In Spring Training, Ezequiel Carrera was mentioned as one of the Detroit Tigers‘ several internal candidates to fill the void that was created when Andy Dirks was lost to a back injury. However, the job ultimately went to Tyler Collins who would later join Carrera in triple-A Toledo.
The left-handed Carrera has been tearing it up during his first month down in Toledo. He currently owns a slash line of .326/.404/.453 with two home runs, 15 RBIs and 13 stolen bases. The Tigers could certainly use production such as that out of a left-handed bat at the moment. Carrera’s speed would fit nicely into this year’s new-look Tigers team as well.
Carrera, who is still only 26 years old, has had a few brief stints in the major leagues with the Cleveland Indians and Philadelphia Phillies, but he is just a career .251 hitter with only two big league home runs. He is, however, a lifetime .286 hitter in the minor leagues. It is important to note that switch-hitting Victor Martinez is one of only four left-handed hitters on the Tigers’ 25-man roster. He is also, for the most part, the only one of them who is producing.
The Tigers’ switch-hitting shortstop, Andrew Romine, is batting just .229 and a mere .185 from the left side of the dish. Left-handed hitting catcher Alex Avila continues to struggle to the tune of a .220 batting average. Utility man Don Kelly may be batting .316 in 19 at-bats, but he is a lifetime .231 hitter and his average is very likely to drop once he starts getting more at-bats. That is it for Tigers hitters who bat left-handed.
The Tigers recently brought up the power-hitting J.D. Martinez, who gives their team a dimension they have not had since Marcus Thames: a big bat who can come off of the bench and deliver a home run. A look at Martinez’s minor league career suggests that he may have even more untapped potential. However, the fact remains that he is yet another right-handed hitter.
If the Tigers decide that they need another left-handed bat to counter right-handed pitching, they should find that they have a pretty good option in Carrera. Perhaps he is finally ready to translate some of his minor league numbers into success at the big-league level.