Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers: Al Avila’s under-the-radar additions are paying off

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KANSAS CITY, MO - JULY 17: Mikie Mahtook #15 of the Detroit Tigers is congratulated by teammates after hitting a two-run home run during the 3rd inning of the game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on July 17, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - JULY 17: Mikie Mahtook #15 of the Detroit Tigers is congratulated by teammates after hitting a two-run home run during the 3rd inning of the game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on July 17, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
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DETROIT, MI – JULY 1: Mikie Mahtook #15 of the Detroit Tigers hits a RBI-single against the Cleveland Indians during the seventh inning of game one of a doubleheader at Comerica Park on July 1, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /

The Outfield

Moving on to position players, Al Avila and the Detroit Tigers have received some excellent production from a trio of outfielders in particular.

Detroit’s outfield picture has undergone quite a transformation in the last few years.

At the beginning of 2016, Justin Upton, Cameron Maybin and J.D. Martinez patrolled the outfield grass with Anthony Gose, Tyler Collins and Steven Moya contributing off the bench.

Fast forward to present day and the picture has changed significantly.

Maybin was flipped to Anaheim, while Martinez was also traded out west—to the Arizona Diamondbacks in this instance.

Meanwhile, Gose is pitching in Lakeland, Collins is with Toledo and Steven Moya is with Double-A Erie. All three are off the 40-man roster.

In their places have stepped Mikie Mahtook, Jim Adduci and Alex Presley.

With the exception of the occasional Andrew Romine start, Upton, Mahtook, Presley and Adduci comprise Detroit’s current outfield grouping.

Unsurprisingly, after going on a tear at the end of 2016, Upton has been excellent. The slugger paces Detroit Tigers position players in WAR and ISO. He’s also sporting a 132 wRC+ and a .370 wOBA.

However, the other three have turned heads as well.

Mike Mahtook

Mahtook, who hit just .186 with a .577 OPS through the end of May, has been on a tear since.

In 102 plate appearances dating back to the start of June, the former first-round pick is batting .350 with a .913 OPS, 14 RBI, 13 runs scored and 11 extra-base hits.

Avila did give up well-regarded pitching prospect Drew Smith to bring in Mahtook, but it is hard to argue with Mahtook’s results so far.

Able to make an impact at the plate, on the base paths (0.2 BsR) and cover ground in Comerica Park, Mahtook looks like a long-term piece in the Motor City.

It certainly doesn’t hurt that he’s only 26 and is controllable, according to Spotrac, through 2021.

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