Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Tigers all-time team - The Bench

If you haven't checked out the starting lineup, go back to the last post and do that first. Has now been updated with pictures.

A team with a dominant, productive starting lineup doesn't need a bench, right? It's not like a team is going to get into the playoffs and have 2 runners on and need a big hit to keep the season alive and... Hmmm, maybe a bench is important after all. Luckily, the all-time Tigers team has that covered. I want diversity on my bench. I need to be able to pinch hit with a player capable of getting on base if we need runners on. I need a lefty slugger that can hit for one of my right handed catchers in the late innings. I need a utility player who's not really a utility player. One that can play all of the positions well, and not hit at the Don Kelly level. I need someone ready to fill in at first when Greenberg decides to run back off to war again. I'm going into the season with 11 pitchers, since I have some big time inning eaters in my rotation, so that gives me a 5 man reserve unit. Here it is - my bench.

C - Bill Freehan (1961-1976) - Freehan really could have been the starting catcher on this team. His lifetime Tiger numbers are so close to Parrish's that it's almost like they're the same player. I'd prefer that one of my catchers could hit left-handed, but that's not really an option as I'm not going to go into a season with Mickey Tettleton, Matt Nokes, or Alex Avila as my backup. When Avila is one of your top 3 lefty hitting catchers of all time, you know that's a soft spot. So, I'll just use one of my lefty hitters off the bench to hit for catcher early in the game, and then again maybe later on as I have a surprise emergency 3rd catcher available...

2B - Lou Whitaker (1977-1995) - Do I need two left-handed hitting second basemen? No, probably not. However, I can't keep Sweet Lou and his 244 lifetime Tiger HR's off my time. Just like with the catching situation, if I need a right-handed batter to pinch hit with I'll have one. Lou also has decent speed so he can be used to run for some of my slow footed power hitters.

1B - Rudy York (1934-1945) - Like I mentioned yesterday, I have a plethora of great first basemen that I can throw out here, and I'm putting four of them on my team. Luckily three of my four have position flexibility. Miggy can play third. Greenberg can play OF (while fighting off the Germans), and Rudy provides some of the greatest flexibility of all sporting a whopping 239 career Tiger games behind the plate. That's more than enough time back there to be my third catcher if needed. Rudy can also play some third base and a little outfield for me. Similar to good ole Mike Heath, but with a ton of power.

1B - Norman Cash (1960-1974) - Like I said above, I need a lefty power bat and so "Stormin' Norman" is my man. His 373 career Tiger HR's are second only to Mr. Tiger Al Kaline. That's a lot of flights out of Tiger Stadium (which is where my team is playing all its home games). Cash can really only play first base, but luckily he's money there. I was very close to putting Sam Crawford in this spot just to get a speed guy on my team, but decided to go with power. Also gave Rocky Colavito some consideration, but he bats right handed. In the end, that was costly.

IF - Carlos Guillen (2004-2011) - Carlos Guillen? You didn't see that coming, did you? However, it's time to look a little more closely at Carlos. He's a switch hitter who has played 2B, SS, and 3B very effectively. He can also play 1B and LF in a pinch. His career Tiger OPS of .842 is actually better than any Tiger SS ever, including Alan Trammell. He's perfect for filling in at third at the end of the games so Miggy can get his legs stapled back together.

The team is coming together nicely. Now we just need to get the pitching staff put together. Coming soon...

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