In June of 2005, the Detroit Tigers acquired second baseman Placido Polanco from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for Ugueth Urbina and Ramon Martinez in what would prove to be one of GM Dave Dombrowski‘s all-time greatest trades. Polanco’s best season as a Tiger came back in 2007 when he recorded 200 hits and batted a cool .341. Polanco would remain a fixture at second base and the No. 2 spot in the lineup through the 2009 season, and his departure would prove to be nothing short of disastrous.
Going into the 2010 season, 25-year-old Scott Sizemore was labeled the heir apparent to Polanco, but he would struggle mightily. The Tigers would then use a combination of players such as Danny Worth, Will Rhymes, Ramon Santiago and Ryan Raburn in a futile attempt to fill this gaping hole on the right side of their infield. It was not until July of 2012 when the Tigers finally solved their second base problem by acquiring former Tiger Omar Infante from the Miami Marlins, along with Anibal Sanchez.
Infante did a nice job for the Tigers, batting .257 during the time he spent with the team in 2012 and a stellar .318 in an injury-shortened, 118-game season last year. However, Infante’s replacement, Ian Kinsler, who was acquired from the Texas Rangers in exchange for Prince Fielder last November, is currently on pace to put up the best season the Tigers have seen from a second baseman since the days of Polanco.
According to ESPN, Kinsler is currently on track to play in 160 games and slash .308/.343/.489 with 21 home runs, 53 doubles, 88 RBIs and record a whopping 210 hits. If he can manage to stay on his current pace and notch more than 200 hits, he will achieve something that no other Tigers second baseman has accomplished since Polanco during his aforementioned 2007 season.
As a matter of fact, the year Polanco reached the 200-hit plateau, Magglio Ordonez also swatted 216 base hits and won his first and only batting title, but since then, only one Tiger has recorded 200 or more hits in a single season, which would be Miguel Cabrera during his Triple Crown season in 2012, when he stroked 205 base knocks. The fact that Kinsler is on pace to do something that so few Tigers have done in recent memory is truly a testament to how great his season has been going up to this point.
It should also be noted that Kinsler’s teammate Victor Martinez is on pace for an even 200 hits, and Cabrera is on pace for 198 this season.