Tag:Alex Avila
Posted on: July 3, 2011 12:11 pm
Edited on: July 3, 2011 12:45 pm
 

All-Star starters announced

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Here's your leading vote-getters at each All-Star position, with the Yankees and Brewers leading the way:

American League

DH: David Ortiz, Red Sox

C: Alex Avila, Tigers

1B: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox

2B: Robinson Cano, Yankees

SS: Derek Jeter, Yankees

3B: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees

OF: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays*

OF: Curtis Granderson, Yankees

OF: Josh Hamilton, Rangers

National League

C: Brian McCann, Braves

1B: Prince Fielder, Brewers

2B: Rickie Weeks, Brewers

SS: Jose Reyes, Mets

3B: Placido Polanco, Phillies

OF: Ryan Braun, Brewers**

OF: Lance Berkman, Cardinals

OF: Matt Kemp, Dodgers

* Overall leading vote-getter

** National League leading vote-getter

 My initial thought is the fans got it pretty much right -- with, of course, the notable exception of Derek Jeter. He's the only one who has no business on the team, but 16 of 17 isn't too shabby.

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Posted on: June 24, 2011 12:55 pm
Edited on: June 25, 2011 12:17 am
 

Picking All-Stars on performance, not popularity

Adrian Gonzalez

By Evan Brunell


The final week of All-Star voting is around the corner, and it can only be done online. That's the perfect opportunity for me to unveil my own All-Star ballot, and I'll be part of a record.

Fans so far have cast 250 million votes (which is misleading because each e-mail address can vote up to a whopping 25 times), which broke the record from 2009, with 223.4 million votes, as MLB.com reports.

Rosters will be unveiled on Sunday, July 3, but until then there are still plenty of races to be decided. I'm not really a fan of voting when the chance to do so opens in late April, because... come on. That's why this will be my first ballot, so let's take a ride through who I select and why. To vote yourself, simply click here.

All statistics prior to Thursday's games.

AMERICAN LEAGUE BALLOT

C: Alex Avila, Tigers -- Russell Martin is surely a lucky dude as he gets to play in New York, hit .233/.342/.407 (with much of his value tied up in a scorching April) and yet Alex Avila quietly puts up a .300/.373/.532 line in Detroit -- outhitting every other catcher in the game. Well, that stops now. Simply put: Anyone who votes for Martin clearly doesn't get what the All-Star Game is about: putting the best players on the field, not the players who play in a big media market.

1B: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox -- Do you really need an explanation? OK, let's give it a go. Gonzalez's .359 batting average is 24 points better than Jose Reyes', whose .335 mark leads the senior circuit. Gonzo also leads baseball with 69 RBI, 109 hits and 25 doubles. Oh, and those 15 home runs aren't bad at all. Overall, that's a scintillating .359/.410/.609 mark. Dude loves being out of Petco.

2B: Howie Kendrick, Angels -- Quick, who is the best offensive second baseman in the league? If you said Robinson Cano, you're right -- but it's not by much. Cano is currently raking at a .299/.344/.520 mark, but Kendrick is right there with a .305/.362/.498, barely a step behind. Kendrick is also the better defender at second base and in my version of the All-Star Game, defense counts too.

SS: Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians -- Apologies to Alexei Ramirez who actually grades out better once you factor in defense, but I can live with Cabrera's D (which isn't bad by any means) in order to get his bat in the lineup. The offensive difference is simply too great as Cabrera is delivering on the promise he showed in 2009 with a .298/.351/.498 mark with 12 home runs and 12 stolen bases. He actually has a similar offensive game to Jhonny Peralta, but the stolen bases were the clincher.

3B: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees -- Many have thought A-Rod's best days are behind him and while that's certainly true, he's still the best third baseman in the game, although that designation means a little less in what is a surprisingly weak class this year. All due respect to Rodriguez, who deserves the honor with 13 bombs and a .296/.375/.510 line. Kevin Youkilis actually appears to be the better hitter, but it's close and while I don't really trust Rodriguez's fielding metrics this year that show him as a top fielder, not many would argue he's worse than Youk in the field.

