Someone named Anthony Andro has a piece in the S-T today about how great the Rangers outfield is, and how they are "finding production from all five of their regulars in the outfield."
One has to wonder how such a statement could get past the S-T's fact checkers.
David Dellucci has been great this season, and Laynce Nix has been very good in the week and a half he's been in the majors. But Kevin Mench has been okay, nothing special. Richard Hidalgo has been one of the worst players in the majors this year, and is currently sporting a .164 EQA. And Gary Matthews Jr. has been almost as bad, with a .177 EQA.
While BP has Mench, Nix and Dellucci combining to be 10.2 runs above average so far this season, offensively, they also have Matthews and Hidalgo a combined 15 runs below average, making the outfield as a whole a net negative.
Despite being in one of the best hitter's parks in baseball, Ranger centerfielders are currently 22nd in the majors OPS, and Ranger rightfielders are 27th in OPS. Only Ranger leftfielders -- currently 3rd in the majors in OPS -- are pulling their weight.
What is particularly sad is the stats Andro offers for Hidalgo and Matthews to show how productive they have been:
Richard Hidalgo Two home runs and nine RBI
Gary Matthews Jr. Batting .265 as a lefty
Mench should be fine, and Nix may be finally becoming the offensive force that so many folks think he can be. But Dellucci is a platoon outfielder whose career suggests that his April is as much of an aberration as Jacque Jones' April, while Hidalgo has been a bust and Matthews has been poor even for a fourth outfielder.
Andro suggests that the Rangers have a nice problem, in that they only have four slots (the three outfield positions and DH) for these five wonderful players.
But the reality is that, even if Dellucci continues to hit well, the Rangers still need a righty DH partner for him, and if Hidalgo doesn't get it in gear pretty quick, there's a glaring hole in right field, as well.
The Rangers' right field and DH positions are still problems, just as they were last season. And unless Hidalgo starts hitting, or they make a move, those spots are going to continue to cripple the offense.