With a controversial trade, Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski sent a loud and clear message to Major League Baseball this winter that the Tigers are looking to reload with young, inexpensive talent. While most baseball folks felt that the Curtis Granderson and Austin Jackson deal was a steal for the Tigers, fans of the team were a little less excited.
But has anyone noticed how well the Tigers center field candidates have played this spring?
Contenders to start in CF for Tigers this spring
It should be noted however that Austin Jackson's performance this spring, coupled with his body of work in the minors over the past two seasons and the price paid to obtain him, should land the young outfielder the everyday starting spot in center field. The stat that shows that Jackson is ready for the show: He has a near 1:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio this spring after averaging a 5:2 ratio over his minor league career.
At second base, with Placido Polanco's departure this winter, the Tigers have looked to two youngsters to fill the large hole left by the crafty veteran. Scott Sizemore has been called the frontrunner for the job, and perhaps an early Rookie of the Year finalist, but Brent Dlugach has proven to be a hot commodity this spring, hitting .393 with six extra-base hits.
Despite Dlugach’s solid spring numbers, he has struck out nine times and hasn’t drawn a walk. Sizemore has managed a 1:1 strikeout to walk ratio, but hasn’t had the solid numbers that Jackson has (he enters Sunday hitting just .182). If neither can perform well once the regular season starts, expect veteran infielder Ramon Santiago or utility man Ryan Raburn to take the starting job.