OF: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays -- .325/.470/.645. Next!

OF: Curtis Granderson, Yankees -- Granderson is exploding into the 40-homer monster a few people (cough, me, cough) predicted after his trade to the Yankees. It took until his second season, but he's keeping pace with Bautista in the home run department, just two behind with 20. He's even hitting lefties this season, and once you add in his speed and fielding, it's all over.

OF: Alex Gordon, Royals -- There were several candidates for this position, most notably Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner. Gordon gets the call here with a 288/.356/.483 line, better Gardner and just under Ellsbury. While Gordon is a left fielder and Ellsbury is plying his trade in center, Ellsbury has bad fielding instincts which his speed hides quite a bit. Gordon, meanwhile, is a sound fielder, all the more impressive given he came up and began his career as a third baseman. Plus, someone from Kansas City's got to make it.

DH: David Ortiz, Red Sox -- Big Papi is turning back the clock with his best batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage since 2007, the last year he was truly the Big Bad Papi. At .313/.391/.586 with 17 homers, he's enjoying quite the renaissance and has earned this nomination.

ReyesNATIONAL LEAGUE BALLOT

C: Brian McCann, Braves -- Alex Avila is outhitting every catcher in the game as mentioned above, but Brian McCann is trying his hardest to take away that distinction with a .305/.380/.523 line. McCann, who already has an All-Star MVP to his name by knocking a bases-clearing double in the 2010 Game to finally give the NL a victory, deserves the chance to start for the first time in what will be his sixth All-Star Game.

1B: Prince Fielder, Brewers -- The loss of Albert Pujols makes this an easier crop to sift through, and Fielder comes away with the prize. Really, it's between the Brewer and Joey Votto, with apologies to Gaby Sanchez. While Votto's the better fielder (pun unintended), Prince's 20 home runs are 11 more than Votto and he's miles ahead of the 2010 NL MVP in power production at this point.

2B: Rickie Weeks, Brewers -- Weeks joins Fielder in creating an all-Brewer right side of the infield, and he's deserving. Following up his breakout 2010 campaign, Weeks has gotten right back at it with a .287/.356/.498 line. He's also picking up his speed, already swiping seven bases after just 11 last season.

SS: Jose Reyes, Mets -- This one just isn't close at all; Reyes' 4.2 Wins Above Replacement (which combines offense, defense and baserunning) is miles ahead of the next best mark at the position, held by both Troy Tulowitzki and Alexei Ramirez. Reyes is simply doing it all in a season that could net him a $150 million contract in the offseason, and is just one of three shortstops with at least 20 stolen bases. Naturally, he leads all of them with 26.

3B: Chase Headley, Padres -- I didn't quite realize how unimpressive the third-base crop was in the NL, but none separate themselves from the pack. I suppose that's what happens when Ryan Zimmerman, David Wright and Pablo Sandoval all knock themselves out of the running due to being injured. Ryan Roberts has one of the best seasons of any NL third baseman that qualifies for the batting title, but his entire value with the bat is packed into April. So Headley it is, who is hitting .295/.389/.402, a pleasantly surprising number for the former left fielder who is enjoying his best season so far. 

OF:  Matt Kemp, Dodgers -- Kemp is already a member of the 20/20 club and has put to rest any ideas that he doesn't care enough with an impressive .328/.420/.620 line, with his slugging percentage leading all of the NL. He's added 20 home runs, 15 doubles and 58 RBI as a major, major reason the Dodgers can still kinda/sorta call themselves contenders after injuries have decimated their team.

OF: Matt Holliday, Cardinals -- I don't think Holliday misses Coors Field, do you? He definitely doesn't miss the Coliseum in Oakland or whatever the heck it's called these days. He's doing just fine in St. Louis with a .335/.439/.555 line. I have to admit, I didn't realize Holliday was hitting this well. Of all the big outfield boppers in the game, he flies under the radar the most.

