Detroit Tigers 2017 season: winners and losers so far

May 5, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez (41) and left fielder Justin Upton (8) and center fielder Tyler Collins (18) high fives teammates after scoring on a three run triple by right fielder Jim Adduci (not pictured) against the Oakland Athletics during the sixth inning at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
May 5, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez (41) and left fielder Justin Upton (8) and center fielder Tyler Collins (18) high fives teammates after scoring on a three run triple by right fielder Jim Adduci (not pictured) against the Oakland Athletics during the sixth inning at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /
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May 6, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Tigers center fielder Jim Adduci (37) hits a single against the Oakland Athletics during the third inning at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

Winners and Losers on the Bench

The bullpen still remains somewhat of problem, but one area where the Detroit Tigers have significantly improved from last season is on the bench.

Gone are the likes of Erick Aybar, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Casey McGehee.

In their place, Detroit has turned to a different group, one that includes a combination of Andrew Romine, Alex Avila, Dixon Machado, Tyler Collins, John Hicks, Jim Adduci and Mikie Mahtook.

Winner: Jim Adduci

Heading into Opening Day 2017, the Tigers needed two new starting outfielders.

A center fielder was necessary to replace the traded Cameron Maybin in center field, while J.D. Martinez’ injury left a hole in right field.

To fill the two spots, Detroit utilized Jones, Romine, Mahtook and Collins to start.

Now, with the middle of May approaching, it isn’t that much of a stretch to say that Jim Adduci has been the best of the bunch.

The 32-year-old is currently fourth on the team in WAR and has posted a .888 OPS. He’s also turned in eight runs scored, seven RBI, five walks, four doubles, two triples and a stolen base in just 13 games.

Moving forward, Adduci could be a fixture on Detroit’s bench all season.

Loser: Mikie Mahtook

Acquired from Tampa Bay in the offseason, Mikie Mahtook had a chance to establish himself early in the season with opportunities in center field and in right field.

However, the former first-round pick hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire.

He’s posted a .578 OPS in 17 games, and has punched out 13 times in 38 at-bats.

Mahtook does have an option remaining, so he’s not a candidate to be designated for assignment, but the team needs better production.

Moving forward, the opportunities could be limited.

With Justin Upton and J.D. Martinez manning the corners, Mahtook’s potential at-bats will come in center field or as a pinch hitter.

In center, he’ll be competing with Romine and Collins—not to mention JaCoby Jones once he returns from the minors.

As a pinch hitter, the ex-Ray has likely fallen behind Avila and Collins in the pecking order.

Next: Jim Adduci could be bench fixture all season

When Adduci (currently on the disabled list) and Hicks (with Toledo) are back on the active roster, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see either pinch-hit ahead of Mahtook.