Detroit Tigers’ Speed and Stealth


Oct 5, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Stuffed tiger on a grounds crew cart before game three of the 2014 ALDS baseball playoff game between the Detroit Tigers and the Baltimore Orioles at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Tigers (panthera tigris) are known to be both stealthy and endowed with great speed. I think we will likely see the Detroit variety mimic their Asian namesake this year.

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The most recent additions to an evolving Detroit Tigers’ outfield will provide fans with some exciting base-running. Anthony Gose can fly. Gose twice exceeded 70 stolen bases as a minor leaguer. He seems to like to run and is an irritating distraction when he is standing at first base. He is a big “IF” with his bat but “IF” he can secure the role as leadoff hitter he will empower a lineup behind him that will be extremely difficult for opposing pitchers to handle.

Yoenis Cespedes has been clocked with sub 13 second 60 yard dashes. And I don’t think he loses a step when he rounds that bag at first and turns on the after-burners digging for 2nd. It is a fact he has not shown much of an appetite for stolen bases the last two seasons. It would not be surprising to see him turned loose again.

Rajai Davis may not see himself with regular duty but he still takes great pride in his gift. Rajai was hobbled by a groin problem at the tail end of the season. He has been working on strength and flexibility this winter in hopes of preventing future injury. He recently commented that, “It was a tough injury, but I’m thankful I was able to learn a lot through this process and learn how to strengthen the areas I need to strengthen and to help prevent it from ever happening again.” Rajai is 34 years old and knows where his bread is buttered. I would not be surprised if he surpasses his age in stolen bases this season.

“It was a tough injury, but I’m thankful I was able to learn a lot………and to help prevent it from ever happening again.”

Kind of brings us around to Ian Kinsler. Kinsler is a member of the exclusive “30/30 Club”. It is highly doubtful he will achieve that landmark again, nor even the stolen base component, but he has expressed interest in running more. He is generally a very skillful base-runner. He may have been a bit too selective last year with his stolen base attempts but he is certainly capable of 20 or more.

Jose Iglesias has never really been known as much of a base-stealing threat but might have been one of the quickest right-handed batters out of the box in the Majors before his troubling injury. Management would be well-advised to apply a great deal of prudence when he reaches base safely.

Andrew Romine knows what he is doing on the bases. He can help out from the bench in that regard.

Speed, stealth and cunning. Those are essential ingredients for the survival of the species.

Next: So long Dave Bergman, Moncada in Lakeland and more