Detroit Tigers: Should JaCoby Jones be moved up in the batting order?

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Jacoby Jones’ consistent effort at the plate can provide the Detroit Tigers with a spark at the top of the lineup.

Detroit Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire will be forced to consider shuffling the top of the team’s batting order now that injured first baseman C.J. Cron has been placed on the 10-day Inactive List with a sprained left knee.

Putting outfielder JaCoby Jones near the top of the batting order could potentially pay dividends for a Tigers team that surprisingly finds itself in the playoff hunt. Nearing mid-August, it’s safe to proclaim that Jones has been the most consistent Tigers’ hitter in a lineup that has embodied an “all-or-nothing” approach at the plate.

He currently leads the team in every traditional, statistical category including batting average, home runs, and runs batted in. However, it’s his on-base percentage that’s most intriguing. By sending Cron to the IL, the Tigers lose protection for aging slugger Miguel Cabrera and the threat of a power-hitter near the top of the order.

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Electing Jones to replace the first baseman in one of the lineup’s top-four spots could help fill the void left by his departure, and has the potential to be an upgrade.

Leading the team in hits, it makes more sense to allow second-baseman Jonathan Schoop to continue his table setting ways in the two-hole for the Tigers.

By doing so, Gardenhire would have the option to insert Jones in either the leadoff or cleanup positions while simultaneously deciding whether to allow shortstop Niko Goodrum to remain up top or slot down behind Cabrera.

Jones and Goodrum have both been the team leaders thus far when the opportunity to drive in baserunners arises. Taking advantage of Jones’ patient approach at the plate would certainly benefit the Tigers from a run-scoring perspective.

Right now, Goodrum is more of a free-swinger and would be better suited to protect Cabrera. By doing this, the top four hitters in the Tigers’ order would see an increased chance to drive in runs.

Jones’ OBP is nearly one-hundred points higher than Goodrum’s at this point. Both aren’t necessarily incredible at drawing walks, but Jones places the bat on the ball more often instead of striking out and sees more pitches.

It’s the leadoff hitter’s job to serve as a catalyst and place the table for the team’s big swingers, and the outfielder would undoubtedly do that while remaining a power threat from the moment the first pitch of the game is thrown.

Honestly, it doesn’t make much sense to have Jones at the bottom of the lineup receiving fewer opportunities because he’s been the team’s most productive hitter. The Tigers need a consistent impact bat at the top of the lineup for opposing pitchers to fear, and the always-improving slugger profiles better as a leadoff man.

If Gardenhire sits down and takes a moment to analyze the numbers, he will be able to see what the team is missing out on.

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By making the moves now while he has the opportunity, the Detroit Tigers may take off and go on a run that would catapult them to first place in the AL Central Division while awaiting Cron’s impending return where he would profile better in the fifth-spot.