Detroit Tigers: Eric Haase's positional versatility likely to pay off in 2023
Eric Haase's versatility likely to pay off in 2023 for Detroit Tigers.
The Detroit Tigers continue to tune up and prepare for the 2023 season. One of the things that manager A.J. Hinch is preaching is positional versatility. It's become a recurrent theme with this team, especially with some new faces around Spring Training.
But, with a consistent face for the Detroit Tigers in Eric Haase, versatility will still come into play. In all honesty, it may very well end up paying off for Haase as he will find ways to get into the lineup on days off behind the dish if he still can hit or wants to.
After all, Haase was the team's primary backstop in 2022 for the Tigers. However, he's expected to have some more help behind the dish. Haase is still the primary option, but Jake Rogers is looking to make a big comeback as he returns from Tommy John surgery.
Beyond that, the Tigers have Donny Sands and Dillon Dingler in the minors looking to get their chances in the big leagues when their time comes. Haase may end up getting some starts in left field at times in 2023.
In 2022, Haase was not just the team's best catcher but also one of the team's better bats. He hit .254/.305/.443 with 17 doubles, a triple, and 14 home runs with 44 RBI for his credit over 323 at-bats with the Tigers over 110 games played.
For Haase, he has played left field before, and it allows him to earn extra at-bats. Haase mentioned that the consistency of at-bats was something he was all about in this piece from Jason Beck on MLB dot com.
Haase will still see his fair share of opportunities and starts behind the dish as the Tigers' catcher in 2023. But he may very well also be playing some left field and settling in as an outfielder to use him as a consistent bat rather than putting him on the bench.
The consistency Haase hits on is going to help him. Keeping him in the lineup even when he is out from behind the plate will likely only be beneficial for the Tigers and Haase. As Spring Training continues, expect Haase to continue getting work in as an outfielder so that he can be played in left field more often in 2023 for the Tigers.
It may not be the biggest change in the world, or even a "new" position for Haase. But he's going to continue building his comfort-level out there and getting his reps in.