OF: Shane Victorino, Phillies -- I feel as if no matter who I pick here, I'm leaving off quite a few deserving candidates. It's true -- where is Ryan Braun? Lance Berkman? Andrew McCutchen? Justin Upton? But I'm loving the year Victorino is having with a .296/.362/.511 line with 11 stolen bases in 58 games after missing time due to injury. (Kemp, for comparison, has played in 76 games.) Add in his excellent fielding and smart baserunning, and Victorino is bringing the whole package this year.

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Posted on: June 24, 2011 12:55 pm
Edited on: June 25, 2011 12:17 am
 

Picking All-Stars on performance, not popularity

Adrian Gonzalez

By Evan Brunell


The final week of All-Star voting is around the corner, and it can only be done online. That's the perfect opportunity for me to unveil my own All-Star ballot, and I'll be part of a record.

Fans so far have cast 250 million votes (which is misleading because each e-mail address can vote up to a whopping 25 times), which broke the record from 2009, with 223.4 million votes, as MLB.com reports.

Rosters will be unveiled on Sunday, July 3, but until then there are still plenty of races to be decided. I'm not really a fan of voting when the chance to do so opens in late April, because... come on. That's why this will be my first ballot, so let's take a ride through who I select and why. To vote yourself, simply click here.

All statistics prior to Thursday's games.

AMERICAN LEAGUE BALLOT

C: Alex Avila, Tigers -- Russell Martin is surely a lucky dude as he gets to play in New York, hit .233/.342/.407 (with much of his value tied up in a scorching April) and yet Alex Avila quietly puts up a .300/.373/.532 line in Detroit -- outhitting every other catcher in the game. Well, that stops now. Simply put: Anyone who votes for Martin clearly doesn't get what the All-Star Game is about: putting the best players on the field, not the players who play in a big media market.

1B: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox -- Do you really need an explanation? OK, let's give it a go. Gonzalez's .359 batting average is 24 points better than Jose Reyes', whose .335 mark leads the senior circuit. Gonzo also leads baseball with 69 RBI, 109 hits and 25 doubles. Oh, and those 15 home runs aren't bad at all. Overall, that's a scintillating .359/.410/.609 mark. Dude loves being out of Petco.

2B: Howie Kendrick, Angels -- Quick, who is the best offensive second baseman in the league? If you said Robinson Cano, you're right -- but it's not by much. Cano is currently raking at a .299/.344/.520 mark, but Kendrick is right there with a .305/.362/.498, barely a step behind. Kendrick is also the better defender at second base and in my version of the All-Star Game, defense counts too.

SS: Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians -- Apologies to Alexei Ramirez who actually grades out better once you factor in defense, but I can live with Cabrera's D (which isn't bad by any means) in order to get his bat in the lineup. The offensive difference is simply too great as Cabrera is delivering on the promise he showed in 2009 with a .298/.351/.498 mark with 12 home runs and 12 stolen bases. He actually has a similar offensive game to Jhonny Peralta, but the stolen bases were the clincher.

3B: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees -- Many have thought A-Rod's best days are behind him and while that's certainly true, he's still the best third baseman in the game, although that designation means a little less in what is a surprisingly weak class this year. All due respect to Rodriguez, who deserves the honor with 13 bombs and a .296/.375/.510 line. Kevin Youkilis actually appears to be the better hitter, but it's close and while I don't really trust Rodriguez's fielding metrics this year that show him as a top fielder, not many would argue he's worse than Youk in the field.

OF: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays -- .325/.470/.645. Next!

OF: Curtis Granderson, Yankees -- Granderson is exploding into the 40-homer monster a few people (cough, me, cough) predicted after his trade to the Yankees. It took until his second season, but he's keeping pace with Bautista in the home run department, just two behind with 20. He's even hitting lefties this season, and once you add in his speed and fielding, it's all over.

