Detroit Tigers All-Time Lists

Detroit Tigers: Top Ten Catchers in Franchise History

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CLEARWATER, FL - MARCH 3: Catcher Ivan Rodriguez #7 of the Detroit Tigers waits for a pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies during MLB Spring Training action at the Bright House Networks Field on March 3, 2005 in Clearwater, Florida. Detroit Tigers defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 9-1. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
CLEARWATER, FL - MARCH 3: Catcher Ivan Rodriguez #7 of the Detroit Tigers waits for a pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies during MLB Spring Training action at the Bright House Networks Field on March 3, 2005 in Clearwater, Florida. Detroit Tigers defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 9-1. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Tigers
BOSTON, MA – JULY 24: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox slides as he avoids the tag by Alex Avila #13 of the Detroit Tigers at home plate as he scored the winning run during the eleventh inning on a single by Xander Bogaerts #2 at Fenway Park on July 24, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox won 2-1. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images) /

Alex Avila

Detroit Tigers: 2009-2015, 2017

One could certainly argue that the only reason Alex Avila ended up on the Tigers was that his dad was working in the front office. However, you’ll see very few Tigers fans complain after seeing how Avila performed for the team in his eight seasons.

Avila was originally drafted by the Tigers in the 34th round of the 2005 MLB Draft out of high school. He elected not to sign and instead went to Alabama, where he was taken again by the Tigers in the fifth round in 2008.

Avila made his big league debut just one year later, hitting .279/.375/.590 across 61 at-bats. He took on a part-time role in 2010, hitting .228 with seven home runs in 294 at-bats.

Things really took off for Avila in 2011. He was given the reigns as the every day catcher, and played in 141 games. Avila logged 551 plate appearances and slashed an excellent .295/.389/.506. He hit 19 home runs and had 82 RBI while posting a 142 OPS+ and a 5.1 bWAR. Avila was an All-Star and a Silver Slugger Award winner, while also finishing 12th in MVP voting.

He followed his 2011 season with a disappointing, but still adequate, 2012. He hit .243 with a .352 OBP and nine home runs, good for a 99 OPS+.

2013 and 2014 were weirdly identical, as Avila hit 11 home runs with 47 RBI in both seasons. His combined slash line was .222/.323/.367. Avila was excellent at drawing a walk, but his dwindling power and low batting average was starting to wear on Tigers fans.

After a ghastly performance in 2015 that saw him hit just .191 in 67 games, Avila was gone. He spent 2016 with the White Sox, but signed back with the Tigers after one year on the South Side.

Back Again

Avila rewarded the Tigers handsomely upon his return to the Motor City. He hit .274/.394/.475 with 11 home runs in 2017, one of his finest career performances to date. That helped the Tigers make what may go down as one of the greatest trades in team history. The Tigers sent Avila and left-handed closer Justin Wilson to the Cubs in exchange for two prospects: Jeimer Candelario and Isaac Paredes.

Avila was okay down the stretch for the Cubs, and signed with the Diamondbacks this offseason. He is hitting a miserable .120/.243/.185 down in the desert however, and looks to be nearing the end of the line.

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