The Detroit Tigers have a problem in left field. Which of their many options should they explore as a permanent starter?
Detroit Tigers fans went into 2018 with cautious optimism regarding the left field position. Mikie Mahtook was locked into the starting role. He was coming off a career year where he posted a .276/.330/.457 line with 12 home runs and six stolen bases in 348 at-bats. Despite a slow spring, Mahtook was the guy in left field, and many expected a 20/10 season from the 28-year-old former first-round pick.
The Tigers had a fall-back plan, with both JaCoby Jones and Victor Reyes making the Opening Day roster. Although Jones had never played left field at the big league level, he is a very capable defensive outfielder and was viewed as great insurance for Mahtook. Reyes, the first overall selection in the Rule 5 draft, is locked into a roster spot for 2018. While he does not have much experience, the Tigers like his potential enough to keep him on the roster all year. Between the three of them, left field seemed well taken care of for 2018.
So what the heck happened?
Mahtook’s demotion to Triple-A may have seemed rushed, but an ugly spring followed by a 4-for-31 start to the year gave the Tigers a chance to send him down to clear his head. In his stead, Jones (.176) and Reyes (.200) haven’t exactly lit the world on fire. The Tigers will focus on these three as their left fielder(s) this season, but they have other options.
Here is a look at who all Detroit could experiment with this season in left field: