Detroit Tigers: Winners and losers from the 2017 season

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CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 13: Nicholas Castellanos #9 of the Detroit Tigers reacts after striking out during the eighth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on September 13, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians defeated the Tigers to win 21 straight games. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 13: Nicholas Castellanos #9 of the Detroit Tigers reacts after striking out during the eighth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on September 13, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians defeated the Tigers to win 21 straight games. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Tigers
DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 15: Mikie Mahtook #15 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates with Nicholas Castellanos #9 of the Detroit Tigers, Ian Kinsler #3 of the Detroit Tigers, Shane Greene #61 of the Detroit Tigers and Jeimer Candelario #46 of the Detroit Tigers after hitting a walk-off single in the ninth inning to drive in Candelario and defeat the Chicago White Sox 3-2 at Comerica Park on September 15, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /

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.

Sustained succes

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.

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