Roundtable: Shelton's Success

Ready to talk Tigers? Want to hear the opinion of the TigsTown staff on some of the hot button topics of the offseason? Welcome to the TigsTown Roundtable! This week's question: Chris Shelton has had an incredible first two weeks. Surprised? And where would you rank him among the top hitters in baseball?

Paul Wezner, Senior Editor
Well, I don't think anyone could have predicted this hot of a start from Chris Shelton - he's on a record breaking pace at this point, but obviously that isn't going to continue. When I was down in Lakeland, after observing players, these are the numbers I wrote next to Shelton's name: .310 average, 32 homers, 98 RBI, OPS over .900. At this point in time, I think I'm going to stick to that, even though he is nearly a third of the way to that home run total. Posting numbers like that makes him an excellent hitter, but not an elite one. If he outpaces those numbers, then you can begin to make an argument for including him with the best in baseball. But he still doesn't even have a full year of being an everday player at the big league level yet - let's see him do that first.

Mark Anderson, Associate Editor, Minor Leagues
Shelton has certainly put together an amazing start to the season, but I'm a little leary of it continuing at this break-neck pace. I do expect him to hit for average and power this season, and in seasons to come, but what's he's doing right now is just freakish. At some point, particularly with him hitting so low in the lineup, they'll begin to pitch around him, forcing others like Monroe or Inge to beat them. He's staking a claim as one of the up-and-coming young hitters in the AL, but I think he's got a ways to go before he's considered one of the game's top hitters. He had a very nice half season in 2005, and is starting out on fire this year; if that continues, he'll surely garner more attention from the national pundits. As of right now, I'm thrilled with his start and I hope it continues, but I'm not sure he's elevated himself out of that second tier of hitters though. It could come soon, just not quite yet.

Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I'm a little surprised by Shelton's start. I thought he would have a good year, but I didn't think he would get off to this good of a start. His eight homers in the first two weeks are a nice surprise, especially with him batting so low in the lineup, so it will be interesting to see what he does should Jim Leyland move him up in the lineup later in the season. I wouldn't put Shelton in the elite hitters category yet. He has to put up great numbers over a prolonged stretch of at-bats to be in the same company with the likes of Albert Pujols and so on, but he is definitely on that track to get there.

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