I continue my organizational look at the Tigers with the 2nd base position. This position has clearly been a sore spot for the organization for quite some time. So much so, that it even tried Brandon Inge in a last ditch attempt to salvage his Tigers career early in 2012. It’s been a comedy of errors at the plate and in the field for Tigers second sackers ever since the departure of Placido Polanco. Hence, the need for the Tigers to trade for Omar Infante at the deadline last year.
Omar Infante will once again be manning the second base position for the Tigers in 2013. They should be in good hands with Omar there. He has been an above average player at the position in the past, and should provide the Tigers with much the same in 2013. Offensively, Omar is easily the best thing the Tigers have had at the spot since Polanco, and defensively he should be an upgrade over what we have had in the past despite his late season infatuation with making errors.
Which made me wonder…does Jim Leyland scare the crap out of Infante, or was he having Neifi Perez flashbacks and wondering when he was going to replace him? Whatever the reason, I expect Infante to be much better with the glove.
If injury should occur to Infante, it isn’t really the farm system where Detroit will have to look. It might have replacements on the major league roster. Danny Worth could do the job defensively. Ramon Santiago can hold it down for a couple of weeks if need be. And the Tigers acquired Jeff Kobernus in the rule 5 draft. If he sticks, maybe he gets some second base time. None of those are as ideal as Infante playing every day of course.
That begs the question that MCB writer Matt Snyder has already asked. Should the Tigers extend Omar Infante past 2013? I think it’s safe to say that Matt was a fan of it, and to help arm you with information, we can take a look at some of the 2nd baseman in the organization as well.
Perez is widely considered the Tigers closest to major league ready 2nd base prospect. He has some issues with patience at the plate, though he does have some strength to drive the ball in the gaps. The plus is that Perez can play a little bit of SS as well, and looks to be potentially a better than average defender at second. I wouldn’t count on him hitting a ton though, and he is going to have to start showing better with a bat in his hand to be considered a starter. At best, if he had a breakout season in AA in 2013, he might get a spring look in 2014.
One of what I thought to be wasted draft picks in 2011, you can tell already I am not going to go crazy with support for Loy. Loy is all glove, and I think might make Adam Everett look like a good hitter.
At one point I had a little hope for Cortez, but not so much know. Seemed to have hit a wall in short season Connecticut.
Here is the shining star of the Tigers minor league second basemen. Castro shows an advanced ability to hit for his young age, and he isn’t tiny. There could be some pop that grows along the way here. Defensively, he has some work to do, but his athleticism is solid, and he runs pretty well too. The problem of course is that Castro is just 19 in 2013 and quite a ways away. We don’t really know what we are going to get.
Betancourt has a real nice bat, but hasn’t even come stateside yet. He has played SS but there is already word that down the road he is probably more of a second baseman. If that is the case, we certainly could see him following in Castro’s footsteps, or be right on his heels.
In the here and now, it is just fine. The Tigers have plenty of big league options, and don’t really need to use them if Infante stays healthy. They will have some definite decisions to make about 2014 however. Do they extend Infante? Do they wait it out and see how Perez is doing? Do they stash Kobernus and use him in 2014? Does Danny Worth and his glove get the job?
The likelihood here is that whoever is playing second base is probably just a place holder until Castro develops, or the Tigers trade or sign someone. Counting on a 19 year old to develop probably isn’t the best solution, so finding someone in the trade/free agent market is the most probable outcome for the future of the position.