Finally, I have decided to wrap up the Tigers positional analysis with the left field position. Since it’s been a while, I just wanted to remind you all that I am just taking a look at the current health of the position, as well as the future health of the position. The Tigers roster has some question marks coming up, but mainly those questions lie in two spots in shortstop and 2nd base, and that’s only beyond 2013. But what about the last spot? Left field.
Oct 28, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers outfielder Andy Dirks fields a ball hit for a single by San Francisco Giants outfielder Gregor Blanco (not pictured) in the 7th inning during game four of the 2012 World Series at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Well, left field happens to be a position that appears to be adequate now, and will likely be adequate in the future. It’s hard to be decisive about that because of the very nature of the position. Left field is usually reserved for a person that has a good bat, but lacks the skills to play somewhere more important on the diamond.
Currently, the Tigers look to have Andy Dirks starting at the position. However, his hold on the left field spot is tenuous at best, since the Tigers have recently stated that he is going to have to compete with Brennan Boesch for the job. Personally, I am okay with that to an extent. I believe Dirks is the superior player, and will likely win the job. However, it is a little unsettling that a hot spring training could vault Boesch into the full time. Boesch has shown stretches of greatness, but that is usually followed by long periods of slumping and consistently poor defense. It’s not just Boesch, however, that the Tigers have hinted has a chance in left field.
There has also been plenty of overtures made to pair Dirks with a right handed platoon partner, despite showing strong splits against lefties, albeit in a small sample. Enter, Jeff Kobernus, the Tigers Rule 5 pick into the discussion. Kobernus, who is a natural second baseman, could potentially get some looks out in left field as well. Bottom line…it appears the Tigers aren’t the most comfortable with Andy Dirks as their full time left fielder.
We can discuss how that sits with you all below if you would like. Me? I think the Tigers are crazy and wouldn’t let spring training decide Andy Dirks’ fate. Nothing wrong with a little competition I guess to motivate someone I guess.
Anyway. Given the transient nature of those who occupy left field, it’s hard to say with any certainty who is going to be manning the position in the future. However, there are some options in the works. First would be Tigers top prospect Nick Castellanos. Castellanos has the kind of bat that is appropriate for the position. He also has the kind of defensive deficiencies that go with being put out in left field as well.
You know, let’s hide the kid with the brick glove!
The intersting dynamic concerning Castellanos’ future position is largely tied to Prince Fielder and what the Tigers decide to do with him in two years. Do the Tigers DH the Prince when Victor Martinez moves on? If they do, there is going to be a position shuffle and Castellanos likely ends up playing third base, his natural position. If not, Castellanos likely stays in left field, where he is going to be training this season, and the Tigers hopefully won’t have to worry about the position for a long time starting in 2014.
The Tigers also have a young man in Tyler Collins that can hit a little bit as well. Collins doesn’t have the prototypical left field power bat, but he does have some athleticism, should hit for average, and should pop the occasional homer with a bunch of doubles. Hmmm…sounds very Andy Dirks-like to me. Regardless, he is a potential option.
Steven Moya is another option. Moya made huge leaps in his prospect status last season before succumbing to Tommy John surgery midway through the year. He is a right fielder right now, but because of his stature as a humungous human being, there is a good chance he slows down a bit athletically. He certainly has the type of power that will work with the position.
I’m not really too concerned about this position in the short term or the long term. The Tigers should have plenty of viable options, even if it turns out to be Andy Dirks, he is a pretty productive player for the price, and the Tigers sure could use some of those on the roster right now.