The signing of Torii Hunter by the Detroit Tigers was seen as a positive move for fans and the team going forward. The newly acquired Hunter provides the team with great hitting, fielding and leadership in a position that has been led by younger players for the team. However, Hunter’s arrival in Detroit creates a positional battle for three outfield positions.
Austin Jackson is almost guaranteed the center field position for the Tigers. Hunter will likely play right field for the team and should be a starter, especially for his new salary. The left field position will be filled by whoever wins the battle in spring training, or a rotating list of outfielders based on who is hot, or pitching matchups. Brennan Boesch will likely not be in that rotating list, after playing himself out of the Tigers rotation in 2012.
Boesch played in 132 games in the 2012 MLB season. He ended the year with 113 hits, 12 home runs and 54 RBIs. Boesch had a batting average of .240, below his career big league’s average. Boesch also struggled getting on base, posting an on base percentage of .286. This low on base percentage was hurt by a career low in walks and a career high in strikeouts. Boesch’s poor hitting kept him off the team’s postseason roster.
Boesch was much more successful in the 2011 season. In 2011, Boesch played in 115 games, hitting .283. Boesch also posted a strong on base percentage of .341.
The Tigers drafted Boesch in the third round of the 2006 MLB Draft. When Boesch made the majors in 2010, he was awarded with two straight American League Rookie of the Month Awards.
The Tigers will count on young players like Andy Dirks, Avisail Garcia and Quintin Berry to fill the left field position. Garcia came up late to the Tigers and played well in the 2012 MLB Playoffs. Berry was awarded with the team’s Rookie of the Year Award. The Tigers also have to consider getting young prospect phenom Nick Castellanos involved in the mix. Castellanos, who has been listed as untradeable began playing outfield last year after a career at third base. With Miguel Cabrera ahead of him at third base, the team shifted him to the outfield.
Boesch has been linked to several teams, thanks in large part to his reasonable salary. The team tendered an offer on Boesch recently and will see if there is interest in him from other teams. If they do not trade him, he will likely not see much action in the Tigers uniform in 2013.