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OF Matt Tuiasosopo Is Making A Case To Head North With The Tigers In Spring Training

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Tuesday, March.19/2013

Matt Tuiasosopo has struggled mightily during his 193 Career AB in the Major Leagues - (All with the Mariners), hitting for a 3 Slash Line of .176/.234/.540.  His Spring Training is garnering him a second look from the Detroit Tigers, but will his unimpressive Minor League numbers prove to have him as part of the Training Camp casualties before the team heads up north from Lakeland?

Matt Tuiasosopo has struggled mightily during his 193 Career AB in the Major Leagues – (All with the Mariners), hitting for a 3 Slash Line of .176/.234/.540. His Spring Training is garnering him a second look from the Detroit Tigers, but will his unimpressive Minor League numbers prove to have him as part of the Training Camp casualties before the team heads up north from Lakeland? The big man from Washington was invited to Florida as a Non – Roster Invitee.

By Matthew Lafave (Tigers Correspondent)

LAKELAND — As Spring Training nears its end here in Lakeland, the 25 – Man Roster seems far from written in stone.

The Tigers have been vocal about carrying a Right – Handed Hitting Outfielder into opening day. In fact, Jim Leyland was even quoted as being 99.9 percent sure that would happen.

So your choices seem to be down to Jeff Kobernus, Nick Castellanos, Avisail Garcia, and Matt Tuiasosopo.

Castellanos leads nearly every hitting statistic among Tigers but will likely begin the season in Toledo with the Mud Hens. His development is vital and the Tigers do not want to see him in the Majors getting little playing time off the bench.

Garcia was a strong possibility to be on the opening day roster but has recently suffered a severely bruised right heel that will keep him out for some time.’

The Legend of the Matt Tuiasosopo Home Run Prediction by Mike  Blowers:

Chris Shelton had one of the best starts ever to a season in 2006 before struggling to regain that form for the next few seasons.  By 2011, Shelton was released by the New York Mets and at age 32 is still out of baseball.

Chris Shelton had one of the best starts ever to a season in 2006 before struggling to regain that form for the next few seasons. By 2011, Shelton was released by the New York Mets and at age 32 is still out of baseball.  Nobody wants to base anybody’s future on such a small sample – size like Spring Training.

 That leaves only Kobernus and Tuiasosopo. Two players no one knows a lot about and who weren’t Tigers last season.

Kobernus and his speed gave him an early lead to make the team but his productivity has dropped greatly in spring. In 48 At-Bats he is only hitting .229 with 3 RBI and 5 Walks. He also has 0 Stolen Bases on 2 Attempts.

Tuiasosopo on the other hand has impressed everyone with his power, especially as of late. In 35 At-Bats, he is hitting .314 with 3 Home Runs, 8 RBI-  and a .714 Slugging Percentage.

Maybe you are someone who hates Spring Training stats. You could be right as no one wants another Chris Shelton on their team.

But is it worth the risk of missing out on someone who could be productive for you?

If the Tigers go with Tuiasosopo then that could mean the end for Jeff Kobernus as he was a Rule 5 Draft pick up. Meaning he would likely go back to the Washington Nationals per Rule 5 policy.

But you could see Tuiasosopo and Kobernus both on the 25 – Man Roster.

However that would mean the end for Don Kelly. The Minor League Contract he signed back on January 16th is equipped with an opt – out clause. If Kelly does not make the 25 – Man Roster then he may opt out of this contract and sign elsewhere, which he would likely do.

So putting Tuiasosopo on the 25 – Man Roster would end a Tigers career with another player. It’s hard to see Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski take any chances here and lose out on a player. So with that said, it seems likely they will take Don Kelly and Jeff Kobernus.

They won’t want to throw Kobernus away just yet and Kelly has proven to be a reliable defensive replacement late in games.

But it’s important to point out that Leyland has been getting Tuiasosopo playing time in Left Field. Meaning that he may not be a long shot like everyone has been saying.

Tuiasosopo has played nearly every position in his career. Last season in the Minors, he played everywhere except pitcher and Catcher. He mainly plays First and Third base though.

Obviously they’re testing his abilities in Left Field and if he does well, you may see him April 1st in Minnesota.

Of course you also have to throw in the name of Quintin Berry to the mix.  An OF who hit for a 3 Slash Line of .258/.330/.684 during his 291 At – Bats last year. Amongst better numbers for Berry, was that he scored 44 Runs and had 21 SB in about a half a season worth of playing time.  Holding back his numbers to lock down a spot are 80 Strikeouts and in that same time frame – and a .214 Batting Average vs LHP.

If Tuiasosopo can continue damaging baseballs and prove versatility in Left Field, then you won’t see anyone denying him his 25-Man Roster Spot.  A power hitting Right – Handed Bat would compliment Left Fielder Andy Dirks greatly. No one can deny that.

Andy Dirks had a 3 Slash Line of .322/.370/.857 for Detroit in 2012 in his 315 AB.  He also scored 56 Runs.

Andy Dirks had a 3 Slash Line of .322/.370/.857 for Detroit in 2012 in his 315 AB. He also scored 56 Runs.  Dirks has picked up in 2013 – where he left off, hitting .297/.366/.798, with 1 HR, 3 RBI and has shown more speed with 4 SB.  He is listed as #1 on the Left Field Depth Chart for the Detroit Tigers and should start for the club on Opening Day.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***

A big thank-you goes out to Our ‘Tigers Correspondent’ Matthew LaFave for preparing today’s featured article.  Matthew was born and raised outside of Detroit, Michigan. Growing up watching all of the Detroit sports with his father he began to enjoy writing about them in high school.

At first started out as e-mails between his father turned into a Detroit Lions blog website titled ‘Hear Me Roar’. Matthew would go on to get a job as ‘Detroit Tigers Writer’ at the website http://www.examiner.com. He has been writing for them for over two seasons and regularly attends games as a credentialed media member. Be sure to follow him on Twitter

matthew lafave

Please e-mail me  at: mlbreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.  To subscribe to our website and have the Daily Reports sent directly to your inbox, click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

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About chuckbooth3023

I played competitive baseball until 18 years old and had offers to play NCAA Division 1 University Baseball at Liberty University. Post-concussion symptoms from previous football and baseball head injuries forced me to retire by age 19. After two nearly made World Record Attempts in 2008, I set a New World Record by visiting all 30 MLB Parks (from 1st to last pitch) in only 24 Calendar Days in the summer 0f 2009. In April of 2012, I established yet another new GWR by visiting all 30 Parks in only 23 Calendar Days! You can see the full schedule at the page of the www.mlbreports.com/gwr-tracker . In 2015, I watched 224 MLB Games, spanning all 30 MLB Parks in 183 Days. Read about that World Record Journey at https://mlbreports.com/183in2015/229sked2015/

Posted on March 19, 2013, in MLB Player Profiles, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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