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Detroit Tigers 2011: Breaking Down Brennan Boesch and His Chances of Success

“Brennan Boesch is an equal opportunity slugger. Right field, left field, centerfield; right handed pitcher, left handed pitcher—it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t just box himself into hitting home runs! Singles, doubles, triples and even a grand slam are all on the stat line of this young rookie’s major league career. The kid is swinging a golden bat right now and for one, I don’t see him stopping any time soon.”

-Andrew Kulha, Summer 2010

These strong words of affirmation and confidence in the player known as Brennan Boesch were written by yours truly just over a year ago.

I look at them now with a longing feeling in the pit of my stomach knowing that the All-Star break came, and the rookie slugger that Detroit was falling in love with utterly disappeared in the second half of the Tigers' season.

After coming up to the MLB a few weeks after the start of the season, Boesch had a batting average of .342 and hit 12 home runs before the All-Star break.

He was one of the hottest young names in baseball and was seemingly pounding the ball out of the park at will.

To make things better, rookie Austin Jackson was also emerging to be one of the better young performers in the league, and the two together were sparking quite a fire in the hearts of Tiger fans.

Unfortunately, the Tigers had no choice but to move into the second half of the season though, and as if it were tradition, they fell apart.

Brennan Boesch took it upon himself to adhere to the tradition as well.

Boesch hit just .163 and had a .222 slugging percentage in the second half of the season.

There seemed to be something that was completely off with him, and, at first, I had no idea why.

Where was the confident young lefty power bat that I knew and loved in the first part of the season?

Well, upon further investigation, I was able to figure out a couple things about Brennan Boesch that seemed to lead to his undoing.



1. Pitchers Made Adjustments, and He Did Not.


Game tape is and incredibly valuable asset to professional ball players, and I think in the case of Boesch it was very much so understated. In the second half of the season, opposing pitchers had already faced him at least once, if not two or three times, and, even if they hadn’t, they had plenty of film to be watching on him.

They were able to make adjustments to his game. He was not.



2. Lack of Plate Discipline.


I’m not sure how many times I watched Boesch swing at a pitch way outside of the zone, but I know that I couldn’t count those times on my hands or my toes.

He was a dangerous threat to knock one out of the park if you threw inside on him, so pitchers naturally started throwing them low and away.

Boesch was never able to recognize that it was okay to take a few walks here and there, and by doing so, he would be forcing pitchers to actually throw to his strengths a bit more.



3. Inexperience in the Field.


Boesch made some very athletic plays out in right field, but his overall lack of experience really showed. He misplayed too many balls, and he seemed to be getting a slow jump. This does not have much to do with his batting average obviously, but I think it played into his psyche, which in turn affected his overall swagger at the plate.



Can Brennan Boesch Make a Comeback?


Now, things have a chance to be different for Boesch in the 2011 MLB season, and I’m thinking that, if he worked on these three things, he might have a chance to come back to his normal form.

The thing about him is that you almost have to love him!

He is a young power hitter that has shown incredible potential, and, to be quite frank, I think he has one of the most beautiful left-handed swings I have seen in my lifetime.

If I am able to see these things in him, then I am sure that the Tigers' staff has had to notice.

We could only hope that he has spent the offseason working on improving his faults, and that the extra year of experience will really start to show.

He won’t be in the starting lineup come opening day, but I can almost guarantee you that if he starts showing signs of getting back to his pre All-Star game form, Jim Leyland will have him on the card batting sixth or seventh in a heartbeat.

Boesch would be an incredible addition to an already powerful lineup, and I think he has all the makeup of a young star.

He just has to get it done and prove that he is not a fluke.

The pressures on though, because the expectations in Detroit are going to be very high for the Detroit Tigers in 2011.

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