Friday, March 19, 2010

Grand beginning

Two of the biggest questions for the Tigers is whether they will be able to adequately replace the production of Curtis Granderson and Placido Polanco with rookies Austin Jackson and Scott Sizemore. So far so good.

Jackson, one of the key pieces in the three-team deal that sent Granderson to the Yankees, has impressed everyone in spring training. He is batting .424/.513/.667 in 33 ABs. He has struck out only four times while walking six. You can't read too much into spring stats, but I'd rather see this than see him struggling. His defense has been reported to be very good, as advertised.

Last year at Triple-A, Jackson batted .300/.354/.405 in 504 ABs. The previous year, he posted a .285/.354/.419 line at Double-A. He totaled 43 SB (10 caught) those two seasons. His RC/27 last year was approximately 5.2, which is not bad, but one might prefer a little more at that level.

Sizemore, returning from a broken ankle in the Arizona Fall League, has struggled this spring, batting .200/.351/.300. At least the OBP is decent. Sizemore has been a solid hitter throughout the minor (the knock on him is with the leather). Sizemore batted a combined .308/.389/.500 last year in Double-A (228 ABs) and Triple-A (292 ABs) with 21 SB in 25 attempts. His approximate RC/27 was 7.1, which I would consider a very solid.

Granderson and Polanco ranked No. 2 and No. 3 in RC for the Tigers last year, behind only Miguel Cabrera. It should be noted their production was good, but not great, so the pressure to fill those shoes is lessened a bit. Still, Detroit needs for Jackson and Sizemore to produce at decent levels to make up for the departures.

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