Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers: Three Potential Top of the Order Combinations Without Maybin

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Apr 12, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler (3) and left fielder Justin Upton (8) congratulate each other after scoring in the sixth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 12, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler (3) and left fielder Justin Upton (8) congratulate each other after scoring in the sixth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Sep 5, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder Justin Upton (8), second baseman Ian Kinsler (3) and right fielder J.D. Martinez (28) celebrate his three-run home run in the eleventh inning against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports /

Scenario #2 Ian Kinsler Leads Off, Justin Upton Hits Second

Justin Upton didn’t do so well hitting second for the Detroit Tigers last season.

In a small, 18-game sample size, the outfielder batted just .211 with a .238 on-base percentage.

However, most of this happened early in the season before Upton broke out and started destroying baseballs in the second half.

During the course of a season, a team’s best hitters should be getting the most at-bats. This gives them more opportunities to be successful compared lesser hitters.

Justin Upton is one of Detroit’s best hitters.

Nick Castellanos and Victor Martinez may have warranted looks here, but Castellanos doesn’t take enough walks to warrant hitting for second. Martinez would be ideal given his knack for getting on base, but his base-running output (-11.4 BsR) takes him out of the running.

Upton could find success hitting directly in front of Miguel Cabrera as opposing pitchers could give him more pitches to hit.

The Toronto Blue Jays employed a similar tactic last season, as Josh Donaldson hit second ahead of Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, Troy Tulowitzki and Michael Saunders.

Obviously the Detroit Tigers and Toronto Blue Jays don’t have identical rosters, but the strategy didn’t stop the Jays from finishing in the top 10 in the league in runs scored, on-base percentage and OPS.

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