Have you ever heard someone say too much depth is a bad thing? Neither have I. Right now, the Detroit Tigers have a lot of depth in the outfield. It’s hard to believe when Austin Jackson first went out with his injury, manager Jim Leyland was scrapping to find bodies to play the outfield.
When Quintin Berry emerged, he provided relief for a Tigers’ offense that was missing their lead-off man. Then when Jackson came back Leyland was able to take Delmon Young out of the outfield, and make him full time DH.
Andy Dirks – before his two month DL stint — was providing a lot of offense and was able to play multiple outfield positions. Now that Dirks is back, Leyland is faced with a great problem.
Right now Andy Dirks, Brennan Boesch, Quintin Berry, and Austin Jackson have a combined .299 average, with 144 RBIs, and 28 home runs. A lot of production coming from from the outfield.
Each player providing something different. Berry is a speedster that can steal bases at will, and play solid defense. Jackson is a potential Gold Glove defender with speed, and gives you a lot of offense at the plate. Dirks will also play good defense, and has a knack for coming up with big hits. Boesch isn’t the best of defenders, but has good power and is dangerous when he is going good at the plate.
This brings the million dollar question that I think Leyland doesn’t even know yet: How do you find playing time for all these guys?
Right now Dirks, Jackson and Boesch have been getting the nod in the outfield. Berry will get some starts against right handed pitching, but is typically sat against left handers. The newly acquired Jeff Baker will get most of the starts against left handed pitching. But there is another problem looming around: What happens when Victor Martinez comes back?Where will Leyland put Young? Since he is the last person you want to see in the outfield.
But having problems like these are always a good thing. No one should ever complain that you don’t have enough spots to put good players in. That’s why the Tigers current outfield problem is one any manager wishes they had.
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