Kelly Gavin, Texas Rangers
One of the things I love about Ron Washington is he’s not a metrics geek robotically married to baseball’s mountain of inside-the-numbers statistics. He goes with his guts. His instinct.
Accordingly, he’s going to bat Prince Fielder third, behind clean-up hitter Adrian Beltre.
“It’s set in stone,” Wash told the media in Surprise, Ariz., on Wednesday.
Hey, the guy has taken the Rangers to two World Series and four consecutive seasons of 90-win seasons. Cocaine dalliance notwithstanding, his gut is pretty trustworthy at this point.
And I get what I’m sure the numbers nerds don’t about his lineup card: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Fielder has batted 4th in Milwaukee and Detroit, with impressive results. Conventional wisdom says leave him there, and set up a right-lefty-right order with Beltre-Fielder-Alex Rios. But Wash “feels” differently, and it’s based on his eyeballs.
He’s seen Beltre carry the Rangers from the clean-up spot, and struggle a bit from the 3-hole. Over the last couple of seasons the All-Star third baseman hit only .196 batting third. And, of course, he witnessed Beltre hit .315 with 30 homers cleaning up last year.
Fielder has hit behind three straight MVP winners in Miguel Cabrera and Ryan Braun. This year, batting third, he’ll get protection from Beltre, whom pitchers don’t won’t to face and can’t pitch around because of his bad-ball prowess.
We know Elvis Andrus and Shin Soo-Choo will set Texas’ table. And because of Washington’s gut, Prince Fielder will get the first chance to bring them home.
Shove that into your baseball computer.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently writes a sports/guy stuff blog at DFWSportatorium.com and lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.