Maybin’s return from the disabled list not only helps the top of Detroit’s batting order, but it also lengthens the lineup as a whole.
With the outfielder back in the fold, Erick Aybar moves down the order to the ninth spot in the lineup. There, he’ll act as a quasi-leadoff hitter of sorts, getting on base ahead of Kinsler and Maybin later in games.
Jose Iglesias played a similar role before he went on the disabled list, and despite the offensive shortcomings of Aybar and Iglesias, the duo provides needed offense at the position.
The former Angel checks in with a 56 wRC+ on the season, while Iglesias’s wRC+ sits at 67. Those aren’t exactly the numbers of world beaters, but they represent a significant upgrade over the likes of Mike Aviles (40 wRC+) and Dixon Machado (-14 wRC+).
With Maybin’s return, the team can now shift Tyler Collins to the bench, where his bat will help out a bench unit that has been far from perfect this season. Iglesias’ eventual return could also push Aybar into a similar role.
In a perfect world, the Tigers will be able to rely on some combination of Collins, Aybar, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Casey McGehee and Andrew Romine. That kind of depth and versatility off the bench will help win the team games down the stretch.