The 2017 Detroit Tigers saw some phenomenal defense from a few players, but unfortunately saw lackluster defense from most of their players. With the Tigers getting younger and more athletic their defense should improve immensely. However, there is much work to be done.
The Detroit Tigers have had one Gold Glove winner since Placido Polanco won at second base in 2009. Funny enough, that one Gold Glove came at the same position when Ian Kinsler finally won one in 2016. While Yoenis Cespedes won a Gold Glove in 2015 as both a member of the Detroit Tigers and New York Mets, it was awarded to the New York Mets left fielder. Jose Iglesias has been in the Gold Glove voting, but has not won the award. At least not yet. J.D. Martinez was also in the running for the Gold Glove for right field in 2015, but his defense has gone down hill since.
While the Detroit Tigers had one of the league’s highest fielding percentages and some of the fewest errors in 2017,secondary defensive statistics reveal something more. The 2017 Detroit Tigers were not the best defensive team. According to Baseball Reference, the Detroit Tigers were worth -68 runs saved defensively. Their team UZR rating was -9.2, according to Fangraphs. They were also second lowest in Major League Baseball in assists, only beating the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Detroit Tigers also led the league in runs allowed per game RA/G at 5.52.
These numbers should improve with many new players playing for the Detroit Tigers in 2018.