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Ryan Raburn is tearing it up so far in spring training. Hitting for an outstanding .458 average, Raburn is solidifying his worthiness as a starter in some form in Motown.
Where Raburn lacks is his defense. He won't impress anyone in the infield, although he would probably be a serviceable second baseman from a defensive standpoint.
If his offense stays up to par, though, it would be crazy to think that Raburn shouldn't be a starter at second base going into this season.
Raburn has been one of the best home run hitters in all of baseball so far in spring training, as his five home runs have also pushed his slugging percentage up to 1.250.
While Ramon Santiago has had a pretty impressive spring training—he's hitting at a .333 mark in eight games—it is highly unlikely that Santiago will get the start at this point.
The biggest benefit of starting Santiago would be his ability to hit from both sides of the plate. The Tigers need a switch hitter in the lineup, and Santiago would fill that role nicely.
That being said, Santiago didn't perform well in his previous attempt as a full-time starter, which may make the organization reluctant to give him the opportunity again.
Brandon Inge has been Detroit's sweetheart for quite some time. Fans have loved his blue-collar, never-quit style of playing defense.
Those fans have started to disperse as of late, especially with how poorly Inge hit last year.
When the Tigers signed first baseman Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera made the move to third. This left Inge without a place to start, forcing him to decide whether he'd be a role player or fight to be a starter. He chose the latter.
Based on last season's performance, one could argue that Inge doesn't deserve to start at any position. However, the Tigers are paying him a lot of money, and it seems as though Inge always finds his way back into the starting lineup.
Although I do not believe Inge will be the Opening Day starter at second, I do expect him to get a decent amount of starts at the position.
Danny Worth and Don Kelly