When the Detroit Tigers brought shortstop Jose Iglesias to the roster in the latter half of the season, they realized their defense would improve by several notches with the former Boston Red Sox infielder.
It did improve. In fact, Iglesias, now that he’s with the Tigers, will give them the edge in the MLB ALCS. With a .989 fielding percentage, Iglesias makes that middle infield even stronger with Omar Infante at second base. If you include center fielder Austin Jackson, Detroit is solid defensively up the middle.
Jackson’s speed can run down line drives and long flies for the Tigers. Torii Hunter has been underrated all season in right field but has usually held his own out there.
Tiger manager Jim Leyland likes the defense he gets in left field with Andy Dirks, but he also wants Jhonny Peralta’s bat the lineup and that ‘s likely to mean more left field assignments for Peralta during the ALCS. That gives the Tigers somewhat of a weak link defensively at that spot.
The same is true with Miguel Cabrera at third base. Prince Fielder is slow physically but, as the demands for first base goes, he’s been fine. Alex Avila, with six errors and nine passed balls during the regular season, has been decent at catcher.
It’s a solid defense which gives Detroit a key edge over Boston.