ZiPS: Fourth Outfielder

ESPN's Dan Szymborski is a computer and stat guru, and we love getting a look at his projections. Here are his numbers for the 2014 Texas Rangers.

Position: Fourth outfielder/bench bat

Player: Michael Choice

Last year: .278 batting average, .316 on-base percentage, .333 slugging percentage, 19 plate appearances (with Oakland A's)

2014 projections: .259/.326/.394, 16 home runs, 70 RBIs, 631 plate appearances

Going out on a limb, it seems Choice's projections here are most likely including minor-league at-bats, because it's hard to imagine him getting that many plate appearances at the big-league level. But you know what? Since these projections have come out, Choice has had himself a whale of a spring and has most likely played himself into an Opening Day roster spot with the big club.

The return from Oakland in the Craig Gentry trade was thought to have more upside than Gentry, and he's been showing that thus far during the spring. With Leonys Martin struggling and Mitch Moreland a bit gimpy, Choice could be seeing a good share of at-bats sooner rather than later after a tremendous spring. This spring, Choice is hitting .348 with two homers and seven RBIs with three doubles and a triple in 46 at-bats. He's scored nine runs and has been an aggressive base-runner in the first-to-third situations that Ron Washington pays such close attention to.

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It's unlikely Choice's spring has won him any kind of starting job, but it's almost certainly secured him more opportunities once the regular season begins.

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