Batting 6th: Left Fielder Mikie Mahtook
To many Detroit Tigers fans, Mikie Mahtook was a pleasant surprise at times. He started off cold, hitting well under the Mendoza line for the first two months of 2017. Then, he turned it on in June. The 27 year-old hit .333, with an OPS of .863. Then, he hit .346 and .961 in July. And finally, he hit a human .276 and .771 in September/October.
Mahtook finished 2017 with a stat line of .276/.330/.457 with 12 home runs and 38 RBIs. It was more like the player the Tigers hoped to acquire from Tampa Bay.
Personally, I disagree with the projected stats from Baseball-Reference. They have him hitting .255/.312/.741 with 14 home runs and 42 RBIs.
That’s low-balling him. Mahtook hit .295 his first year with Tampa Bay. He dropped to .195 in his sophomore season. As last season showed, his 2016 was a sophomore slump.
Hitting .280/.330/.800 is more realistic. It won’t be consistent, as Mahtook has been a streaky hitter. He’ll hit .330 at times. And .200 at others. The Tigers will hope that his .330 stretches are longer and more frequent than his at .200.
Mahtook will see a lot of finesse pitches, as he’s past the meat of the order. James McCann provides a slight level of protection to Mahtook.
Mahtook is also a base-stealing threat. He’s slated to steal six bags this year. He has a little speed, mostly from catching line-drives in left.