Detroit Tigers: Projecting 2017 Opening Day Lineup
Center Field: Mikie Mahtook
2016 Stat of Note: .287 BABIP
Mikie Mahtook’s 2016 wasn’t his best, and some of his numbers were likely impacted by a low BABIP.
Still, there’s no denying the potential the former Ray flashed in 2015 with the American League East ball club.
In 41 games with the Rays, Mahtook hit .295 with a .351 on-base percentage, a .619 slugging percentage and a .970 OPS.
He also added 22 runs scored, 19 RBI, nine home runs, five doubles, four stolen bases and a triple in 41 games.
If Mahtook can produce even somewhere close to those, he’ll have a role with the 2017 Detroit Tigers.
Mahtook should get the call over Tyler Collins and JaCoby Jones due to his all-around game.
Collins would bring some excellent pop to the position, while Jones’ upside makes him a key part of Detroit’s future.
However, Collins’ defensive work in center field left much to be desired from a statistical standpoint.
The outfielder turned in a DRS of -4, a -1.8 UZR and a -11.4 UZR/150.
By comparison, Mahtook logged a DRS of 2, a 1.3 UZR and a 10.5 UZR/150 last season in center field for Tampa Bay.
Elsewhere, Jones may need more time to develop before he’s ready to start in the Majors.
Mahtook on the other hand, has spent parts of the last two seasons as part of Tampa Bay’s outfield mix.