Feb 28, 2015; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila (13) poses during Photo day at Joker Merchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
#3: Will the Avila/McCann split be beneficial?
Many fans clamored for McCann to come up in July and August of last year because the Tigers’ catchers were simply dreadful at the plate (Alex Avila hit .218 while Holaday hit .231).
While the Tigers were willing to commit to McCann, they were not as quick to acknowledge that it will be a co-catcher situation based off who is the opposing starting pitcher just yet. Brad Ausmus made it clear, at least for now, that Avila is the top catcher.
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Nonetheless, because of Detroit’s comfort with McCann over Holaday, coupled with Avila’s injury history behind the plate, expect fewer games and plate appearances for Alex. This could benefit him and the team because the less wear and tear behind the plate could mean better success at the plate.
This is more than likely Avila’s last season in Detroit and he will be providing some on-the-job training for McCann. The Tigers don’t expect him to hit like he did in 2011, but they hope he doesn’t hit like he did in 2014. They’d settle for .250 with 12-15 homers and hope for something similar from McCann.
If they get at least that, the catcher spot in the lineup will be much more productive this year.
Though it was just one game, Avila looked great on Monday, notching two hits and hitting a two-run homer to left field, the first time he’s gone opposite field since the 2013 season.