A Look At The Detroit Tigers’ Immediate Minor League Depth

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Sep 6, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Detroit Tigers players Ramon Santiago (39), Don Kelly (32) and Nick Castellanos (30) celebrate after beating the Kansas City Royals 16-2 at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Third Base

Depth Level: Poor

40-man option: Francisco Martinez (A+)

The Tigers have three players on the 40-man roster who started more than two games at third base at any level: Miguel Cabrera, Jose Iglesias and Francisco Martinez. Both Cabrera and Iglesias will be starting at other positions, and Martinez’s time with the Tigers in 2013 was spent in A-ball.

Detroit’s pecking order at third might look something like this at the moment:

  • Guy who spent the last 18 months trying to play the outfield and has never played third base above AA
  • Guy who is Don Kelly
  • Guy has played 20 career big league games at the position
  • Guy who was just DFA
  • Guy who is your top minor league prospect at second base
  • Guy who is your top minor league prospect at shortstop
  • Guy who is on the 40-man as an actual third baseman

This is all to say that, despite Martinez being the only “real” third baseman on the 40-man in the minors, he’s probably not at all likely to actually see big league time as an option at the position, no matter how dire the situation.

This is also to say that, should Nick Castellanos not work out, the Tigers are royally screwed at third. I mean, no matter how appealing a Don Kelly-Steve Lombardozzi platoon sounds, no one really wants to have to see that (though we probably would).

Beyond guys that will be starting the year in the big leagues, the Tigers’ reserve options look like: re-add Danny Worth to the 40-man, play Hernan Perez at third, or play Eugenio Suarez at third. Kelly-Lombardozzi probably isn’t a below replacement level platoon, but I like none of these options very much (particularly since ‘Plan A’ is also unproven).