Reading the title to this article may have had you wondering, “how in the hell can Quintin Berry be compared to Magglio”? Well, that’s simple, minor league batting average.
Almost all the Berry naysayers tend to bring up his career .267 minor league batting average. Making it their case that he’ll be just that in the big leagues. But, I bet a majority of those naysayers didn’t know former Tigers’ All-Star right-fielder Magglio Ordóñez was a career .269 minor league hitter. That’s right, career .300 hitter and former batting champ, Magglio Ordóñez was a .269 CAREER MINOR LEAGUE HITTER! Now, Magglio was 23 and a power hitter in the minors. Berry on the other hand wasn’t any of those but, the point is minor leagues stats don’t necessarily make a major league hitter.
Now, before everyone gets all hostile, I’m not saying Berry will be Magglio and become a career .300 major leaguer. All I’m doing is showing you how little minor league stats can mean towards a hitter. Sure, 2,500+ at-bats is not a small sample size but, that doesn’t mean the hitter didn’t learn something from a coach or film session that showed or taught him how to fix a flaw or flaws in his swing. Or, maybe it’s a newfound confidence? The desire to win? The desire to play everyday? Or, the desire to prove the naysayers wrong? Who knows?
In yesterday’s series finale against the Rockies, Berry was inserted into the lineup, playing left-field and batting second. He promptly went 5-for-5 with a run scored and a stolen base. The stolen base was his ninth of the year. Increasing his team lead over Austin Jackson to three. Granted it was against the Rockies, some of the worst pitching in the league, still one helluva feat.
After the game, the social media universe exploded, mostly being Twitter. All the Berry Lovers once again, called for him to be the everyday left-fielder. While, all the Berry Naysayers, called foul and said it was just one of those once-in-a-lifetime games. Which they’re probably right but, who knows, it could happen again. Right?
In my opinion, with the way the team is set up right now. With Dirks still on the DL and not getting much better, Boesch, showing spurts of greatness but, not consistently and Delmon, struggling to produce behind the Big Boys. Berry deserve a shot, in the right situation. What do I mean by that? It’s simple, play Berry until his well runs dry meaning, play him until he stops producing. Having Jackson and Berry back-to-back to start off a game, puts a lot of pressure on opposing pitchers. Which I think, adds another advantage to an already scary lineup.
On a 162 game average, Berry stats would look as follows, .333/.409/.436/.845 127 runs, 183 hits, 42 RBI, and 63 steals. Impressive right? Likely to happen, probably not.
Now, on the flip-side of the situation. Once Dirks gets back from his leg injury, Boesch becomes more consistent as well as Raburn, what happens to Berry then? Bench? Minors? Traded? Released? I’ll take the latter in being placed on the bench. His speed and ability to make the big-time catch, is to valuable to let go. He’d then be used as a pinch-runner or hitter, spot starter and defensively replacement off Jim Leyland’s bench.
Quintin adds a tremendous amount of speed to the Tigers’ lineup. Not only on the base paths but, also in the field. He’s a true base stealer which, the Tigers haven’t had one of those since as far as I can remember, Brian L. Hunter back in 1997. He stole 74 bases that year. Wow!
If Berry can continue to produce consistently out of the 2 spot and as long as Dirks is out, Jim should look to play Berry as much as possible. Tigers’ are a different animal with him in there.