Brennan Boesch is having a pretty nice 10 days. He turned 25-years-old on April 12. So the birthday boy gave his Triple-A Toledo teammates a present in the form of a 3-run homer.
Since then, all he's done is hit .421 with a .511 on-base percentage and .711 slugging average, along with six extra-base hits and 11 RBI.
And Thursday, when Carlos Guillen's hamstring said "no mas!" as he rounded third base, the wheels started rolling to give the onetime California Golden Bear his major league opportunity.
Today, Guillen hit the 15-day disabled list, and the Tigers immediately penciled Boesch into the lineup.
(Where, exactly, has not been announced.) He is hitting in Guillen's old spot -- because why wouldn't he? -- as the DH.
Let's hope he makes the best of it.Boesch is a guy I am quite intrigued to see play. In March when a podcast had me on as the guest and asked who I thought the Tigers' surprise player of 2010 could be, Boesch was my top pick. He plays enough defense to get the playing time, bats left handed and has power to spare. I thought he could be exactly the kind of player the Tigers could use as soon as Guillen went down yet again.
So naturally, I like this move just fine.
But I do think we have to have a bit of suspicion when looking at his numbers.
He hit 27 home runs in Double-A Erie last year and he's got a .379 average with .455 OBP and .621 slugging this year at Triple-A. And hey, he's even stolen two bases!
Year-to-date, he's been the Mudhens' best hitter. So if the Tigers aren't thinking along with me about all the other reasons to call up Boesch, they're picking the hot hand. The problem with going with the hot hand is that it inevitably cools off.
In this case, we have to look no further than his peripheral stats to begin to worry. His .379 average is buoyed by a .500 BABIP. That's almost .200 higher than his career .316. He's hitting a line drive percentage of 34.1, which is more than twice his career numbers. His batting average is fully .100 more than his career average as well. And really, if you want to get right down to it he's only had one year of exhibiting any power, and that was 2009.
It is certainly possible that something clicked for him when he entered Double-A and he'll continue to rake the ball like he has for the past two years, even when you take the inevitable cooling off into consideration. But if he doesn't, I'm not exactly going to be surprised by it.
The best alternative choice would have been Casper Wells. He is also more likely to carry out the statistical start he has had in Toledo, as both his batting statistics and their peripheral numbers are much more in line with the past several seasons of his career.
So for me, the decision to call Boesch up is best viewed as a curiosity. Let's see what he can do. Maybe he's a corner outfielder for the Tigers next year; maybe he's not.
We'll see real soon.