Detroit Tigers: Winners and losers from the 2017 season
Winner: Mikie Mahtook
A first-round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011, Mikie Mahtook turned in a stellar 41-game debut with the franchise in 2015.
In 115 plate appearances the outfielder hit .295 with a .351 on-base percentage, a .619 slugging percentage, a .970 OPS, a .324 ISO and a 167 wRC+. He also added 19 RBI, nine home runs, five doubles, four stolen bases and a triple.
Then 2016 happened.
Mahtook appeared in 65 games, seeing 196 plate appearances. He hit just .195 with a .523 OPS and just 12 extra-base hits. His wRC+ that year? 39.
Already sharing an outfield with Kevin Kiermaier, Steven Souza Jr. and Corey Dickerson, the Rays went out and added Mallex Smith to the mix, giving Mahtook more competition.
The Tigers pounced on the situation and added the outfielder via trade. Detroit gave up relief pitching prospect Drew Smith in the deal.
Eventually, Mahtook was able to establish himself as the everyday center fielder in the Motor City, and he showed why he was a first-round pick at the plate.
The LSU product batted .276 with a .787 OPS.
While he didn’t hit at the unsustainable pace (.351 ISO and 167 wRC+) from 2015, Mahtook was markedly better than what he showed in 2016 with Tampa Bay.
The outfielder notched a 107 wRC+, a .335 wOBA and a .181 ISO. He added value on the base paths with a 3.2 BsR and six stolen bases.
What’s more, Mahtook filled up the stat sheet—as it were—in a number of different ways with 50 runs, 38 RBI, 15 doubles, 12 home runs, six triples and the aforementioned six steals in 379 plate appearances.
Moving forward, the ex-Rays player looks like a definite starter for the Detroit Tigers.