Detroit Tigers: Brandon Dixon remains bright spot in struggling offense

After being claimed off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers utility infielder Brandon Dixon has been one of the more productive bats in an offense that’s ranked near the bottom of the league in all statistical categories for the majority 2019.

Brandon Dixon was one of the first acquisitions for the Detroit Tigers this past offseason, with his claim occurring on November 2nd, just following the conclusion of the 2018 season. His results that year were less than impressive, but that hasn’t deterred him from success with the Tigers in 2019.

The now 27-year-old Dixon hit five home runs and drove in 10 in 2018, but only hit .178 in 118 at-bats across 78 games for the rebuilding Reds. Those paltry results prompted his release following the season.

After being claimed, Dixon entered Spring Training with an outside shot to earn a bench role on the 2019 Tigers. Despite a solid showing throughout the spring at multiple positions and at the plate, Dixon was optioned to Triple-A Toledo and did not travel north with the big club when the team broke camp.

Similar to 2018, Dixon struggled early in the season with the Mud Hens, but when the Tigers needed an extra infielder due to injuries, Dixon was given a call-up on April 18th. From there, the rest is history and Dixon hasn’t been back to the minor leagues.

Dixon has been one of the Tigers’ more productive hitters since his recall, hitting .278 overall with 7 home runs and 26 RBIs over 133 at-bats in 41 games played. His respectable OPS of .784 and three stolen bases have added to the production as well.

Dixon ranks second on the Detroit Tigers with his seven home runs and his 26 RBIs also ranks second to Miguel Cabrera’s 29. He’s seen most of his recent appearances in the four or five spot in the lineup, further expressing his prominent role on the team.

Looking past his offense, Dixon has also provided value with his defensive versatility and production across his 41 games. Dixon has made 19 appearances at first base, three at second base, three at third base, three in right field and two in left field.

Only four errors in all of his appearances also prove he can handle the wide variety of positions he’s been tasked with playing during the 2019 season. In 2018, he didn’t let his poor offense translate to the field, committing no errors all season long.

Simply put it, the surprising production from Dixon has been one of the lone bright spots on a very disappointing 2019 Tigers team. Give GM Al Avila some credit for taking a flier on Dixon this past offseason and giving him an opportunity early in 2019.

His offensive production and defensive versatility displayed so far this season may even be of use on the bench of a contender as 2019 gets into full swing. He would need to continue sustaining his production, but if he can, the Tigers may be in possession of another valuable trade chip headed toward the deadline.

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If a waiver claim can turn into a lower-tier prospect, I’d call that a smashing success for a rebuilding effort. Even if he remains on the roster, Dixon has provided the Tigers durability during an injuring-plagued 2019.