Andy Dirks: Left Fielder, Country Boy, Source of Optimism
During his two seasons in the MLB, Andy Dirks has helped contribute to two American League Central championships for the Detroit Tigers as well as two berths in the American League Championship Series. Atheists, non-conspiracy theory believers and alcoholics will be always quick to point out that correlation doesn’t imply causation, but in the case of the Tigers, I think there’s somewhat of a link here.
Dirks watched his role, production and batting average increase from 2011 to 2012. From his first to his second years, he played in 10 more games, had 46 more hits and raised his batting average .071 points. He would have played in more games in 2012, but he missed two months with an injury as it turns out that Dirks’ Achilles heel is literally his right Achilles tendon.
Clearly, at 27, Dirks has shown that he has the capabilities of being more than just a pinch hitter or reserve player but Tigers skipper Jim Leyland is wary of overworking him and said he would consider giving the left-handed hitter the day off should Detroit be facing some “nasty left-handed pitching.” There’s no doubt that Leyland clearly recognizes Dirks’ value and wants him to play as much as possible.
It’s a three-or-four-way battle for left field right now. Generally, three-or-four-way battles for coveted real estate are infrequent outside of the Middle East or elementary school snow forts, but clearly, this must be an exception. Based on the trending number he has put up the last two seasons, I have to think that left field is Dirks McGirt’s position to lose this spring training.
Justin Gawel is, technically, an adult who mainly writes about the Detroit Tigers. Add him on Google+ for all of his article postings.
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