The Detroit Tigers Should Bat Alex Avila Second Against RHP

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The Detroit Tigers should bat Alex Avila second in their batting order when they face right handed pitching. Yes, the same Alex Avila that some believe is on the team only because of his father should bat second for the Detroit Tigers against right handed pitching.

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When Brad Ausmus fills out his lineup card on a daily basis, he has a pretty easy time filling in most of it. The middle of the lineup will consist of Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, J.D. Martinez, Yoenis Cespedes, and Nick Castellanos. Ian Kinsler will most likely bat leadoff against right handed pitching unless the Tiger believe newly acquired Anthony Gose can produce since he will get the reps against right handed pitching. Jose Iglesias has the makings for a number 2 hitter, but coming off of a year where he could not play due to injuries, the Tigers should be weary sticking him there to start the season.

Now you shouldn’t pick the second batter by process of elimination, so let’s look at the numbers. When building an optimal lineup, some believe the second batter in the order should be a guys who can handle the bat and others believe the second batter should one of the three best hitters in the order, while others believe the second hitter should be the top OBP player on the team outside of the leadoff hitter with the 3rd and 4th batters the best overall hitters on the team.

Using the last mindset, let’s examine the numbers against right handed pitching.

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Here is the list of players from A-F: Anthony Gose, Rajai Davis, Jose Iglesias (his numbers were from 2013), Ian Kinsler, Alex Avila, and Nick Castellanos.

Alex Avila sees the ball very well against right handed pitching and is on base more frequently than the rest of the candidates to bat second in the Tigers lineup. Jose Iglesias’s BABIP in 2013 was .351 against right handed pitching. I love Iglesias as a player and believe he can become a tremendous number 2 hitter, maybe even in 2015, but I feel his numbers, especially his BABIP, will decline in 2015.

Avila does strikeout more than one would like, especially looking. He can be an incredibly agonizing player from time to time and his batting average has not been good since 2011. The one thing Avila does do is take walks better than most, if not everyone, on the Tigers’ roster. His OBP has never been under .316 for a full season and that number only increase while facing right handed pitching.

Alex Avila should not play against left handed pitching, James McCann should get those reps in 2015. With Rajai Davis and Anthony Gose platooning against left and right handed pitching, the best candidate to hit second for the Tigers against right handed pitching in 2015 is Alex Avila.

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