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Detroit Tigers: Breaking Down Center Field Competition

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Aug 31, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers center fielder JaCoby Jones (40) runs the bases against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 31, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers center fielder JaCoby Jones (40) runs the bases against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Apr 14, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Detroit Tigers center fielder Tyler Collins (18) hits an RBI double against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the seventh inning in an inter-league game at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Offense

In terms of the aforementioned three categories, this may be the toughest in terms of finding the best fit.

The three that standout as having the most offensive upside are Tyler Collins, Mikie Mahtook and JaCoby Jones.

Collins has certainly flashed upside in the past, and may be the best offensive threat in the short term given his pop.

The outfielder hit 18 home runs and drove in 62 runs with a 108 wRC+ in his last full season with Triple-A Toledo.

Given a full season’s worth of at-bats, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Collins replicate those numbers in Detroit—especially in such a potent Tigers lineup.

Mikie Mahtook is another player who has shown significant potential with the bat in the past.

Mahtook burst onto the scene in 2015 in his first taste of Major League action with Tampa Bay.

The 26-year-old hit .295 with a 167 wRC+, a .619 slugging percentage, a .411 wOBA, a .351 on-base percentage and a .324 ISO.

Additionally, Mahtook chipped in with 22 runs scored and 19 RBI. He also added nine home runs, five doubles, four stolen bases and a triple.

Obviously, most of the outfielder’s 2015 stats are unsustainable. However, if he can perform at a level somewhat near that, he’ll find a way onto the field.

JaCoby Jones is perhaps the biggest wild card of the group. The prospect has the upside to be a dynamic player at the Major League Level.

The outfielder is an excellent athlete with speed and raw power.

Long-term, Jones looks like the future of the position in Detroit. However, he enters Spring Training with just 13 games of Major League experience.

If he can make an impact early, he may stay in the Majors for good.

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