In seven at-bats this season, utility man Don Kelly, who is a career .231 hitter, has the second most hits of any left-handed hitter on the Detroit Tigers‘ 25-man roster. It is still early, but that is a rather ominous sign for the Tigers.
Going forward, the team may need to get a bit more production from the left side of the plate if they wish to reach their ultimate goal of winning their first World Series title in 30 years.
Alex Avila continues to have a hard time getting it going as he is still batting .125 (2-for-16) with nine strikeouts. The young Tyler Collins recorded his first two hits of the year in last night’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, but he is still only batting .154 on the young season.
Some are also concerned about the fact that Collins batted only .219 against right-handed pitching last season at Double-A Erie even though he is a left-handed hitter. There is no question that Collins is going to be a great player someday, but some feel that he would benefit from getting more consistent at-bats in Triple-A Toledo where he could work on his numbers against RHP.
That said, Collins still has the talent and potential to catch fire at this level as well, and right now the Tigers really need to keep him on the roster especially now that Torii Hunter has suffered a day-to-day injury.
Lastly, the lightweight switch-hitting shortstop Andrew Romine has only had one hit in 11 plate appearances, and no one is expecting him to do much with the bat this season.
All in all, switch-hitting Victor Martinez has the only left-handed stick that the Tigers can truly depend on at the moment. Martinez went 3-for-3 in last night’s game with a 10th inning home run which ultimately won the game for the Tigers. He is now batting .321 this season, and he has four of the Tigers’ five left-handed RBIs so far.
Sooner or later, though, one of the other four lefties on the Tigers’ roster is going to have to help Martinez pick up some of the slack or the team may need to consider making another move.
Tigers left-handed outfield prospect Daniel Fields has been playing rather well in Triple-A as he has hit to the tune of a .273 batting average with a homer and three RBIs thus far, but he showed signs in Spring Training that he may not be ready for MLB pitching at this point in his young career.
Considering that Andy Dirks is going to be out until at least June, along with the fact that there is no guarantee of how well he will perform upon his return, the Tigers may be wise to begin scouring the trade market to find a veteran left-handed bat that they can throw into the lineup against RHP.
Everyone is concerned about the continuation of the Tigers’ bullpen woes, but the lack of a second player who can provide consistency from the left side of the plate has the potential to be troublesome as well.