The Detroit Tigers have been missing a big piece of the team since the start of the season. With J.D. Martinez out of action after an injury during spring training, the Tigers have been employing a platoon approach to the outfield. Martinez has been working himself back into game shape and has been seeing some time in extended spring games recently. He has even hit some bumps in the road during that recovery.
J.D. Martinez fouled ball off his other foot in an extended spring game today. X-rays negative.
— Evan Woodbery (@evanwoodbery) May 1, 2017
So, the good news is that Martinez is getting closer to a return to Comerica Park. Even if he is experiencing some soreness in his sprained foot he is expected to be back in right field in the fairly near future. The question is, what happens to the roster after J.D. is back in the locker room?
According to MLB.com, here are the outfielders currently listed on the active Detroit roster:
- Jim Adduci
- Tyler Collins
- Mikie Mahtook
- Andrew Romine
- Justin Upton
Roster regulars like Upton and Romine aren’t going anywhere. So, it’s up to the management to send someone else down to make room in right field. Let’s take a look at the candidates.
Adduci has been a nice surprise since joining the Tigers. Granted, there is a limited sample size of just 8 games, but, he has a .299 batting average in those appearances. Going 8 for 27 is nothing to sneeze at, especially considering that half of those hits have gone for extra bases. Also, his left-handed bat is a plus for the Tigers.
Another left-hander, Collins is hitting a solid .288 with 2 home runs for Detroit this season. Defensively, he is a bit of a liability, but, he has been playing well this year and getting along with his teammates and fans so far this season. He has kept his emotions (and middle finger) in check so far as well.
Mahtook was brought in from Tampa Bay in the offseason and appears to be part of the future of the outfield. A better defender than Collins or Adduci, Mahtook certainly has that going for him. However, his offense (.194, 1 HR, 3 RBI) has been lacking so far this season.
The wild card in this scenario is JaCoby Jones. While this youngster has had a positive impact on the field in terms of energy and production on the base paths, Jones was recently sidelined with a scary injury when he was hit by a pitch in the face. Jones is currently on the disabled list, but, could be a factor if he’s ready before Martinez is.
The most likely scenario is that Adduci is sent down to the minors when Martinez is healthy. I’m expecting even if Jones is healthy and ready to play, the Tigers will assign him to Toledo in order to get more experience. Collins is a bit of a defensive liability, but, has more experience and pop in his bat. Mahtook will stay up for defense and the fact that he is likely the outfielder of the future for Detroit. That makes center field a platoon from Collins and Mahtook with Upton in left and Martinez in right. Romine is always available in a pinch if needed.
Collins is a bit of a defensive liability, but, has more experience and pop in his bat. Mahtook will stay up for defense and the fact that he is likely the outfielder of the future for Detroit. That makes center field a platoon from Collins and Mahtook with Upton in left and Martinez in right. Romine is always available in a pinch if needed.
The Tigers have been fortunate that Adduci has been hot offensively since joining the team. However, with Martinez to return fairly soon, Adduci will likely be the odd-man out of the outfield rotation.