runs, and they'll find solutions that'll help them do it. It's just unfortunate that fantasy owners won't have that singular, injury-prone outfielder to consolidate all these possibilities into one risky bid.
When will Texas turn to Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt?
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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