OF: Alex Gordon, Royals -- There were several candidates for this position, most notably Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner. Gordon gets the call here with a 288/.356/.483 line, better Gardner and just under Ellsbury. While Gordon is a left fielder and Ellsbury is plying his trade in center, Ellsbury has bad fielding instincts which his speed hides quite a bit. Gordon, meanwhile, is a sound fielder, all the more impressive given he came up and began his career as a third baseman. Plus, someone from Kansas City's got to make it.

DH: David Ortiz, Red Sox -- Big Papi is turning back the clock with his best batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage since 2007, the last year he was truly the Big Bad Papi. At .313/.391/.586 with 17 homers, he's enjoying quite the renaissance and has earned this nomination.

ReyesNATIONAL LEAGUE BALLOT

C: Brian McCann, Braves -- Alex Avila is outhitting every catcher in the game as mentioned above, but Brian McCann is trying his hardest to take away that distinction with a .305/.380/.523 line. McCann, who already has an All-Star MVP to his name by knocking a bases-clearing double in the 2010 Game to finally give the NL a victory, deserves the chance to start for the first time in what will be his sixth All-Star Game.

1B: Prince Fielder, Brewers -- The loss of Albert Pujols makes this an easier crop to sift through, and Fielder comes away with the prize. Really, it's between the Brewer and Joey Votto, with apologies to Gaby Sanchez. While Votto's the better fielder (pun unintended), Prince's 20 home runs are 11 more than Votto and he's miles ahead of the 2010 NL MVP in power production at this point.

2B: Rickie Weeks, Brewers -- Weeks joins Fielder in creating an all-Brewer right side of the infield, and he's deserving. Following up his breakout 2010 campaign, Weeks has gotten right back at it with a .287/.356/.498 line. He's also picking up his speed, already swiping seven bases after just 11 last season.

SS: Jose Reyes, Mets -- This one just isn't close at all; Reyes' 4.2 Wins Above Replacement (which combines offense, defense and baserunning) is miles ahead of the next best mark at the position, held by both Troy Tulowitzki and Alexei Ramirez. Reyes is simply doing it all in a season that could net him a $150 million contract in the offseason, and is just one of three shortstops with at least 20 stolen bases. Naturally, he leads all of them with 26.

3B: Chase Headley, Padres -- I didn't quite realize how unimpressive the third-base crop was in the NL, but none separate themselves from the pack. I suppose that's what happens when Ryan Zimmerman, David Wright and Pablo Sandoval all knock themselves out of the running due to being injured. Ryan Roberts has one of the best seasons of any NL third baseman that qualifies for the batting title, but his entire value with the bat is packed into April. So Headley it is, who is hitting .295/.389/.402, a pleasantly surprising number for the former left fielder who is enjoying his best season so far. 

OF:  Matt Kemp, Dodgers -- Kemp is already a member of the 20/20 club and has put to rest any ideas that he doesn't care enough with an impressive .328/.420/.620 line, with his slugging percentage leading all of the NL. He's added 20 home runs, 15 doubles and 58 RBI as a major, major reason the Dodgers can still kinda/sorta call themselves contenders after injuries have decimated their team.

OF: Matt Holliday, Cardinals -- I don't think Holliday misses Coors Field, do you? He definitely doesn't miss the Coliseum in Oakland or whatever the heck it's called these days. He's doing just fine in St. Louis with a .335/.439/.555 line. I have to admit, I didn't realize Holliday was hitting this well. Of all the big outfield boppers in the game, he flies under the radar the most.

OF: Shane Victorino, Phillies -- I feel as if no matter who I pick here, I'm leaving off quite a few deserving candidates. It's true -- where is Ryan Braun? Lance Berkman? Andrew McCutchen? Justin Upton? But I'm loving the year Victorino is having with a .296/.362/.511 line with 11 stolen bases in 58 games after missing time due to injury. (Kemp, for comparison, has played in 76 games.) Add in his excellent fielding and smart baserunning, and Victorino is bringing the whole package this year.

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Posted on: June 23, 2011 11:53 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 4:33 pm
 

Josh Hamilton's struggles due to blue eyes?

