Brennan Boesch has had one of the most bizarre rides in recent Tigers history.
He toiled in the minors for a while, not really committing to baseball. But once he did, he rose steadily, and found himself in Detroit two years ago.
During the first half of that season, he played at an All-Star level, being named rookie of the month a few times, and tearing the cover off of the ball in providing protection for Cabrera.
But in the second half of that season, pitchers figured him out, and tortured him with the high fastball.
Last year, he had another strange roller-coaster season.
In April he did great, in May he did poorly, in June he was sensational and in July and August he slumped again before a thumb injury shelved him for the season.
Overall, his numbers were good. He had a .283 batting average with a respectable .341 OBP. He clubbed 16 home runs but only knocked in 54.
Further illustrating his non-traditional track, he hits better against left handed pitchers than righties.
This year, he will need to really play well.
The Tigers need hitters to get on base, and if Boesch can have an OBP around .350, he should help Cabrera and Fielder with their RBI totals, and most importantly, get the Tigers some runs.
In the first half of the year, this will be even more important.
Given how uncertain the leadoff spot has been, Boesch has added importance this year hitting second, and until the Tigers know what Austin Jackson they will be getting, he will need to be the primary table setter.
Is it likely he will break out? If not, he has only himself to blame. Since Cabrera and Fielder are hitting behind him, he is likely to get some really nice pitches to hit.