With Adrián Beltré injured for an indefinite amount of time(Most reports say 2 weeks). The Texas Rangers are in a bind as they have no other true 3B on the 40-man roster. Sure Adam Rosales, as a utility infielder, has played every major league level defensive infield position on the diamond except being on the mound or behind home plate, but does he have the experience and ability at 3rd to fill the void Beltré leaves behind? To break down these experiments, lets first set the constant as being a healthy Adrián Beltré. The constant will be founded in 2 questions, who is Adrián Beltré to the Texas Rangers and how is Adrián Beltré doing for the Texas Rangers now.
- 1. Who is Adrián Beltré to the Rangers?
Other than providing great leadership and an enjoyment of the game, Adrián Beltré fills two mountainous roles for the Texas Rangers. First, Beltré is among the top 10 of active 3rd basemen with ESPN placing him at the #1 spot on that list this year. This makes him a defensive leader. Beltré was also the #1 batting 3rd basemen 4 out of the last 6 years (2010 with the Boston Red Sox & 2011, 2012, 2014 with the Texas Rangers) he was #2 in 2013 with the Rangers, and is on par to be in the top 10 this year. This makes him a batting powerhouse. In his 18 year career Beltré has earned 4 golden gloves and 4 silver slugger awards, 2 of each with the Rangers.
- 2. How is Adrián Beltré doing for the Rangers now?
So far this season, Adrián Beltré is doing his average work defensively at 3B (which is still above average comparatively) and is hitting a near career low .257 (this is actually his lowest with the Rangers). Even still, Beltré is a force to be reckoned with and won’t be easy to replace in the lineup even if it is for just 2 weeks.
EXPERIMENT ONE – JOEY GALLO
Experiment One is the most riskiest but could be the most exciting. Moving Adrián Beltré to the 15 day DL and bringing up 3B Joey Gallo sounds the most intriguing to me personally. In fact, it is what I am secretly hoping for. Looking at the two constants as defined by Beltré, Gallo is a good substitute. As the #9 AA prospect in the minors, Gallo is hitting a .315 this year while fielding above a .970 the last 2 years. Like Beltré, Gallo is known by his defensive leadership and power hitting. I would say the only logical reason Gallo hasn’t been called up is because of Beltré’s superiority at the 3B position. Moving Gallo up for the next two weeks would give him some major league experience and allow the club to see how he fits in with the team and with major league play. This move would allow Adam Rosales (Beltré’s rumored replacement) to remain free to play 2B, which is his best position anyway.
EXPERIMENT TWO – ADAM ROSALES/DELINO DESHIELDS
Experiment Two is the most complicated and is also quite risky. It doesn’t have much upside but is almost as exciting as Experiment One. It would actually result in giving the Rangers the best prospective batting order with the current roster. On the current roster, without moving anyone up Adam Rosales is the best 3B with Adrián Beltré out. He doesn’t however hit as well as Beltré and has had some throwing errors at 2B this year. However, with the recent acquisition of Hamilton, the outfield is getting a little crowded of power players. Deshields, Choo, Martin, and Hamilton are all good defensive and offensive setup for the Rangers at the moment but it is 4 guys covering 3 positions. So let’s consider moving Delino Deshileds to the question mark 2nd base position and moving 2nd base utility player Adam Rosales to 3rd. Like I said, it was complicated. Moving Deshields, who already has a below average arm speed, is not really that crazy. He is hitting plus .300 and wouldn’t have to compete with Choo, Martin and Hamilton like he does in the outfield. In fact, this idea has been rumored and considered on fan blogs and various discussion boards for the last couple weeks as a solution to the question mark at 2B. He has speed, crazy athleticism, and has a history at 2nd base. In all honesty, I think Deshields could be as good a 2nd basemen prospect as Rosales is a 3rd basemen. If this is the route they take, the Rangers might move up an outfielder as a safety net for the off chance Hamilton goes cold again. Nick Williams or Nomar Mazara would be a great fit for this. If not that, then they would move Tommy Field back up and put Deshields back in the outfield.There would be no change in the initial lineup outside of replacing Beltré with Rosales who is already on the roster and who already plays most games anyway. It would lock in Deshields to a position and not as an outfield rotation player and be a fun change in pace at 2B. When this experiment is all said and done, there is just a change in backup and substitute players and not much of a change in the starters. Lets remember the constant however. Rosales is the best 3B option outside of moving up Gallo and the Rangers hitting has been well with the outfield. Looking at the two rookie options I tossed out, Nick Williams and Nomar Mazara are leading hitting for AA Frisco with Williams batting .289 and Mazara batting .297. The only player doing better is 3B Joey Gallo who I suggested moving up in Experiment One.
EXPERIMENT THREE – ADAM ROSALES/HANSER ALBERTO
You really should place Tommy Field in the footnotes of this possibility as he could easily replace Hanser Alberto in this experiment. In all truth, this is the most probable solution to the injured Beltré question mark. It is the lowest risk, doesn’t have the highest upside, but is the most conservative. Since opening day, 4 men have started at 2nd and no one has really locked in the job. Rosales is probably the best with Tommy Field and Hanser Alberto vying for 2nd (pun very much intended). Moving Rosales to third is the most likely solution to replacing Beltré which leaves the 2nd base position open for Field and Alberto. I recognize that as of this writing Tommy Field has be reassigned back down but that was before Beltré was injured. With Beltré hurt someone is likely coming up and Field is the only one with a proven success of sorts in the majors. With this move, there is no change in personal and there is not much risk as there would have been had they brought up a rookie for the infield or the outfield. Looking at the constants this places the best current player at 3B and doesn’t really shake up the 2nd base question mark. I would say the ceiling is much higher for experiment one and two but is the risk worth the reward? This is the question that only time will answer.