Detroit Tigers: Eric Haase as J.D. Martinez

Detroit Tigers catcher Eric Haase hits a three run home run in the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field. Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Tigers catcher Eric Haase hits a three run home run in the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field. Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

Last night Detroit Tigers catcher/outfielder Eric Haase hit a dramatic, game-tying, pinch-hit home run in the 7th inning. Unfortunately he then made a huge error in the bottom of the frame to help Texas take back the lead.

But, for a few minutes at least, Eric Haase was the hero the Detroit Tigers needed.

I don’t often get personal on Motor City Bengals. This is a blog, so I’m not confined by the strictures of traditional journalism, but I try to remain as professional and objective as possible.

When I’m on Twitter I let myself be a bit more of a fan. So today I’m going to use that Eric Haase home run from last night as a little window into my Twitter persona — how the Chris Brown Tweet Sausage is made, if you will.

So let’s see that home run again:

And now let’s look at my thought process and resulting tweets.

Thought Process after Eric Haase’s Home Run

Tweet after Eric Haase’s Home Run

Well, that’s the sort of deeply analytical, trenchant analysis you can only get from an MCB co-expert. Sometimes you just have to yell a player’s name like an enraged Captain Kirk.

I did author another tweet shortly after, and here’s the thought process behind that one:

"Wow, Eric Haase is in his late-20s and basically came from out of nowhere to hit a bunch of home runs for the Detroit Tigers in a short period of time. And that was to right-center, no less. That takes a lot of power. You know who else came to the Detroit Tigers in his late 20s and hit a lot of home runs pretty quickly, and had power to right center? J.D. Martinez. That’s a lofty comparison though, so I better qualify it…twice."

And here’s the tweet:

The fun thing about having an opinion online is that everyone else gets to have one, too. And it’s usually the opposite of yours. Most of the responses to my tweet were people essentially telling me I’m crazy. I get it.

J.D. Martinez has been one of the best hitters in baseball for the past eight seasons. Him signing as a minor-league free agent and then doing what he did feels like a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.

But I wasn’t comparing Eric Haase to J.D. Martinez NOW, I was comparing Haase to the 2014 version of J.D. Martinez, who still seemed too good to be true.

And, with that in mind, let’s look at what Eric Haase has done so far, and compare it to what J.D. Martinez had done at the same stage of his Tigers’ career:

Martinez has a significant edge in batting average, strikeout rate, and wRC+, but it’s otherwise pretty close. What accounts for that big gap batting average? Eric Haase appears to be taking more strikes, but there must be a difference in batted ball profile, right?

So that would seem to explain the differences in batting average. Martinez had the edge on ground balls, which turn into hits more often than fly balls, and he also used the middle of the field more. But Eric Haase’s approach is arguably geared to produce more power, which would certainly be welcome.

Again, I get the hesitation to call Eric Haase the next J.D. Martinez. This is the same fanbase that saw Gabe Kapler and Chris Shelton and Brennan Boesch get off to similar hot starts before crashing back to reality.

And of course Eric Haase went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts today. He’s probably not the next J.D. Martinez. But he has been pretty darn good at the plate so far, and he’s been a solid catcher too. Maybe we should just let Eric Haase be Eric Haase.

So let’s make a deal. I’ll refrain from making any more wild Twitter player comps in the future, and you’ll all agree I was right about this one. Cool? Cool.

dark. Next. Casey Mize, Detroit's WAR Leader