31 days until pitchers and catchers report to Lakeland. Get excited.
I'll be pitching in with these player profiles. Get twice as excited! Half as excited? Whatever.
#29 / Second Base / Detroit Tigers
Sep 30, 1985
What happened last year?
Danny Worth got into 43 games for the Tigers, though most of those came in the first half. He also made a few postseason appearances and had an at-bat during the World Series.
On the whole, Worth's offensive numbers were offensive. (guffaw, har har, apologies). Batting .216 with .257 slugging average is not good. However, he did find ways to get on base and an OBP of .330 redeemed him somewhat. Just not enough in the Tigers' eyes, earning him a trip to Toledo.
Which one? You might ask, as poor Danny was cross the Ohio-Michigan board frequently all season. But the one I'm referring to is the longer stay after the Tigers acquired Omar Infante.
The reason the Tigers kept bringing him back was two-fold: 1) He could play second base. 2) He was healthy.
As a versatile infielder in an organization without much infield defense, he hat something to hang his hat on.
What needs to happen in 2013?
Dude's got to hit better. He's on the 40-man roster, but his spot with the Tigers is far from guaranteed. Omar Infante will get most of the playing time at second base. Ramon Santiago is an organizational favorite. Jeff Kobernus ("Don Kelly II") was acquired in the Rule 5 Draft (and a trade with Boston), meaning he should get a good long look from the organization.
If Worth can't do better and if there's no injury issues in the infield, the drive up I-75 will be an infrequent one.
The part where I make a prediction based on nothing (thanks, Bill James)
Well, what do you know? Two players in a row without any Bill James projections to be found at Fangraphs. We really are nibbling around the edges to start this series, aren't we?
One might point out that Worth had a bit of bad luck and had his power pretty much fail him. Another might point out that those were both signs of a ballplayer who clearly wasn't good enough to be in the major leagues. After all, not everyone's going to be average. Some are going to be consistently better across key stats and others are going to be consistently worse up until the point they are no longer allowed another chance.
Hopefully that isn't the case with Worth. However, he has no option years remaining (as far as I can tell) and there appears to be little reason to fear losing him to other clubs via waivers.
He's probably not going to suddenly turn things around. But there's always a chance he'll find a way to make the club and his versatility will be enough to keep him there. After all, he was a member of the postseason roster. The organization sees something in him.
In any case, sink or swim, it's not going to have a big effect on the Tigers' 2013 season.