Hamilton

By Evan Brunell


Josh Hamilton thinks he knows why he struggles in day games.

It's his blue eyes.

"I ask guys all the time" as to whether they struggle in day games, Hamilton told ESPN 103.3 FM" "Guys with blue eyes, brown eyes, whatever ... and guys with blue eyes have a tough time."

Hamilton is hitting .297/.360/.513 in his follow-up campaign to his MVP season, which is an impressive mark but quite a bit off his line from 2010. Yet, if you look at just his night numbers, he's tossing up silly numbers with a .376/.415/.661 line in 118 PA. His day numbers are a different story, as he's flailing to the tune of a .112/.246/.184 mark in 57 PA. Hamilton had a wide split in 2010 too, but it wasn't as severe: .286/.345/.474 in the day and .384/.433/.688 at night.

"It's just hard for me to see [at the plate] in the daytime," Hamilton said. "It's just what it is. Try to go up [to the plate] squinting and see a white ball while the sun is shining right off the plate, you know, and beaming right up in your face."

The solution could be in a pair of sunglasses that he used in the field last season, but could not find. Until now.

"Hopefully that'll help my eyes relax enough to take them off and bat and put them on again," Hamilton said.

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Posted on: June 15, 2011 11:22 am
 

Tigers may play C Avila at third in NL parks

By Evan Brunell

AvilaManager Jim Leyland isn't pleased about the fact he will have to remove one of his best hitters from the lineup when interleague play begins. Miguel Cabrera is entrenched at first base, and Alex Avila has been the primary catcher behind the dish -- but Detroit can't remove Victor Martinez from the lineup. That's caused Leyland to get a little creative in his thinking.

“I’m contemplating playing Alex a game at third," Leyland told the Detroit Free Press. "I had him quietly take some grounders [at third] yesterday. It’s just a thought I’m having to get his and Victor’s bat in there. I’m trying to be a little creative. It’s not a major story.

“I’m trying to be creative because it’s six in a row. I hate to lose those bats. I’m not saying I’m even going to do it. I’m just thinking. I’m wracking my brain so I can have those bats in there."

Even the Tigers were taken aback at Avila's progression, as he is currently hitting .296/.355/.545 with nine home runs and 12 doubles in 216 plate appearances. That's two more homers and doubles than he had last season in 333 PA. With Avila such an important part of the offense and what looks to be a fight for the division all year, it's understandable why Leyland is trying to find ways to put Avila in the lineup.

“There are a lot of catches to it," Leyland noted. "If you play Alex at third and then you want to take him out for defense in the seventh inning, then you’re naked at catcher.

“There are a whole lot of things that go on. You’ve got to say, ‘I’m willing to live with the consequences,’ and you’ve got enough guts to do it, or you don’t. I’m not sure.”

The Tigers head out to Colorado for a weekend series before heading to Dodger Stadium. After an off-day, they will return home next Friday to host the Diamondbacks.

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Posted on: June 10, 2011 1:14 am
Edited on: June 10, 2011 1:19 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Dunn goes deep



By Matt Snyder


Adam Dunn, White Sox. He's still on pace to have the worst season of his career by a huge margin, but Dunn's gotta be pretty happy with his performance Thursday night. After two games off, he returned to the lineup and slugged his sixth home run of the season -- his first since May 24.

Alex Avila, Tigers. Avila tripled twice in the Tigers' victory. He's a catcher, as we know, so a two-triple game has to be a rarity, right? According to Baseball-Reference.com, this was the 75th time a catcher has hit two triples since 1919. It was the 18th time in the past 40 years. The 24 year old, who was really only made the starter due to his defense, is now hitting .297 with nine homers, 33 RBI, 13 doubles and three triples. He's got a real shot to play in the All-Star Game.

Johnny Cueto, Reds. Cueto stifled the Giants Thursday night in his best start of the season. He worked seven shutout innings, allowing only four hits and two walks while striking out eight and picking up the win. It was the first scoreless appearance by a Reds starter since Homer Bailey's May 10 outing. The start also marked the sixth quality start in seven tries for Cueto, who lowered his ERA to 1.93 and could really be emerging as the ace of the Reds' deep staff. The win kept the Reds five games out in the NL Central.




Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers. If the Dodgers score seven runs for their young ace -- especially against the recently-punchless Rockies -- it should be an easy victory. Instead, Kershaw just didn't have it Thursday night in the thin air of Coors Field. He gave up seven hits, three walks and six earned runs in six innings.

Trevor Cahill, A's. The manager change didn't help in Game 1 of the Bob Melvin era for Oakland. The A's were worked over by the White Sox, 9-4, and ace Trevor Cahill was beaten down in less than three innings of work. Cahill was only able to get through 2 2/3 innings, allowing eight hits, three walks and six earned runs. He's now 0-4 with a 5.35 ERA in his last six starts -- and the A's are 0-6 in those starts. You're supposed to feel confident in a win with your ace on the hill. That's not happening. Hey, at least Cahill's healthy, though, unlike about half the Oakland pitchers who have been on the 40-man roster this year.

Ryan Madson/Placido Polanco, Phillies. There will be no repeat of Brad Lidge's 2008 season in Philly (when he saved 41 games without blowing a single chance). Ryan Madson entered the game Thursday night against the Cubs having converted all 14 of his save opportunities, but a Geovany Soto home run tied it. Madson almost took the loss, as Tyler Colvin followed with what was initially ruled a home run. The umpires ruled fan interference and a ground-rule double after video review, and Madson got out of the inning with a tie game. Then, in the top of the 11th, Placido Polanco committed a throwing error with two outs that allowed the Cubs to plate the go-ahead run. The Phillies then went down in the bottom half of the inning and lost a game they should have won.

BONUS UP AND DOWN: Joakim Soria returned to his customary role as the Royals closer and picked up the save. So that's good. It's just that he didn't look in control at all. He allowed back-to-back singles with one out and then walked the bases loaded with two outs before getting Corey Patterson to pop up and end the game. Soria faced six hitters and threw at least two balls to four of them. Both singles were hit pretty hard, too. But, again, he did lock down the save and didn't allow a run.

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Posted on: April 28, 2011 8:21 pm
 

Big leaguers dealing with storm's aftermath

By C. Trent Rosecrans

David RobertsonYankees reliever David Robertson is apparently not much different than I am -- both of us spent a good amount of the last 24 hours watching YouTube videos and looking at newspaper photo galleries of the devastation in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Robertson is a native of Tuscaloosa, while I lived there less than a year. But still, it's scary to see a place you know absolutely destroyed. Robertson said his family, which still lives in Tuscaloosa, is fine.

"For me, I pretty much know the whole town," Robertson told the Star-Ledger. "And I was looking, looking, looking through the photos trying to see something I recognize and there was nothing there. There were little things that I could recognize and that was it."

Robertson said he left Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night not knowing exactly what happened. But when he got home and turned on the TV, he learned more.

Tigers catcher Alex Avila played baseball at Alabama and called friends he knew in Tuscaloosa last night and was amazed by what he was told.

"My friend who works with the baseball team there, R.J., rode out the storm in the baseball stadium -- which didn't get hit," Avila told the Detroit News. "He said everyone with the team is fine -- we know many of the same people -- but a lot of guys lost their homes and their cars.

"One of the players rode it out in a house a teammate of mine used to rent. He was in a bathtub with a mattress over his head.

"All that was left after the storm was the foundation of the house and the bathtub. If he had gone to the other bathroom in the house, who knows what would have happened?"

Avila said the house he used to rent was destroyed. Based on what I've seen, I'm just assuming the same about my old house.

Phillies pitcher Roy Oswalt took a leave of absence to be with his family in Mississippi after a tornado went by his house. The Philadelphia Daily News' David Murphy reports Oswalt's kids were with his grandparents when a tornado went near his house. Oswalt's children and grandparents rode out the storm in a tornado shelter and are fine. Oswalt's house wasn't damaged, but "suffered extensive property damage."

