Detroit Tigers: With no Miguel Cabrera, is it Christin Stewart time?
The Detroit Tigers will be without Miguel Cabrera for the rest of the season. Is it time to recall slugger Christin Stewart?
The Detroit Tigers suffered a big blow with the news that star first baseman Miguel Cabrera ruptured a tendon in his bicep. It will require season ending surgery.
No Cabrera leaves a big hole in the middle of the Tigers order. While manager Ron Gardenhire has already announced that John Hicks is going to be the every day first baseman, the Tigers could certainly use some more ‘oomph’ in their lineup. Enter Christin Stewart.
Stewart, in case you haven’t been paying attention, is absolutely crushing the ball at Triple-A Toledo. He has 13 home runs and 13 doubles with an outstanding .878 OPS. He has long been Detroit’s premier power hitting prospect, and at 24 years old it’s time for him to get his chance in the big leagues.
There’s one fairly obvious problem with having Stewart replace Cabera. They don’t play the same position.
How to get Stewart into the lineup
The Tigers have made it fairly clear they don’t want to transition Stewart to first base, calling him an outfielder only. They do, however, have a logjam of outfielders. Assuming Leonys Martin is not a part of the plans after 2018, the Tigers still have JaCoby Jones, Victor Reyes, Mikie Mahtook, Nicholas Castellanos, Mike Gerber, Jim Adduci, Jason Krizan and Stewart all vying for outfield spots.
Eventually, Derek Hill, Cam Gibson and Daz Cameron will be knocking on the door to the big leagues as well. It makes sense for Detroit to transition someone over to first base.
The most logical choice is Nicholas Castellanos. Castellanos has never played first base professionally, so it’s likely not a move that could happen overnight. He does have plenty of infield experience however, having started 518 games at third base before transitioning to right field to make room for third baseman Jeimer Candelario.
His defense, both at third base and right field, has been decidedly below average. Perhaps a move to first base will help ease the pressure off Castellanos. While first base is certainly not ‘easy’, it is likely a spot that Castellanos could pick up over time. And his hitting (.316/.357/.489) is more than capable of holding up at first.
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The Detroit Tigers are severely lacking left-handed hitting. Now, without Cabrera, they are lacking a middle of the order slugger as well. Stewart looks capable of filling both those roles in the Motor City. While some shuffling would need to occur, in a rebuilding season it makes sense to get Stewart at-bats sooner rather than later.