Danny Worth could a fill key role on the 2013 Detroit Tigers. The teams seems set with it’s spring training roster now that Brandon Inge has signed a minor league deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Ryan Theriot is being courted by the Indians and Dodgers. So the opportunity is there for Danny Worth to finally live up to being a Tigers 2nd round pick in 2007. In an earlier post I wrote about the Tigers lack of infield depth. The past performance of the current infield back-ups haven’t given fans must reason to think the answer is currently on the roster. That said, Danny Worth hasn’t been given much of a chance. That will change this year. Considering the potential involvement of Johnny Peralta in baseballs latest PED scandal, he may see a significant increase in playing time.
Worth has a solid glove posting a .993 fielding percentage while playing 3 positions since 2010 with the Detroit Tigers. He won’t hurt the team with the glove but hopefully he won’t be a complete liability with the bat. Last year Danny Worth fanned in 23 of his 74 at-bats with a WAR of -.03 in 2012. But there is reason to think Worth might perform better if given more opportunities. He had a career low in batting average at .216 last year but a career high in on-base percentage (.330) and walks (13). With continued improvement in plate discipline and more opportunities at the plate will Worth be able to contribute offensively this year? If he can then the Tigers will be able to focus on other needs at the trade deadline. If he can’t Dave Dombrowski might have to acquire infield depth elsewhere.
No some may think this is much ado about nothing. If you share that thought think one moment about the previously mentioned Ryan Theriot. Remember he scored the clinching run against the Tigers in the 2012 world series. He also played a key role in the St. Louis Cardinals championship run a year earlier. Was Ryan Theriot the reason the San Francisco Giants won the World Series? Of course not. However you can argue he helped them get there. Ryan Theriot hit .667 and had 3 RBI off the bench for the Giants in the 2012 NLCS.
It seems it is always the Ryan Theriots of the world that contribute to championship team. The pinch hit or pinch run by a role player most often makes the difference in a tight series. Can Danny Worth fill that key role for the 2013 Detroit Tigers? No one can be certain. What is certain however is the Tigers are willing to let him try.