Detroit Tigers: Competition brewing for utility infielder role

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - MARCH 20: Pete Kozma
PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - MARCH 20: Pete Kozma /
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CLEVELAND, OH – SEPTEMBER 28: Niko Goodrum /

Niko Goodrum

After eight seasons in the minor leagues, Niko Goodrum finally got his first taste of the big leagues last season. He went 1-for-17 with a walk and ten strikeouts.

While that does not inspire a lot of confidence, Goodrum’s chance came on the heels of a solid 2017 season at Triple-A.

Goodrum saw 461 at-bats for the Twins Triple-A affiliate in 2017. He slashed .269/.305/.411 with 13 home runs, 11 stolen bases and 71 runs scored.

Goodrum has posted solid walk and stolen base numbers throughout his minor league career. He, like Rodriguez, would probably be a slightly below average hitter at the big league level.

However, his defensive versatility is what makes him a candidate for Detroit’s utility infielder role.

Goodrum has started at every infield and outfield position during his minor league career. He has primarily played shortstop and third base, with extensive experience at second base as well.

Goodrum is more versatile than anyone else on this list. Combine that with his (brief) major league experience, and you have a legit challenger to Kozma for the 25-man roster.

While Kozma was a former first round pick, Goodrum was taken in the second round by the Twins in 2010, so he also comes with some pedigree.

Look for him to be a part of the Tigers at some point in 2018, even if he does not win the utility infielder role out of camp.

Next up is a dark-horse candidate who had a strong season in the minors last year.