6. Jorge Soler
7. Salvador Perez
8. Whit Merrifield
9. Carlos Santana
10. Jose Ramirez
Soler’s 2019 season is among the best against the Tigers in the Wild Card era. 10 home runs, a slash line of .408/.469/.944 and drove in 26 in 81 plate appearances over 19 games. For his career, Soler posts an OPS of over 1.000 and batting .331 overall.
When I wrote the article about Merrifield’s numbers around mid-August, he was batting .352 lifetime against Detroit. He “cooled off” a bit and batted just .333 against them in 47 plate apperances.
Perez is the last active batter tied for second among home runs against Detroit with 23 with Santana nipping at his heels with 22. While Alex Gordon is not the same player as he was, just be grateful that Detroit does not have to face Eric Hosmer as much as they once did. His 20 home runs would give the Royals four players that are active in the top 10.
With Lindor gone, it may get easier to face Ramirez but you are still looking facing a tough Cleveland rotation led by Shane Bieber, who absolutely carved up Tigers hitters last season to the tune of just allowing 3 runs in 14.2 IP while striking out 21.
Where is the “make” part of this?
Detroit will feature two new arms in the rotation, Jose Urena and Julio Teheran, and one new face in the bullpen with Derek Holland. While both Urena and Teheran have been mostly in the National League with the exception of Teheran’s one season with the Angels, the sample sizes are small. For Holland, it appears Nelson Cruz (3 HR, .267 BA 8-for-34) and Josh Donaldson (7-for-29, .292 BA, OPS 1.039) are the ones that stand out the most.
Overall, while this is not a deep dive on the division rivals, these are the names that could make a Sunday afternoon viewing on TV or at the ballpark tough to watch against Tigers pitchers.
Tigers fans are all too familiar with these 10 players. If Detroit is going to have a successful season, they have to once and for all, figure out to attack them to cause the least amount of damage possible. I think about the adjustment Tim Anderson did to get in the front of the batter’s box last year to hit a laser off Skubal.(Around 1:07 mark)
We will see how the manager A.J. Hinch and the staff will handle these types of situations as they come up.