Detroit Tigers: Base-Stealing Options in Spring Training
Detroit Tigers fans have predominantly seen teams that tend to thrive on slugging. Because of this, Detroit hasn’t featured many speedsters. Here are the Tigers top base-stealing threats in camp.
Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila traded just one member of the club’s 2016 veteran core last offseason.
That would be Cameron Maybin, who was dealt to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for pitching prospect Victor Alcantara.
While Maybin was excellent at the plate for the Tigers last season (120 wRC+, .383 on-base percentage), he also represented the team’s best stolen base threat.
The outfielder paced the team with 15 stolen bases and turned in a 2.5 BsR and a 2.0 UBR.
Outside of Maybin, only Ian Kinsler finished with more than 10 stolen bases.
While the likes of Justin Upton, Jose Iglesias and Tyler Collins can be counted on to chip in with a stolen base here and there, the Tigers would benefit from the addition of another base-stealing threat.
As it stands, Detroit’s best in-house options to add more speed all play the position that Maybin vacated.
JaCoby Jones and Mikie Mahtook are tied with Andrew Romine for the team lead in stolen baes this spring with two apiece.
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Both players have stolen at least 20 bases in a season on multiple occasions in the minors.
Given Jones and Mahtook’s base-running ability, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see either replicate those numbers with a full season’s worth of at-bats.
Jones was particularly effective running the bases in limited playing time with Detroit last season.
The former Pittsburgh farmhand finished sixth on the team with a 0.6 UBR and seventh with a 0.7 BsR despite logging just 28 plate appearances.
Considering Romine’s versatility, he’ll likely appear in games across the diamond in 2017.
Combine those appearances with pinch-running cameos, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see the utility ace notch double-digit steals.
Elsewhere in camp, Anthony Gose gives the Tigers another base-stealing theat. The ex-Blue Jay hasn’t logged a stolen base this spring, but he’s one of the fastest players on the team.
Gose swiped 23 bags in 2015 with Detroit, and averaged 14 steals per season from 2012 to 2015.
Regardless of who fills in for Maybin, Brad Ausmus should have a much faster team in 2017.
In addition to Kinsler and Romine, one of Jones, Mahtook, Collins or Gose should provide more stolen bases as the team’s center fielder.
What’s more, Dixon Machado could make the team as an extra infielder, adding another running threat to the bench.
Machado logged a 0.6 BsR and a 0.5 UBR in only eight games last season.
The slick-fielding infielder previously stole 131 bases in eight minor league seasons, including 17 with Toledo last year.
Next: Tigers X-Factors for 2017
With such slugging-oriented offense, the Detroit Tigers should benefit from the added speed.