With Spring Training in full effect in Surprise, Arizona, the Rangers are in the midst of evaluating the talent on deck.
Scott Heineman is one of the more interesting names on the roster, as he was called up at the end of the 2019 season to make his major league debut.
Will he make the necessary jump to become the player the Rangers need him to be?
Heineman has started spring training on the right foot for a young player trying to make the roster to begin 2020. In 9 games and 20 plate appearances, Heineman as a .353 batting average and an OPS of 1.038, which is impressive for a rookie who is still working towards a roster spot.
The assumption is that Danny Santana will start in center field to begin the season, but the way Heineman has proven himself this spring at the plate, don’t be surprised to see him in the lineup sooner than you think.
John Moore of the Ranger Nation Podcast spoke to me about Scott Heineman and his potential from watching him this spring in Arizona:
“I think the player nobody is talking about is Scott Heineman. He is actually a good center fielder. He is a right-handed bat, and he is the best hitter so far this spring training. He might force his way into a starting position this year. He’ll make the team no matter what.”
WOW. Moore is very high on Heineman so early into the year, but he’s making noise in all the right ways.
Heineman is considered to be the closest to a pure center fielder the Rangers have that is MLB ready so far. His speed in the outfield is a plus on defense, and the ability for Chris Woodward to insert him into the outfield allows Danny Santana to rotate around the field where needed, as Santana has become the best utility player on the Rangers lineup.
Leody Taveras, another top outfield prospect for the Rangers, has proven defensively that he can handle responsibilities in the outfield, but at the plate, he’s been abysmal before this year. So far in spring training, Taveras has just 13 at-bats with 4 hits and 3 walks at a .400 batting average. However it’s just a small sample size, and he has a ton of work ahead of him to be able to perform at the level the Rangers want.
With Taveras being so far away from being MLB ready, Heineman represents the best option to have a steady center fielder this season. Now Heineman may not start the season as an everyday player, but eventually, he will be given the chance to take the reigns in the center field position.
The season has yet to begin, but if Scott Heineman keeps playing the way he has been so far, the Rangers will have no choice but to give the young outfielder his opportunity.
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