July 12, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta (27) at bat against the Texas Rangers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Jhonny Peralta Appears To Be Postseason Roster Frontrunner (for now)

The Detroit Tigers certainly don’t have the American League Central Division all wrapped up, but their 7.5 game lead (entering Wednesday) is nothing short of comfortable. They still have work to do in order to officially clinch the crown (and the accompanying ALDS qualification), but perhaps the most interesting question surrounding the team at the present juncture (to me, at least) is who will comprise the postseason roster.

I wrote yesterday that the team’s usage of top prospect Nick Castellanos doesn’t suggest that getting him ready for the playoffs is a top priority for the organization, but I thought it might be an interesting exercise to chronicle the useage of Detroit September-call-up type hitters. Because of the way the playoff schedule is structured with ‘extra’ days off, teams can get away with having only 11 pitchers meaning that one of these ‘non-regular’ position players can be included on the roster.

Here are the ‘extra’ players that would be eligible. Well, technically any hitter in the organization would be eligible to replace a player on the disabled list (such as Luis Marte), but let’s assume that the Tigers would call up any such player to the big leagues before simply including them on the postseason roster. Here’s a list of such players (basically the September call-up types plus the suspended Jhonny Peralta):

Hernan Perez: Used as a pinch runner on August 31; zero plate appearances.

Nick Castellanos: Pinch hit on September 1; two plate appearances.

Danny Worth: Used as a pinch runner on September 3, zero plate appearances.

Bryan Holaday: Hasn’t appeared.

Jhonny Peralta: Suspended

Leaving out the chance that Jim Leyland simply decides to keep an extra bullpen arm – an unlikely event after the Tigers made an extra effort to call up Perez on August 31 to set the 14 hitter, 11 pitcher ratio – the 25th spot on the postseason roster will almost assuredly come from this list of players. Every other bench player (Don Kelly, Ramon Santiago, Matt Tuiasosopo, and Brayan Pena) have started at least one game since the September 1 roster expansion date, but none of the call-up types have.

This may be because, hey, we’re only four days into September now, so give it all some time, but it may also indicate that the Tigers aren’t really planning on any of these guys in October. It may indicate that they’re just here to provide depth and that the organization doesn’t want them to take much playing time away from the guys who are preparing for the playoffs.

Of all the newbies I would give the slightest edge to Perez. He’s the guy with the most major league playing time this season, and he was the guy that was called up on August 31. Close behind him would be Castellanos who would be the only one of the four who could be expected to hit at an rate even close to league average, and what the team probably doesn’t need is another glove-only infielder. Worth and Holaday would appear to be long, long shots.

But, until the team starts giving real playing time (probably in the form of actual starts) to any of these players, I’m going to assume that Peralta – the only sure-fire big league hitter on the list – is the top candiate to be included on the roster.

Tags: Detroit Tigers Jhonny Peralta

  • louwhitaker

    How do we use Jhonny if he is on the roster? Give him back the starting SS job (“Thanks, Iggy, but you are back on the bench unless we have a late inning lead–hope we don’t see too many of those ground ball singles through the left side!”)? Use him as a RH pinch hitter, occasional third baseman to rest Miggy in the late innings of one-sided games? To me bringing him back will muddy the waters, leaving a lot of roles unclear. I wouldn’t do it.

    • http://tomaroonandgold.blogspot.com Matt Snyder

      Better to have roles unclear than bad players. Peralta could pinch hit for sure, but he could also be an emergency 3B option if Miggy isn’t healthy (he’s an upgrade over Kelly and Santiago, or shifting Iggy to 3B).

      I doubt he instantly becomes the SS starter, but that doesn’t mean they need to cut ties altogether.

      • louwhitaker

        If Miggy isn’t healthy, we have another roster spot, and a clearly defined role for Peralta. I’m fine with that scenario.

  • beelza

    If Iggy gets injured, who is the best replacement? For me it’s easy, Jhonny Peralta.

  • aedgeworth

    If Castellanos doesn’t beat out Tuiasosopo for the right-handed hitting LF spot, I would say the choice would be made between Peralta and Perez. With losing the DH in the National League parks, and the pitcher’s spot coming up, a need for a pinch-hitter might be considered more beneficial than the speed of Perez. If Castellanos plays LF, Tui is added to the mix. I would probably choose Peralta in that case. Tui is probably gone after this year anyway, but then, so is Peralta. I don’t see Worth or Holaday being in the mix. If Iggy gets hurt, Santiago will play SS, just like during the season.

    • chrisHannum

      You’re getting a little ahead of things: the Tigers have to get through the ALDS and ALCS before they have to worry about losing the DH and pinch-hitting for pitchers.

      • aedgeworth

        That is true. However, if they make it through both of those, I doubt they will make a change before the World Series. I’m not sure what would be involved in changing their roster then, but I am assuming their postseason roster would be set with that in mind.

  • MichMike

    I would prefer to lose the world series without cheaters than win it with them. Our SS of the future is producing as many runs as Peralta and saving one or two runs a game with his defense. Bye, bye Peralta.