5 Detroit Tigers that MUST succeed in 2015

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Jun 30, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler (3) hits a single in the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

#3 Ian Kinsler

Through much of the first half of last season, Ian Kinsler might have been in contention for the team MVP. He was especially appreciated because whenever a trade happens, the players are often stacked against each other to see who “won the trade.” With Prince Fielder‘s early struggles, and eventual injury that cost him the season, it appeared the Tigers had gotten the better of the blockbuster deal of last offseason.

His always stellar defense was matched by a potent offense that kept his average north of .300 and earned him an All-Star nod. But his second-half was a disaster at the plate to the tune of a line of .239/.270/.357. But if you were familiar with Kinsler during his Texas days, fast starts and slow finishes were nothing new. In 2013 he had a high water mark of .342 on May 2, was still in the .300s in June but finished with a .277 average. Each of the two previous years also followed this pattern.

Kinsler seemed to be at the best of his game when hitting leadoff, but then Brad Ausmus installed Austin Jackson back at that spot and Kinsler struggled in the two-hole. When Jackson was traded, Kinsler inherited most of the leadoff responsibilities, but could not answer the bell as he had in the beginning of the season.

Kinsler’s glove will always be there and, despite his struggles at the plate, he was robbed of the Gold Glove award. The problem is the Tigers already have one glove-first player in the infield in Iglesias. Kinsler needs to be more two-dimensional from April through October, not just April through July.

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