Sep 19, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Detroit Tigers base runner James McCann (34) rounds third and scores against the Kansas City Royals during the fourth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
- J.D. Mart
My 1-2 is going to be a little unconventional I know, but Ian Kinsler always has a knack of starting the season out very hot and then cooling tremendously toward the end. At least until July you likely (judging from his career history) can count on Kinsler to have an average over .300 with an OPS in the neighborhood of .800. As he cools you can tinker with the lineup and send him below Cespedes into seventh, shift everything down and allow Gose or Davis to leadoff.
My concern with Gose leading off is his career .633 OPS and he doesn’t walk much (25 in 274 PA last year). Davis has similar statistics though it can be argued that he exceeded expectations through much of 2014.
Not a lot will agree with Casty in the two-hole, but I believe he will have a breakout year in 2015. After a year of basically on the job training adjusting to a full-time role in the majors and relearning a position he was away from for a couple years, he will be able to find a bit of a comfort level both at the plate and on the diamond. Putting him in front of Miggy will let him see more pitches than he saw a year ago hitting in the final three or four slots.
Cabrera had a down year in 2014 because of injuries but the men who hit behind him, the Super Martinez Bros., each had career years. You simply cannot mess with that success, even with Cespedes in the lineup. Six might be low for Cespedes but should he get on base, he might be able to use his speed to help out the light hitting lineup that will follow. He didn’t steal many bases in Oakland or Boston last year, but the Tigers remain committed to speed and Cespedes should be able to distract pitchers enough to throw mistakes to the bottom third of the lineup.
McCann should hit better than Avila or Holaday from a year ago, however I still don’t feel the Tigers will hand him the job. I believe it will be a strict platoon based on who is pitching (same thing with Gose and Davis). As for Iglesias, there is no way he duplicates the combined .300 season he had with Boston and Detroit in 2013. He’s here for one reason: his dynamic defense.