Craig Gentry won the heart of many Rangers’ fans with a surprisingly solid 2012 season. Gentry played stellar defense while posting a .759 OPS. If you dig a little deeper though, you see the season was far from purrfect.
Fleet of foot no more: I wouldn’t argue that Gentry has lost a step, but for whatever reason (maybe someone can research it deeper), he quit stealing bases at his usual rate. In 2011, he stole 18 bases (zero caught stealing) in only 64 games. In 2012, Gentry stole 13 bases out of 20 opportunities in 122 games.
So what gives?
Cat nap: The easy answer to why Gentry’s play deteriorated as the season went on is exhaustion. Gentry played in nearly twice as many games in 2012 (122) as the previous season (64).
What can Ranger fans expect from Gentry in 2013? Fangraphs projects him to be worth 2.2 wins after accumulating 2.9 wins in 2012. In Spring Training, he will be fighting for the centerfield spot with Leonys Martin. Recently, Richard Durrett brought up the possibility of a Gentry/Martin platoon this season. He cites Gentry’s .342 average against lefties as a reason for platoon. At this point, there is no reason to make Martin a platoon player as he should be able to hit against both lefties and righties. I would like to see the Rangers give Martin the chance to be the everyday centerfielder with Gentry playing the position of fourth outfielder when the season begins. Gentry is not an everyday outfielder and his strength on this ballclub is as a late inning defensive replacement and pinch runner who would have fresh legs to be dangerous on the basepaths.
Eddie Middlebrook is the co-host of the podcast “Chin Music” and Junior Staff Writer for ShutDowninning. He can be reached at Eddie.Middlebrook@ShutDowninning.com or on Twitter @emiddlebrook