The Detroit Tigers' 2000s All-Decade Lineup
The Detroit Tigers' franchise has gone through a whirlwind of a decade.
In 2003, they went 43-119. The lineup was composed of players like Warren Morris and Alex Sanchez. The ace of the pitching staff was Nate Cornejo. Who?
Needless to say, the Tigers were MLB's biggest surprise in 2006 when they made it all the way to the World Series.
After a blockbuster trade that sent their best two prospects to the Florida Marlins for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis, they were baseball's biggest disappointment.
However, they have still had great seasons and have been very competitive towards the end of the decade.
Here are the top individual seasons for every position from 2000 to 2009.
Catcher: 2004 Ivan Rodriguez
19 HR, 86 RBI, .334 Batting Average, .893 OPS
Pudge Rodriguez singlehandedly turned around the Detroit Tigers' franchise. He came to Detroit in 2004 and wanted to change the way this team played. He could have gone to the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox for more money, but he did not. Instead, he successfully turned around the Tigers and led by example.
The 2004 season was his best—he was an All Star, received MVP votes, and won Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards.
First Base: 2009 Miguel Cabrera
34 HR, 103 RBI, .324 Batting Average, .942 OPS
Cabrera's 2010 season could easily be the best season of his young career, but it is not a part of the decade. He has almost surpassed all of his 2009 totals this season. He will likely become one of the greatest Tigers of all time, and fans can expect to see stat lines like this for years to come.
Second Base: 2007 Placido Polanco
9 HR, 67 RBI, .341 Batting Average, .846 OPS
Polanco, along with Rodriguez, was crucial in changing the philosophy and mentality of the Tiger organization. He brought experience and a winning attitude to the clubhouse, but also backed it up with his play on the field. In 2007, he also was an All Star and was rewarded with MVP votes, a Gold Glove Award, and a Silver Slugger Award.
Shortstop: 2006 Carlos Guillen
19 HR, 85 RBI, .320 Batting Average, .920 OPS
Guillen could have appeared on this list at a number of positions, but his year at shortstop was without a doubt his best. He may be the best Tiger of the decade, is a three-time All Star, and received MVP votes in two years. The next season he hit 21 HR and 102 RBI, but his average dropped below .300.
Third Base: 2006 Brandon Inge
27 HR, 83 RBI, .253 Batting Average, .776 OPS
Inge did not necessarily have to beat out anyone for this honor. Third base has consistently been Detroit's weak spot. The previous starters were Dean Palmer, Eric Munson, Jose Macias, Chris Truby, and Craig Paquette. Fans either love him or hate him, but none of them can deny the significant part Inge played in getting the Tigers to the World Series.
Left Field: 2000 Bobby Higginson
30 HR, 102 RBI, .300 Batting Average, .915 OPS
Higginson was a fan favorite in the late 1990s and early 2000s thanks to stat lines like this. He was one of the only highlights of an otherwise terrible team. He consistently was one of the team leaders in home runs and runs batted in, but 2000 was his best season ever. Higginson simply faded in the middle of the decade and never had another year like 2000.
Center Field: 2007 Curtis Granderson
23 HR, 74 RBI, .302 Batting Average, .913 OPS
Granderson put together one of the most spectacular seasons in Tigers' history. To add to his stat line, he hit 38 doubles, 23 triples, and stole 26 bases. However, every category is a career high of his except home runs, justifying his trade to the New York Yankees.
Right Field: 2007 Magglio Ordonez
28 HR, 139 RBI, .363 Batting Average, 1.029 OPS
Ordonez won the batting title in 2007 thanks to his incredible power that included 54 doubles. He was second in the AL's MVP voting, was named to the All-Star team, and won the Silver Slugger Award. Without his season, the Tigers would have been an even bigger disappointment one year after appearing in the World Series.
Designated Hitter: 2003 Dmitri Young
29 HR, 85 RBI, .297 Batting Average, .909 OPS
Young, with his signature crooked hat and untucked shirt, was another fan favorite during his time in Detroit. He was the only highlight of one of the worst years in baseball history. He led the team in every hitting category. Who knows how many games they would have lost without him?
Stay tuned later this week for the All-Decade Pitching Staff.
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