Detroit Tigers: Scott Harris continues to make moves that are paying dividends
By Jon Kloss
Scott Harris's moves are paying off for the Detroit Tigers.
One of Scott Harris’ main objectives this offseason was to keep his team competitive and build proper depth throughout the organization. One example of that can be found in the Detroit Tigers infield for 2023.
Last season was rough for various reasons, but the lack of depth showed throughout the Tigers' organization. While players like Victor Reyes, Harold Castro, and Jonathan Schoop struggled, the Detroit Tigers did not have any viable replacements.
In his first offseason at the helm, Scott Harris made a plethora of smaller moves fans did not think would add up to much. These include bringing in players such as Andy Ibanez, Zach McKinstry, Nick Maton, and Matt Vierling.
To the dismay of many fans, Scott Harris chose to spend his money on starting pitching this offseason. But so far, Harris has been able to completely revamp the Tigers' infield with under-the-radar moves many people scoffed at and questioned profusely.
Andy Ibanez has provided a huge spark for the Tigers. After starting out 0-for-8 with five strikeouts, Ibanez has simply raked since then. On Monday, the 30-year-old homered against the Guardians and he has been squaring the ball up really well for the Tigers as of late. He is barreling the ball up at a 13.6% rate, easily the best mark of his career.
Zach McKinstry has been a great find for the Tigers as well, settling in nicely since being acquired in a last-minute trade before the 2023 season started. McKinstry’s barrel percentage is at 12.6%, a career-high. His walk rate is a career-high, with his strikeout rate sitting at a career-low. For a guy who hit .097 in spring training this year, not too bad.
Nick Maton and Matt Vierling had provided the Tigers with great versatility and depth as well. Maton has struggled to hit off-speed pitches but still leads the team in home runs and has played a solid third base. Vierling remains strong defensively in the outfield and has been solid at the plate. Both players we acquired in the Gregory Soto trade this offseason have been impactful players for Detroit this year.
They might not have been flashy moves, but they are paying off for the Tigers in the early going. While these players might not be long-term pieces for Detroit, it gives fans faith in Harris’s ability to identify future talent.