Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
Jhonny Peralta. While unfortunately there are quite a few players to choose from, I'm going with the Tigers shortstop. Peralta had a very slow April, with a .236/.273/.339 slash line. However, slow starts are nothing new to Peralta, who has a career OPS of just .680 in the first month of the year, nearly 100 points below his career norm. Compare that to May, when for his career he has slugged over .500 and last year in particular posted an OPS over 1.100, Peralta would appear poised to turn it up significantly over the next month. Add to that, he's likely to pick it up especially when you consider that Peralta is in the final guaranteed year of his contract and will have to produce if he hopes the Tigers are going to pick up the $6 million option he has for 2013.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
Prince Fielder. While his .308/.381/.452 line is nothing to scoff at, I do believe we can expect bigger things from Fielder in May. He's been hitting for average and taking some walks, but his power has been intermittent and I'm not sure it matches with preseason expectations of fans and analysts. Fielder has a career slugging percentage 85 points higher than his current slugging average. While he has moved to the more difficult league, a drop in slugging of that significance was not expected. I have every expectation that Fielder will settle into his new home this month and begin raking with more consistency, helping improve the overall threat presented by the Tigers offense, and hopefully helping them win more consistently.
Chris Vannini, Senior Staff Writer
Brennan Boesch. When the Tigers acquired Prince Fielder in the offseason, Boesch was supposed to be one of the biggest benefactors. With Boesch in the No. 2 spot in the lineup, he was supposed to see plenty of hittable fastballs because opposing pitchers wouldn't want to put runners on with the superstars coming up. But there was one problem: You don't need to throw strikes to get Boesch out. Boesch leads the Tigers in strikeouts (26) and has the fewest walks among regular players (2). Boesch's OPS is an ugly .559 As much as Jim Leyland has wanted Boesch to work out in the No. 2 spot, he just doesn't have the plate discipline. Leyland has finally tried something else, as Boesch has hit in the No. 8 spot in the last two games. In 63 career games in the No. 2 spot, Boesch has hit .218 with a .622 OPS. Comare that to the No. 5 hole, where he has a .283 average and .810 OPS in 63 games. Even in 57 games in the No. 3 spot, Boesch has hit .305 with a .849 OPS. Boesch is better when he can swing away and drive players in, not when he has the pressure of taking pitches and getting on base for other guys. I think Leyland will continue to move him around the lineup a little bit, but as long as he's behind Cabrera and Fielder, I'm expecting him to turn things around after a rough start.
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