Tigers numbers crunch: best bats on paper

Can the Tigers peripheral players fill out an already hefty lineup? (Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

Below are some production numbers to think about, so long as the Tigers lineup looks this way in 2012. Keep in mind I am leaving Brandon Inge out of this equation, and using the combined 2011 stats of Ryan Raburn and Ramon Santiago. It’s likely  Santiago will play more games at 2B given Raburn’s 10 errors in 56 games last year. Also, this assumes Andy Dirks will be in left field when Delmon Young isn’t. Young wearing a mitt isn’t a pretty sight.

Other factors that may change this lineup are:

  • Miguel Cabrera‘s ability to effectively man the hot corner.
  • Whether Inge can hit the ball. Detroit media once again went Inge-sane today when the the 11-year Tiger contacted manager Jim Leyland to ask for an opportunity to vie for the 2b spot. According to WXYT Detroit (97.1 The Ticket), Leyland and Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski sound open to the idea. Inge has never played 2B as a Tiger.
  • Can Andy Dirks bring some of that magic he showed in the Dominican Republic back to Detroit? Dirks became a casa-hold name during the 2012 Caribbean Series. It’s not clear what Leyland will do with the bottom of the lineup.

The numbers below are the combined statistics of each player/player platoon’s 2011 stats. Here’s the potential lineup:

    1. Austin Jackson CF
    2. Brennan Boesch RF
    3. Miguel Cabrera 3B
    4. Prince Fielder 1B
    5. Delmon Young DH
    6. Jhonny Peralta SS
    7. Alex Avila C
    8. Ryan Raburn/Ramon Santiago 2B
    9. Andy Dirks LF

The 2012 Tigers (projected lineup) combined slash line from 2011:


Now, let’s put it in perspective: Last year’s Major League averages were .255/.320/.719. The Rangers led the MLB in average at .283, Boston boasted a league-best .349 OBP, and the best OPS with .810. With all of this in mind, Tiger fans have something very exciting to think about.

Some things crucial to ensuring this type of outcome:

  • Can Peralta and Avila repeat their star performances of last year? Peralta of ’11 looked very much like Peralta of ’05 when he boasted a line of .292/.366/.885 for the Indians. Avila, who showed flashes of pop and vision in 2010 but finished the season on the Mendoza Line, managed to turn things around in ’11 (.295/.389/.895). Both were invited to All-Star festivities. Their continued success is vital to these numbers playing out.
  • Jackson: Will his sophomore slump continue, or will he pick up where he left off in 2010 at .293? One could only hope he’ll strike out less than 181 times, as he did last year.

A lot will determine these outcomes. Part of what’s interesting here is that the Tigers, for the first time in a few years, have depth on offense. The injury of Victor Martinez no longer seems a crushing blow. There are options, and as Leyland stated at Fielder’s introduction “I’m not concerned at all. Mr. Ilitch and Dave have given me a lot of pieces to this puzzle.”

This is all speculation, of course; numbers aren’t everything. Numbers are numbers. But, who said it wasn’t fun to speculate?

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