Detroit Tigers: Assessing Team’s Center Field Options
After appearing in 18 games in 2014, Tyler Collins has seen somewhat consistent work as a fourth outfielder for the Tigers, appearing in 116 games since the beginning of the 2015 campaign.
Collins saw action in 56 contests this past season, batting .235 with a .305 on-base percentage. He also added 15 RBI, 14 runs scored, four home runs, three triples, two doubles and a stolen base in 136 at-bats.
The outfielder also turned in a 0.1 WAR, a 84 wRC+ and a .147 ISO.
Why He’ll Start in Center Field for the Detroit Tigers
Despite posting overall numbers that don’t exactly jump off the page, Collins has flashed potential before, largely in stints at the end of the past two seasons. From September 1st, 2015 through the end of the 2015 campaign, the outfielder hit .293 with a .376 on-base percentage.
Additionally, over the 2016 season’s final 16 contests, the former sixth-round pick batted .303 with a .400 on-base percentage.
Obviously if Collins can bat .300 over an entire season, the Tigers will benefit. However, if the outfielder can hit anywhere in the .260 or .270 neighborhood, he stands a good chance to see extended playing time.
There’s also the fact that the 26-year-old bats left-handed, which could come in handy considering Detroit’s lineup is comprised mostly of right-handed batters.
Why He Won’t Start in Center Field for the Detroit Tigers
A corner outfielder by trade, Collins saw his first extended action in center field last season.
While his numbers weren’t the best (-4 DRS, -11.4 UZR/150) they don’t seem as poor when you consider that before the year Collins had only played 33 games at the position in his professional career.
Still, if those numbers don’t improve, Detroit won’t want to carry a poor-fielding center fielder throughout the course of next season.