There has been a fair amount of discussion in the comments on yesterday morning's post about Mark DeRosa, and my opinions of him. In the interest of clarification, I thought I'd go ahead and try to explain my position on him.
I think Mark DeRosa is fine as a utilityman. I don't think he's anything more than a utilityman, however.
DeRosa is hitting great right now, but his walk rate isn't real good, and his ISO isn't great...his success this season is largely batting average driven thusfar. Given his age and his track record, I see little reason to believe DeRosa will keep hitting like he has so far this season. I tend to believe that we will see a progression like David Dellucci's last season, where his hot start is followed up by a second half slide that, nonetheless, leaves DeRosa with career-best numbers.
My concern about Buck's recent declaration that that DeRosa is a starter, on par with Young, Teixeira, and Blalock, is that it essentially pushes Brad Wilkerson, Kevin Mench, and Jason Botts into part-time roles. Over the course of the remainder of the season, I would expect Mench, Wilkerson and Botts to be better hitters than DeRosa, and think that the Rangers will end up being best served with Botts as the DH, Mench and Wilkerson in the outfield corners, and DeRosa in a utility role. If Buck is just riding DeRosa while he's hot, then this shouldn't be that big of a deal...but if we see DeRosa go cold for a month, but still be treated as a regular because, as Buck would say, "He's earned it" with his performance earlier in the year, then that's a problem.
And I guess I'm also baffled about how Mench and Wilkerson, with their track records, end up getting shunted aside into part-time roles for DeRosa during his hot streak, while Gerald Laird's great first half and Rod Barajas's expected mediocrity gets Laird, maybe, one start per series instead of one start per week, while we continue to be assured that Barajas is the starter behind the plate. I'm not sure if it is deference given to a veteran, versus a younger player, or what, but it seems like the handling of the situations are inconsistent, to say the least.
Finally, it has also been questioned about why I'm not urging that GMJ be sat down when he cools down. Aside from being the better hitter over the course of their respective careers (GMJ has a .262 career EQA, vs. .253 for DeRosa), even if GMJ reverts to his historical level of performance, he's probably the best option the Rangers have in CF, although that could change if Freddy Guzman shows something.
However, if DeRosa reverts to his level of historical performance, the Rangers have better corner outfield and DH options, and DeRosa is better suited to a utility role.
Update [2006-6-24 16:7:50 by Adam J. Morris]: -- And while we are on the subject, Scott Lucas points out why he thinks DeRosa is due for a fall.