A Varied Offensive Attack
As it stands, Detroit currently sits third in Major League Baseball in batting average. As a team, the Tigers are hitting an impressive .273. What’s more, Brad Ausmus’ club is seventh in the league in runs per game.
These numbers have come thanks to a well-balanced offense. Ian Kinsler serves as the team’s catalyst at the top of the order. Kinsler paces the team in hits (23), runs scored (13) and doubles (three). He’s also second on the team with four home runs and 12 RBI.
In addition to the hot-hitting second baseman, Jose Iglesias, J.D. Martinez, Nick Castellanos and Jarrod Saltalamacchia are all off to torrid starts. All but Salty are hitting over .320. Not to be outdone, the backstop has a team-leading five home runs and 14 RBI.
The most encouraging thing about the quartet’s strong start is that it could be sustainable on all accounts. It wouldn’t shock anyone to see Iglesias and Martinez maintain batting averages that sit north of .300.
Additionally, Castellanos seems to be taking significant steps forward in the batter’s box. He probably isn’t going to hit .347 all season, but somewhere in the .280 to .300 neighborhood isn’t out of the question—especially if he can start demolishing off-speed pitches the way he does first-pitch fastballs.
Saltalamacchia has never hit above .280 in a season before in his career. However, he did hit .273 with Boston when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2013.
The way Salty is hitting, it would seem odd to suddenly cut off all his playing time in favor of a healthy McCann. A platoon would probably be the best case scenario. It would allow Salty to only bat against right-handed pitching—his .253 career average against righties is .42 points higher than his lifetime average against lefties—while McCann would see action against predominantly left-handed pitching. The 25-year-old crushes lefties to the tune of .297.
This scenario would give Salty a better chance at maintaining his high batting average.