OF Matt Tuiasosopo Is Making A Case To Head North With The Tigers In Spring Training
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By Matthew Lafave (Tigers Correspondent) Follow @MatthewLafave
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.
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:
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.
*** 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 Follow @MatthewLafave
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Posted on March 19, 2013, in MLB Player Profiles, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged @matthewlafave on twitter, andy dirks, avisail garcia, chris shelton, detroit examiner', don kelly, jeff kobernus, Jim Leyland, matt tuiasosopo, matthew lafave, nick castellanos, quinton berry, tigers, Tigers 25 Man roster, Tigers Spring Training, toldeo mudhens, washington nationals. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.