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Posted on: September 22, 2010 12:07 am
Edited on: September 22, 2010 10:23 am
 

Tigers could have young offense in 2011

Austin Jackson Theoretically, the Tigers could have seven of eight position players on the diamond (excluding pitcher) be rookies from the 2010 season.

That won't happen, but it does underline how much of a transitional season 2010 was for the Tigers and how much young talent the team has in the fold.

Now it's about figuring out which ones start.

"You don't want to downplay what these kids are doing, but you don't want to get carried away, either," manager Jim Leyland told MLive.com .

"If you remember right, four months ago, people were talking about Boesch as Babe Ruth," Leyland added. "All of a sudden, that's gone away and they're talking about Will Rhymes and Casper Wells. You've got to be careful with all that.

"You've got to make sound judgments as an organization."

The seven rookies are:
  • C Alex Avila, who is hitting .228/.323/.338 as a 23-year-old in 311 plate appearances, seems to have played his way into the Tigers' plans, and should be at the very least the backup. He could enter as a starter, but it's likely Detroit pairs Avila with a veteran catcher. (Could they steal someone off the Marlins' wishlist?)
  • 2B Wil Rhymes is quickly becoming a fan favorite and has a .291/.337/.388 mark and just dinged his first home run. He has 195 PA on the year, but at 27 is likely a future utilityman or may have this be his best major-league success. With Carlos Guillen lost to microfracture surgery but eventually on the way back, second could be a position filled with various platoons of Rhymes, Danny Worth, Scott Sizemore and Ryan Raburn.
  • SS Danny Worth succeeded Adam Everett at short, but has struggled to put together a good season while losing time to injury as well, eventually manning the bench behind Jhonny Perala The 24-year-old had a .255/.295/.358 mark but has a sterling defensive reputation. Given the Tigers' interest in a pick-em man at short, Worth has a shot -- but odds are good Peralta returns.
  • Scott Sizemore was supposed to be the starting second baseman to begin 2009. Well, a left ankle fracture took care of that, but Sizemore has rebounded from that to post a .226/.302/.347 mark in 143 PA with three homers with the 25-year-old flashing a .298/.378/.472 line in 342 PA at Triple-A. Sizemore will probably start somewhere in 2011 -- whether at third or second base. Raburn could push him at third, or the team could import a hitter, minimizing second base to a plethora of candidates.
  • Casper Wells, 25, has taken Detroit by storm with three dingers in 70 trips to the plate, checking in with a .354/.400/.596 line.  Given his Triple-A line of .233/.309/.483 was decidedly more tepid, plus the struggles of Brennan Boesch, Wells won't be entering 2011 as a starter. Odds are he battles with Boesch and Raburn in one outfield position while the Tigers bring in at least one outfielder (and don't be shocked if it's a pricey one) to shore up the offense.
  • Austin Jackson (pictured) is the probable Rookie of the Year award winner and isn't going anywhere after flashing Gold Glove-caliber (as in, actually worth it instead of the numerous head-scratching Gold Glove awards that get handed out) defense and a .300/.355/.412 mark in 622 PA.
  • Brennan Boesch started the season on fire, as Leyland noticed, but a brutal second-half cool streak has brought him down to .265/.331/.432 with 14 dingers in 483 PA. The Tigers shouldn't won't allow Wells and Boesch to take up two starting spots and should have them battle for time, but with a possible outfield job and DH position vacant, Detroit may not be able to bring in two sluggers. That could hand Boesch a starting job.
There are certainly plenty of youngsters on offense, but as seems clear, the Tigers should bring in outside help.

"I think there are some ingredients here that are pretty young that can handle the job at this level, for sure," Jim Leyland noted. "But if you think you can just take all young guys and go walk through a division, that's not going to happen. You're going to get your [butt] beat."

If the Tigers run out all seven rookies in that lineup around Miguel Cabrera, then the club would certainly get their
"[butt]" beat.

 -- Evan Brunell

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com