Alex Avila has been a really puzzling player in his time in a Detroit Tigers uniform. He is an incredible guy who has the ability to stabilize a clubhouse and really brings a passion into what he does. Then there are those months where you begin to wonder if I would have a better chance with a bat in my hands. It isn’t that Avila is a bad offensive player because immediately when you think that is when he will have a month where he hits .400 with a few gigantic home runs. But just when you think this guy is the closer for life in Detroit he goes back to striking out more than me at a singles bar. That’s a lot of swing and misses.
The Tigers need Avila to get back to that All-Star caliber player he was two years ago and get back to being a guy who can provide the bottom third of the lineup with the dangerous threat it needs to be a well balanced lineup. Avila has all the potential to be one of the top 3-5 catchers in all of baseball, but he lacks the consistency to get there. Most of that probably resides in the fact that he gets hit in the head more often than the Roadrunner, but part of that is because his approach at the plate is very much decided on how he is playing meaning he lets cold streaks get into his head and makes a small slump into a gigantic one. Avila needs to stop worrying about the last at bat and start being more confident in himself because there is no reason he should hit for .230 again in his lifetime.
Hopefully Avila pieces it all together in 2014 because the Tigers want to make him their catcher for the foreseeable future, but they can’t afford him hitting for low average with some of the other holes they have in their offense. Obviously his health is going to determine a lot of whether we see the Avila from last year or the Avila from two years ago, but if anyone deserves a break from injuries it is Avila. Please build him a better helmet, too.