Detroit makes its first visit to Minneapolis tonight. The Tigers trail the Twins by a bare half game in the AL Central, are the only team to beat the Twins in a series this year, and have won five in a row - and they're doing it with a few names you might not recognize. Below, a quick guide to the rookies that you may be hearing a lot about not only in the next few years, but this year.
#14 / Center Field / Detroit Tigers
Feb 01, 1987
- Former Yankees prospect who the Tigers got in the Curtis Granderson trade.
- Leads the American League in hits. Already has had twelve multiple-hit games. Hitting .367.
- Leads the American League in strikeouts.
- Fast. Like, really fast. Hits leadoff.
- Not actually Carlos Gomez in disguise, though you'd be forgiven for making the comparison.
- At least one columnist is saying he's an All-Star. Not a future All-Star, mind you - now.
- One downer: He's hitting .527 on the balls he puts into play, which is absurdly unsustainable, so he's likely to come back down to earth a bit.
#20 / Second Base / Detroit Tigers
Jan 04, 1985
- Went from "top prospect" to "starting second baseman" this year.
- Killed the ball at every level of the minors, including a .308 / .388 / .500 line combined at AA and AAA last year. Hit 17 homers, too.
- Despite all this, everyone seems to think his ceiling is "solid," not spectacular.
- Hitting .265; right now, he's average offensively and average defensively, and for a rookie, that's not bad. Usually eighth in the lineup.
#26 / Left Field / Detroit Tigers
Apr 12, 1985
- In the majors while Carlos Guillen is on the disabled list. Playing mostly in left, allowing Johnny Damon to DH. Has been hitting fifth for Detroit, between Miguel Cabrera and Brandon Inge.
- Led the AA Eastern League in home runs last year with 28.
- Also finished third in strikeouts, with 127.
- Possible heir apparent to Rob Deer.
- Hit his first major league home run last week, a grand slam.
- Michael Cuddyer thinks that he's not going to get cheated at the plate, as it were.