In a season full of injuries to all parts of the Detroit Tigers roster, the team will now be forced to endure another season-ending setback with the loss of centerfielder JaCoby Jones due to a wrist fracture.
The Detroit Tigers have been forced to utilize a significant amount of their depth throughout 2019 and will have to do so once again with the loss of JaCoby Jones. Which players will emerge as the go-to outfielders for the remainder of the season?
Starting off with the position now vacated by Jones, centerfield, the Tigers will most likely use 24-year-old Victor Reyes as the primary captain of the outfield. Reyes is hitting modest .255 with an OPS of .647 in 94 at-bats in the majors this season, and his length and athleticism are natural fits for the spacious outfield at Comerica Park. Infielder Harold Castro is another player who could see time in center as the season winds down.
Newcomer Travis Demeritte has seen all of the reps in right field since the trade of Nick Castellans to the Cubs, and he will certainly continue to do so now that the team’s depth is depleted. Demeritte has produced a .243 batting average since the trade deadline, but his OPS of .815 is well above league average.
Once he returns from the 7-day IL, Christin Stewart will return to his normal role as the starting left fielder, but until then a variety of players will be used in his absence. Reyes had seen the majority of at-bats in left field since Stewart was sidelined, but now the team will most likely use a combination of Niko Goodrum, Brandon Dixon, and Harold Castro in left in the meantime.
Once September rolls around and additional call-ups are made from Triple-A Toledo, other outfielders will be added to the mix for playing time. Daz Cameron will most likely be amongst these players, with Dustin Peterson another likely candidate to be called up when the rosters expand.
With the loss of Jones, the entirety of the Detroit Tigers’ outfield will be young, developing players. Stewart is guaranteed a starting spot on next year’s Tigers, but players like Reyes, Demeritte, and Peterson will use more playing time down the stretch as an audition for next season’s Opening Day roster.