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Tigers report card: Don Kelly was the people's champion

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He didn't do much else, but he wasn't really asked to.

Duane Burleson

Like Brandon Inge before him, Don Kelly gets a disproportionate amount of love and hate from both ends of the Tigers' fanbase. Even Miguel Cabrera doesn't have a t-shirt company named after him. Or a well-rehearsed internet meme.

Don Kelly was a one-of-a-kind player for this Tigers team despite having perhaps the most mundane season of anyone on the roster.

PA HR RBI BA OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR
185 0 7 .245 .332 .288 .285 78 -0.3

A career .232/.296/.336 hitter, Kelly reversed his focus a bit in 2014. He only hit .245 with a .288 slugging average -- good enough for a career-worst .043 ISO -- but he walked at a healthy 10.8 percent clip and finished the year with a career-high .332 on-base percentage. This ranked fifth on the team among anyone with at least 10 plate appearances, ahead of guys like Ian Kinsler, Torii Hunter, and Alex Avila. Kelly also stole six bases, tied for sixth on the team. However, he only had six extra base hits and failed to hit a home run for the first time since 2009.

Defensively, Kelly was his usual jack of all trades. He spent time at first, second, and third base, and at all three outfield positions. Kelly was used frequently as a defensive replacement for Nick Castellanos at third, compiling -2 defensive runs saved (DRS) and a -1.7 UZR in 144 innings. He also spent 84 1/3 innings at first base (0 DRS, -1.6 UZR) and 182 innings in the outfield (0 DRS, -0.2 UZR). None of these stats are accurate measures of his actual performance given the extremely small samples involved, but Kelly has never been lauded as a spectacular defender. His value lies in his versatility, and that's what he provided for the Tigers again in 2014.

Kelly's most surprising contribution came on the bases, where he stole a career high six bags. He did so in seven attempts while reaching base just 61 times all year, though he entered as a pinch runner on multiple occasions.

Grade: C

It's hard to go any higher or lower for Kelly. He only had 185 plate appearances, but posted the highest on-base percentage of his career. He was below replacement level, but it's hard to put any stock into his defensive numbers when the samples are so small. There weren't any glaring instances where Kelly screwed up, yet he didn't have a shining moment like his home run in the 2011 ALDS. All in all, he was a perfectly adequate 25th man on the roster.