The Detroit Tigers are entering the next phase of the rebuilding process. They finished the season close to .500 ball, shattering expected win projections.
While the outfield is beginning to round into place, there is still room for improvement. The Wins Above Average (WAA) for the outfield position as compared to the rest of the league has the Detroit Tigers ranked 24th of 30.
Twelve players saw at least an inning in the outfield, but for the purposes of this discussion, not all were primarily outfielders. Eric Haase, for example, caught more games than he played in left. Infielders Niko Goodrum and the Castros, Willi, and Harold (no relation) had only spot appearances in the outfield. And Jacob Robson played in just four games in August–his first four games ever in the MLB–so his sample size is too small to consider fairly.
That leaves seven players who made up the outfielding corps for the 2021 Tigers roster.
Below are the 2021 grades for the Detroit Tigers’ top outfield group.
Robbie Grossman, LF/RF: A-
Robbie Grossman was the most consistent piece of the outfield for the Tigers. He appeared in all but six games, neatly splitting his time between the corner fields. He led the team in home runs and stolen bases. While his batting average was low (.239), his on-base percentage (.357) also led the team. This is due, in part, to a high walk rate of 14.6%.
Simply put, he was a significant part of the team’s run-scoring. He was an average defender as well, although he played better in right field than in left. The Tigers will need to decide what to do with him within the next year because he will become a free agent in 2023. Grossman could become an attractive trade piece if they are not in the conversation for a playoff spot in the early summer. For that matter, he was already subject to trade rumors this past season.