Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE
None of these four players profiled today projects to receive much playing time in the MLB this year. But there's a chance three of them might get into some games. Who's the best bet to handle the opportunity?
Hello sports fans! There's no football next Sunday. Well, notable football, anyway. Sorry to start you off with a sad. But spring training arrives in 23 days, so that's good, right?
A 21-year-old in February, the infielder is another one of those no-bat-all-glove guys, as evidenced by an OPS of .561 in Low-A and .534 in Advanced-A. If he continues along that curve he'll have an OPS of around .450 if he ever reaches the majors.
Most likely, he's going to have to even out at some point. Maybe when he fills out he'll even make some positive progress with the bat. That's a plot to follow with our minor league coverage. Brian remains more optimistic than I am. I suspect that's a theme you'll see pretty much always, as I am an old curmudgeon when it comes to prospects.
As for the majors, it's rather unlikely Machado's doing anything in 2013.
He doesn't turn 22 until March, but this infield has already made his major league debut. (Of course, that was due more to the fact he was on the 40-man roster and available for a brief stint than for any other reason).
Perez has done better at the plate than his Lakeland teammate, Machado. (The next great Ramon-and-Omar duo?) As a fielder, Perez gets the job done fine.
The Tigers have a log jam of major league utilitymen: Danny Worth, Jeff Kobernus and Ramon Santiago are jockeying for position. Santiago's on the last year of his contract and Kobernus was a Rule 5 pick who'll have to be offered back to his original team if he doesn't stick on the MLB roster. Add in Don Kelly trying to earn his way back onto the roster and you've got a mess. At least Worth has an option.
Long story short, if the spontaneous combustion of having too many players and not enough roster spots for them wipes out a few of these guys, Perez might just be in line for some MLB utility time in 2013.
Well, at least the glove travels.
It appeared as if the Tigers were content to head into 2013 with Holaday as Alex Avila's backup. The addition of two more catchers to the 40-man roster has made that seem rather unlikely. With Brayan Pena signed during the offseason, Holaday -- the only of the four who cannot bat left handed, as two are switch hitters -- is little more than insurance.
And it's easy to see why. It's not that you expect your catchers to bat -- it's a bonus. But oh man. He had an OPS of .583 in 13 plate appearances in 2012. In Toledo the rest of the year, it wasn't much better at .632.
Cabrera was the other catcher acquired this offseason by the Tigers. He came from Pittsburgh in a deal that took Andrew Oliver off the Tigers' hands. Er paws. Whatever. Cabrera was the Florida State League's batting champ in 2011 with a .343 average. He batted .278 with a .713 OPS across (mainly) Double-A and (a few plate appearances at) Triple-A in 2012.
At 5-8, Cabrera is a bit shorter than teams tend to like, but he does carry 195 pounds on that frame. For all the size, he has just 13 home runs across 1,631 plate appearances. Minor League Ball also notes he's "a good receiver" but that his arm strength is limited.
Like Holaday, he's said to be a solid backup candidate at the MLB level. Whether Holaday or Cabrera sees playing time in 2013 could be decided by whoever is the hotter player at the time. Undoubtedly, one of them -- and maybe both -- will get some number of games under their belt.