Batting Second: Third Baseman Jeimer Candelario
Since coming over from Chicago, third baseman Jeimer Candelario has been outstanding for the Detroit Tigers. He hit .330 with seven doubles in 27 games for Detroit, and will more than likely be the starting third-baseman for Ron Gardenhire on Opening Day.
Candelario’s projected stat line is .269/.346/.779, with eight home runs and 32 RBIs, and has excelled batting second. Candelario hit .385 with production last year behind the leadoff hitter, and the 23 year-old will succeed in his first full season in the majors.
He’ll hit higher in the order. While Miguel Cabrera is on the decline, the first-baseman still demands respect, and Candelario will benefit from it. Pitchers don’t want to send Cabrera to the plate with runners on. Because of this, the third-baseman will receive good pitches, and will hit a lot higher than .269. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he hit .300 or better in April.
Since baseball’s a long and grueling season, Candelario’s numbers may decline as the year wears on. But he’s the third-baseman of the future.
The main question for this year is if the sophomore slump will greatly affect the New York native. He’s played enough that teams have scouting data on him. He’ll need to adjust accordingly. He has help, though. Ron Gardenhire is known for motivating young players, and Lloyd McClendon is an experienced hitting coach.