Detroit Tigers: Breaking Down Mikie Mahtook’s Notable Splits
Detroit Tigers fans will see a new starting center fielder next season. Newly-acquired Mikie Mahtook is one of the names in the mix for the job. Here’s a look at some of his career splits.
Detroit Tigers outfielder Mikie Mahtook has a chance to make a significant impact with the team.
A former first-round pick, the 27-year-old is controllable through 2021 (according to Spotrac) and has flashed considerable potential at the Major League level.
What’s more, the team acquired him for relatively little. Detroit announced last Wednesday that they acquired the former Ray for “a PTBNL or cash considerations.”
Mahtook will have to beat out Tyler Collins and former college teammate JaCoby Jones for the job, but if he does, he’ll carry some favorable splits into next season.
For his career, the 27-year-old is a .276 hitter against left-handed pitching. He owns just a .192 number versus right-handed hurlers.
However, the LSU product did bat .297 versus righties in 2015, when logged a 167 wRC+ and a 1.8 WAR in just 41 games.
In terms of batting places in the order, Mahtook is most successful hitting second and sixth. When batting behind the leadoff hitter, the center fielder owns a .325 batting average and a .981 OPS.
Elsewhere, his batting average and OPS numbers sit at .318 and 1.011 respectively when the players bats sixth.
Considering the Detroit Tigers lineup features the likes of Nick Castellanos, Justin Upton and Victor Martinez hitting behind Miguel Cabrera and J.D. Martinez, it’s very unlikely that Mahtook bats sixth on a consistent basis.
Top of the Order Potential
However, there is a very real possibility that the player could hit second on at least a somewhat consistent basis.
Out of the aforementioned sluggers, J.D. Martinez is the only real candidate to bat behind Ian Kinsler. However, the outfielder may be best suited for the cleanup spot in the order.
That leaves James McCann and Jose Iglesias as the only other candidates. Iglesias could be a fit given his tendency to grind out at-bats. However, Mahtook stands out as the best option given his ability to bring speed and pop.
Considering Mikie Mahtook has only played in 106 games and logged 290 at-bats, the sample sizes are going to be extremely small in terms of his numbers versus specific pitchers.
Still, there are plenty of positives to be found against top pitching.
The outfielder is 3-for-6 with a home run versus Chris Sale. Mahtook is also 3-for-5 with a double and a home run against fellow Boston starter Drew Pomeranz.
Additionally, the ex-Tampa Bay player is also a .400 hitter with a pair of RBI and a walk in his career versus Dallas Keuchel.
Mahtook has also taken Jose Quintana deep. He’s 4-for-8 with a pair of doubles against Eduardo Rodriguez.
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Similar to new teammate Victor Martinez, the newest Tiger has done extremely well against the Chicago White Sox.
Mahtook has played the South Side club seven times, but has tallied nine hits, five runs scored, three RBI, two home runs and two doubles.
Additionally, the player owns promising career numbers against some of Detroit’s American League rivals. These include the Houston Astros (.444 lifetime hitter), Baltimore Orioles (.429) and Minnesota Twins (.350 career on-base percentage).
A third of Mahtook’s 12 career long balls have come against the Toronto Blue Jays. The batter owns a lifetime 1.105 OPS against the American League East club.
Comerica Park Numbers
In what is perhaps the most important split of all, Mahtook has found success in limited playing time in Comerica Park.
In just 12 plate appearances spread over the span of four games in Detroit, the 27-year-old has collected five runs scored, four hits, two RBI, a home run, a triple and a double.
That spits out to a .364 batting average, a .417 on-base percentage and a .909 slugging percentage.
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Those numbers clearly aren’t sustainable, but it is nonetheless encouraging that Mahtook has been successful playing at the Detroit Tigers home stadium.