With the 2018 season coming to a close, we are providing year-end grades to each Detroit Tigers player who donned the Olde English D in 2018.
The Detroit Tigers completed the first year of what looks to be a multi-year rebuilding process. While the team was hard to watch at times, there is still plenty to evaluate from this season as we look ahead to the next few years.
As with any team, there were a lot of excellent performances, surprise performances, and of course disappointing performances. Here at Motor City Bengals, we are going to be evaluating each player who suited up for the Detroit Tigers this season. We will analyze how they performed, what their future holds in the Motor City, and we will provide them a grade.
Note: the grade will be relative to what was expected of them. So a player who performed well above expectations may earn a B or an A, even if their actual season numbers are not that elite. If you disagree, feel free to drop us a comment. We would love to have discussions about these!
Stewart has long been touted for his prodigious power in the minor leagues. However, he has been equally known for his high strikeout numbers and defensive inefficiencies. After his third consecutive season with 25 or more minor league home runs, Stewart got his first crack at the big leagues.
He performed slightly better than expected, slashing .267/.375/.417 with a pair of home runs and 10 RBI in 72 plate appearances. His 13.9% walk rate was elite and will be a huge part of his future success in the big leagues. His 18.1% strikeout rate is not nearly as bad as many would have thought, although the small sample size does come into play on both accounts.
Unfortunately, Stewart’s defense also came as advertised. He posted a -4.2 UZR in 130 innings playing left field. That -31.8 UZR/150 would be the worst in the entire league, if he had played enough to qualify.
Well, Stewart appears to be a prodigious slugger who has a great ability to draw a walk and has worked very hard to cut down on his strikeouts. His September was very solid, and he has the inside track to be Detroit’s starting left fielder in 2019. His defense is his one flaw, but it shouldn’t go uncounted – as it will impact his future as a regular outfielder if he cannot improve.