Will Engel Beltre play for the Rangers? Will Engel Beltre make a spectacular play? Will Engel Beltre make a tremendous blunder? Yes, probably...to all of those questions. Will Engel Beltre be boring. Nnnnnope. Engel is out of options after this season due to the fact that he began his minor league career shortly after his 8th birthday and welp, he's here now. The 23 year-old must be on the Rangers 2014 Opening Day roster or be cut or waived or shot to the moon or something, so might as well see what he's got. I’ve written many times that I’ve probably seen more "Engel Beltre games" than any other player. Here, from last November: http://www.lonestarball.com/2012/11/12/3631216/past-present-future-engel-beltre Dude played everyday in Frisco for 2 years and one thing has never changed; he’s the best defensive outfielder in the entire Rangers system. Tremendous speed, a plus plus arm, and a natural, uncanny knack for meeting the ball at random outfield spots marked with an "X" only he can see. And when he throws, I light up. It's not just that his arm is incredibly strong, it is, it's that he's fearless about using it and has a lightning quick release. He hasn’t been in the big leagues yet because of his hit tool, and his approach, and his brain farts, and frankly, his left-handedness. He’ll be a mainstay in the big leagues if he’s traded, he hits consistently, he makes the team in Spring Training, a current outfielder is hurt long-term, or Leonys Martin spontaneously combusts. Truthfully, I used to think the former was more likely than all of the latter. It’s unfortunate to say, and I’m not really much of a predictor-type fella, but I know for a fact, teams are interested in him. Texas doesn’t have much leverage left because they have a centerfielder(or two) and everybody will just wait ‘til next Spring, but obviously, I really hope, if he's going to put it together, it's with that crisp "T" on his hat. Speaking with an NL scout last month, his affection for Engel was clear and he said "somebody just needs to change his mind a little bit about what type of player he is." We went on to discuss his thoughts on how Engel should focus on becoming the best centerfielder in the game while trying to hit .265+/.330/.330. I think someone has beaten’ this fella to the punch. Following last season’s power output of 17 triples and 13 homers, Engel, thus far, has a sum total of 1 triple and 4 homers this season (all in the month of June!), but already has as many doubles (17) as he hit in 2012(17). Most importantly, he has the same number of walks as he did in 2012(26), but in roughly half the games. He’s still close to a pace for a 3rd consecutive 100K year, but generally seems to be playing more "in control" than seasons past. Except last week, when he rounded first too much following a bunt single, was tagged out, argued with the ump, and was tossed. [sigh] Yeah, but, he can do this:
Engel beat out around 120+ other minor league centerfielders in 2012 to win the Rawlings Gold Glove award. Given his talent and his circumstances, it’s not inconceivable; someday he’s beating out 29+ major league centerfielders to win another. I have no idea how much Wash intends to use Engel in this stint, but I know he won't be boring. Engel's like a faux movie trailer, so buckle up Rangers fans. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll cheer your hero. But it won't be boring.