Detroit Tigers and the Question about the Second Batter
It’s not just the Detroit Tigers center fielder position that has the fans scratching their heads. The other big question is about who will bat second in the lineup?
Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus fielded questions about this hole in the lineup.
His answers did not provide much in the way of actual answers.
"According to Evan Woodbery at MLive, when Ausmus was asked who would take the spot now that Cameron Maybin is gone, he said: “Everybody else.”"
That non-answer has left fans wondering.
In 2016, Ausmus tried a variety of different players at that spot as Maybin missed several games due to injuries. Most of them were not very successful in the two hole.
Will the Lineup Stay the Same?
It is safe to say that there are several positions in the lineup that are already set – since they’ve been that way for years. The odds are good that Ian Kinsler will bat first and Jose Iglesias will bat ninth. The middle will most likely include Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, and J.D. Martinez in the three through five holes.
So, this leaves Nick Castellanos, James McCann, Justin Upton, and center fielder for the two spot.
The two-hole should be a player with a consistent bat. If this hitter is going to be in front of Cabrera, it is likely that the player will cross home plate due to Miggy’s work. So, the two-hole hitter does not have to be a power hitter, just a hitter with a solid OPS.
How Will Ausmus Decide?
If Ausmus bases his decision on what he saw last year, then he should immediately remove McCann and Upton from the decision. The pair had too many strikeouts in 2016.
J.D. Martinez hit second a few times in 2016 and he was not good. Let’s just leave it at that.
This leaves Nick Castellanos. Maybe…
What About This Crazy Idea?
But, it also begs the question, why can’t Miggy bat second? Then, just shift everyone else up.
The Tigers are not known for nimble, speedy base running. But, they are known for having power hitters – with Mighty Miggy being the most powerful of them all. It is not unheard of for power batters to fill the second hole. In fact, one of the other best hitters on the planet, Mike Trout, has been the second batter. In fact, throughout the 2015 season, Trout usually batted second and Albert Pujols batted third.
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The best hitters should hit the most – it’s just common sense. While second is usually assigned to a speedier player, there is nothing written in stone about requiring speed in that spot. Moving Miggy to the two-hole might actually give him a few more at-bats during the season.
Castellanos or J.D. Martinez could bat third and Victor Martinez could stay in the cleanup spot. This would put a speedier player ahead of V-Mart, which might be a nice change of pace for J.D. Martinez.
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Upton did his best work in the sixth spot. This leaves seven and eight for McCann and the center fielder. And, since we already know that the center fielder (whoever it happens to be) will not a big bat, putting that player near the bottom makes sense. Get big hits early and get more wins.