Since pitchers and catchers are the first to report, I thought I would begin my take on the 2010 Tigers by position, and start with the hardest working men in baseball, most under appreciated, the catchers.
Some of my favorite players over the years have been catchers. My favorite all time non-Tiger is Craig Biggio, who came up as a catcher. My favorite current Tiger, after Grandy left, is Brandon Inge, who spent a lot a time behind the plate. I think Pudge Rodriguez calls a great game, has a great arm, and is just what the Nationals need to build their young pitching staff.
Gerald Laird struggled at the plate last year, but behind it he impressed me and apparently Mr. Leyland too, who has committed to Laird as the starting C, defensively one of the best in the game, but Alex Avila belongs behind the plate. He should be the future here. I understand that having basically 3 rookies in the lineup (Jackson and Sizemoore) not a good idea, and Laird handled the 5th best pitching staff in the MLB last year just fine, but man, can Avila hit.
His first year after being drafted in 2008, he gets called up in August, and hits 5 hr/14 rbis in 61 AB. Project that out to 500 ABs that is 40 hr, 112 rbis. I know it doesn’t quite work like that, and even the best catchers get 400 AB a year (thats still 32/91) but just imagine. Maybe, maybe not, but I am a big fan of the kid, lets get him in there.
Did you know he was drafted by the Tigers twice? Once in 2005, but he choose Alabama instead, then again in 2008. Maybe it is because his dad is the Tigers VP/assistant GM?
If the TIgers struggle to score runs again this year, and if the pitching just at minimum repeats last years performance, which I think we will be better, then maybe injecting the kid Avila into the lineup might, maybe, just what they need.