Detroit Tigers: What Are Ideal Expectations for Torii Hunter?
While he wasn't the "big name" free-agent signing that many Tiger fans were hoping for, Torii Hunter is a great addition to this Detroit team.
Not only will he add an incredible glove to roam the outfield of Comerica Park, but he will also add a fair amount of offense as well as a natural leader in the clubhouse.
Even though there are some who still believe that Hunter will provide the same offensive output that he did during the 2012 season with the Angels, it is important to have realistic expectations going into 2013.
Speaking of last season, Hunter put up incredible numbers:
.313 BA, .817 OPS, 92 RBI and only 38 walks.
Being that Hunter is 37 years old, it is unlikely that he will be able to put up these types of numbers for a second consecutive season.
It is more likely that Hunter's 2013 season will look very similar to his overall career numbers:
.277 BA, .801 OPS, 71.4 average RBI per season and 36.06 average walks per season.
As it stands, Hunter will most likely man the No. 2 spot in the Tigers' lineup, which will be incredibly formidable since he will bat after a revived Austin Jackson and 2012 MVP Miguel Cabrera.
More interestingly, Hunter had a career-high WAR (Wins Above Replacement) of 5.5 during 2012.
It would be amazing if Hunter were able to accomplishment this feat, but most fans should ideally expect a WAR of close to 3.0 based on his recent seasons.
2011 - 3.4, 2010 - 2.7, 2009 - 5.0, 2008 - 3.1, 2007 - 3.6, 2006 - 3.0
If Hunter is able to stay close to his career averages, he will offer the Tigers a very good upgrade over last season's outfield by platoon.
Defensively, Hunter is expected to be elite, as he has been throughout his career.
He is a nine-time Gold Glove award winner, with his most recent triumph coming in the 2009 season.
His speed and his ability to read the ball while it is in the air will make him a valuable asset in the spacious confines of the Comerica Park outfield.
Hunter limited himself to only four errors in 2012 and only three in 2011. No one is expecting him to be perfect, but there is no doubt that he is an improvement over the Tigers' former outfielders.
Overall, fans should not expect Hunter to come in and immediately take over with an offensive onslaught and an error-less 2013 defensively.
However, they should expect him to come to the field everyday, showing his true passion of the game while providing the Tigers with a pivotal new piece that may escalate them to another World Series.
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