Detroit Tigers Need to Experiment With Batting Lineup
By Steve Mitzel
Is it time for the Detroit Tigers to change up the lineup?
The offense was sizzling the first week of the season and EVERYONE was hitting, even Alex Avila. We knew that it wasn’t sustainable. Through the first twenty games here are some great facts about the Tigers’ offense:
- 2nd in the Majors with a .290 batting average
- 1st in On Base Percentage with .361
- 3rd in OPS
- Top 10 in RBI with 87
- Top 10 in runs with 95
- 3rd in the Majors with 75 walks
- 3rd in stolen bases with 22
- 1st in hit into grounded double plays at 24
The Tigers clearly have a powerhouse of a line up and are starting to use the speed of their base runners. Jose Iglesias, Miguel Cabrera, Rajai Davis, Anthony Gose, Yoenis Cespedes and Ian Kinsler are all hitting over .300. Miggy leads the league in OBP; Cespedes has 4 home runs and 16 RBI’s, Miggy has 3 home runs and 13 RBI’s and J.D. Martinez has 5 home runs and 14 RBI’s.
What’s missing from the above is a big name that produced last year – Victor Martinez. Victor is clearly struggling and recovering from his knee injury. He’s hitting .250, hasn’t hit a home run and is striking out more frequently.
What’s also missing is not a surprise – the bats of Nick Castellanos and Alex Avila, who are hitting. 227 and .175, respectively. James McCann who is platooning for Avila is also hitting only .185.
It’s time Brad Ausmus mixed up the line up a bit and helped Victor Martinez and challenged some of his veterans to take different line up roles to create an even more effective offense.
Here’s some possible lineup changes to keep this offense fresh:
- Miggy bats clean up – swap Victor Martinez and Cabrera. It seems as though now pitchers can pitch around Victor because J.D. Martinez isn’t as big of a consistent average or power hitter. They would have to face Victor and get him out, giving him better pitches or else face Miggy with a potential man or two on base with the sticks of Kinsler and Davis/Gose in the front of the order
- Cespedes bats clean up – Let’s give Yoenis a chance to produce even more. Move him up, slide Victor to sixth.
- J.D. Martinez bats clean up – J.D. has shown some consistent power. If he hits clean up, move Cespedes to 5th in the lineup and Victor down to sixth.
- Iglesias leads off – Let Jose lead off for a bit and mix it up and move Davis/Gose down to the 8 or 9 spot to give some depth to the bottom of the lineup.
- Andrew Romine plays for Castellanos until Nick gets out of his slump
By no means is the Tiger line up broken, but it can use some experimentation to help some of the players out that are stuck and make them more productive. A healthy Victor Martinez makes a world of a difference in this line up. Until he is healthy, Ausmus needs to figure out how to use his assets to their best ability. Getting Castellanos and Avila to contribute is also something that is absolutely necessary or the Tigers will only be as strong as their weakest link.
Next: Gibby to meet challenge, Verlander throws, Avila's future