Just last season, the Detroit Tigers were trying to trade Brandon Inge, now he’s having a career season.
Inge as been one of the many reasons the Tigers are leading the American League Central Division. Inge is quietly hitting .274 with 12 home runs and 33 RBI. To put this season in perspective, he only drove in 51 runs all of last season.
Inge tends to get overlooked because of the quality of players at his position. Names like Alex Rodriguez, Evan Longoria, and Mike Lowell overshadow Inge.
Even though Inge isn’t a household name, he needs to be considered for the AL All-Star Team. The fans will most likely vote Longoria to start at third, which Longoria rightfully deserves. Longoria is in a zone of his own this season.
However, Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon needs to take a serious look at Inge when assembling the All-Star Team.
One should point out that Inge isn’t at the top of the AL among third baseman in batting average, but he is in all other offensive categories.
Among his position in the AL, Inge is tied with Longoria for the most home runs (12), second in runs scored (31), fourth in slugging percentage (.535), and third in OPS (.902).
Sounds like All-Star type numbers to me.
It’s not only at the plate, but in the field too. Inge currently posses a .966 field percentage with only four errors in 400 and 1/3 innings, and could be on his way to winning a Gold Glove. Those are some solid numbers for a corner infielder.
Part of why Inge is having a great season, in my opinion, is that he’s back at third base. After the Tigers traded Ivan Rodriguez to the New York Yankees last season, Inge was forced to catch because Detroit simply had no one else.
Inge struggled down the stretch, hitting only .205 with 11 homers and only 51 batted in, his worse numbers since 2003. Inge at third base works better.
Even when he was the everyday catcher for Detroit from 2001-03, Inge struggled until he moved to third in 2004, when he hit .287, which is his career best.
But now that Inge is back at third, he’s more calm and collected, and it’s showing at the plate and in the field, as he’s become one of the most fundamentally sound third baseman in the league.
Inge is pretty much the total package MLB managers are looking for in a third baseman, and his breakout this season needs to recognized.
Inge’s season so far proves he should be on the All-Star team, and if the Tigers go on to the win the division, Inge would be one of the reasons why.