People get a little too crazy about Brandon Inge I think. He just completely drives people off the deep end. Whether they feel like he's the second coming of Brooks Robinson or whether they act like he's never made a good play or good hit in his life, people really like taking a strong opinion on Inge.
Of course, when Inge seems to compare himself to Babe Ruth, well, I can see their point.
The Detroit News quotes:
"I love Kelly, I really do, but I'm not looking to platoon. I want to play every day."
And you know what? I don't disagree. I want my team's athletes to want to play every day.
But in the case of Inge ... I don't want him to play every day.
Thankfully manager Jim Leyland cuts to what counts.
"I hope he can play every day at third, because if he is, it means he's producing.
"But he has to produce."
So I just hope here Leyland's philosophy of production is one with high expectations.
Because last year's .197 average (.265 on-base percentage, .283 slugging) isn't going to cut it. Frankly, 2010's .321 OBP and .397 slugging doesn't make me feel a bunch of warm fuzzies, either.
The thing about Inge is that he actually can hit can his reasonably well against left-handed pitchers. Even with a down year last season, his three-year splits are a .345 OBP and .460 slugging average. If he can repeat that in 2012, I'll take that.
But he can't be giving away all those at-bats against right-handed pitching -- and that's what he does. For his 3-year splits, he has a .292 OBP and .346 slugging average against right-handers.
That's why a platoon at third base isn't the worst thing in the world. However, you'd really like to see the Tigers find a better candidate than Don Kelly, whose 3-year .292 OBP, .391 slugging splits are only marginally better than what Mr. Inge did while struggling.
So to conclude, Inge can be a productive member of a platoon; he shouldn't be playing every day. But if the best platoon mate Detroit can put at third is Don Kelly, then Inge might just have a point.