Detroit Tigers Batting Order Options for 2014


Sep 25, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Detroit Tigers center fielder

Austin Jackson

(14) hits a triple in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers have a bevy of options for their batting order in 2014 and it is still to be seen how Brad Ausmus will manage this team and what kind of batting order or orders he will put out. He may manage like Joe Maddon and bat Miguel Cabrera 2nd for a game. The lineup was a hotly debated issue under Jim Leyland and with this roster, it will be a hotly debated topic under Brad Ausmus.

With the offseason acquisition of Ian Kinsler, should Austin Jackson be the leadoff batter in 2014? Using our lineup projection from November, Jackson is the leadoff batter followed by Kinsler and Hunter. Using the ZiPS projections, Kinsler is the better candidate to be the leadoff batter.

Many people believe that your best overall player should bat third, not fourth which would move Miguel Cabrera to the third spot in the order. All Cabrera has done in the 3 hole is in 2 MVP’s with two of the best seasons at the plate in history. This move paired with the Kinsler/Jackson possible shuffle leaves plenty of options open for the Tigers’ batting order in 2014. Here are a few of the options the Tigers could use, using the ZiPS projections. Listed below the lineup is the projected performance using Baseball Musing’s Lineup Analysis.

November Lineup Projection:

  1. Austin Jackson, CF (.262/.335/.412)
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B (.271/.344/.420)
  3. Torii Hunter, RF (.287/.325/.427)
  4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (.317/.404/.581)
  5. Victor Martinez, DH (.291/.341/.425)
  6. Alex Avila, C (.237/.340/.397)
  7. Nick Castellanos, 3B (.277/.320/.429)
  8. Andy Dirks, LF  (.266/.320/.405)
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS (.265/.311/.336)

Runs per game: 4.957

Top Projected Lineup from Baseball Musing 

  1. Ian Kinsler
  2. Miguel Cabrera
  3. Austin Jackson
  4. Torii Hunter
  5. Victor Martinez
  6. Nick Castellanos
  7. Andy Dirks
  8. Jose Iglesias
  9. Alex Avila

Runs per game: 4.997

Personal Favorite

  1. Ian Kinsler
  2. Torii Hunter
  3. Miguel Cabrera
  4. Victor Martinez
  5. Austin Jackson
  6. Alex Avila
  7. Nick Castellanos
  8. Andy Dirks
  9. Jose Iglesias

Runs per game: 4.902

The analytic method is not a fan of my lineup, but here is this reasoning. Ian Kinsler is projected to have the better OBP and is the better base runner. Jackson’s number of stolen bases have decreased every year since his rookie season and one of the main reasons the Tigers have shaken their roster up was to add speed and better base running. Miguel Cabrera has thrived in the 3 hole better than any player in baseball and he should stay there.  In his career, Hunter has hit at a .302/.341/.453 split in 270 games, a majority of which have come in the past two seasons. The final 4 spots in the order are basically a wash on the order, but the L/R/L/R is a good balance.