Note: This is part of a series analyzing the questions facing the Texas Rangers as spring training gets set to begin.
Today's question: Where does Michael Choice best fit to start career?
As the Rangers put together their roster for the 2014 season, they'll have to decide where Michael Choice best fits. The Rangers obtained the talented prospect, ranked No. 7 in the Rangers' top-10 minor leaguers by ESPN.com's Keith Law last week, in a trade with the Oakland A's for Craig Gentry.
When they made the deal, the Rangers had not yet found a left fielder. Now that they have Shin-Soo Choo, Choice becomes a candidate for a bench outfield job or a prospect they could elect to put in the minors so he gets some more seasoning.
Choice's only big league experience happened last September, when he played in parts of nine games with the Oakland A's, hitting .278 with one extra-base hit (in 19 plate appearances). He was at Triple-A Sacramento for most of the season, batting .302 with 14 homers and 89 RBIs with 115 strikeouts and 69 walks in 132 games (600 plate appearances).
The Rangers must weigh whether Choice would benefit more from everyday at-bats or as a bench guy gaining experience from being around the big-league coaches and players. As is usually the case in these situations, it's a bit of a numbers game. Engel Beltre is out of options, making him a favorite to get one of the additional outfield spots. And the club must decide how to utilize the other bench roles.
Choice, 24, has plenty of potential and the Rangers traded Gentry with the idea that Choice could help them long-term, not necessarily in 2014. But how he plays in spring training and what the club's needs are will determine whether he starts the season in the minors or on the big league roster.
Even if he does start 2014 at Triple-A Round Rock, which seems more likely at this point, he'd be ready to jump up and give the big club a boost if needed as he continues to sharpen his skills. The Rangers must use the spring to figure out where Choice fits in the overall picture.