July 14, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Victor Martinez (41) third baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) shortstop Jhonny Peralta (27) and second baseman Hernan Perez (26) look towards the Texas Rangers dugout during a pitching change in the ninth inning at Comerica Park. Detroit won 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Rarely (never) do teams make it through the 162 game grind without needing to dip into the minor leagues to steal a player for at least a few days here or there, so it’s important to have players stashed away who could do the job in the big leagues. Team depth isn’t just about the three-to-five guys sitting on the bench on any given day, it’s about the relative quality of replacement players available in the upper minors.
We’re not talking about secret All-Stars here or even productive everyday big leaguers (or else why aren’t they on your team already?), we’re mostly talking about players who simply wouldn’t be a huge negative in the major leagues. There’s no one in the system to fully replace any starters should a devastating injury occur, but the hope is that a few guys exist who could at least not ruin things for the rest of the team.
What follows is a look at to whom the Tigers might turn (internally, at least) if they had to battle the injury bug at each position (with their 2013 level(s) with the Tigers in parenthesis). The relative depth chart could all change quickly through the spring as players show off their development (or lack thereof).