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Is Quintin Berry the new Brandon Inge?

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Throwing water on Quintin Berry
Throwing water on Quintin Berry

I don't ask that to demean Quintin Berry's performance. What I mean is, the fan reaction to Berry already seems to be split into camps of people who believe he should start every game, and people who believe he is a fifth outfielder at the best. The argument for Berry goes like this: "Look at what he's done! He's batting .333. He leads the team in stolen bases already. He works counts and finds a way to get on base. He has made some highlight catches in the outfield already. HE HAD A FIVE-HIT GAMES!!! And he doesn't start? The Tigers must be crazy!'

Meanwhile, there are others out there shouting: "Slow down!! The kid isn't even a kid, he's 27. He spent his entire professional baseball career in the minor leagues -- most of that time at Double-A or below, before the Tigers gave him a chance less than a month ago. He got off to a hot start for five or six games, then hit an incredible cold patch where his on-base percentage didn't even crack .300. His batting average on balls in play is .473! You know that's going to come down. He strikes out a lot. His spectacular plays on defense are mainly because he's making up for poor routes to the ball." The camps are pretty certain about their lines in the sand, too.

Did I say Brandon Inge? I think I'm having flashbacks to Austin Jackson in 2010 instead. I agree with those who say Berry's success isn't sustainable. But Berry can be a very useful player to the Tigers, and some out there are overly critical of him. Ultimately, he's best used off the bench, but when you compare him to the also-inconsistent Brennan Boesch or Ryan Raburn, it's not exactly a cut-and-dry case that Berry sits. I think it's fine for people to enjoy his success (without a lot of pissing in their cereal), but Leyland should continue doing his best to put the rookie in a position to succeed without overexposing him.