By: Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder
This week’s Tuesday topics center around 2 Tigers struggling to hit consistently. They aren’t your typical guys we would choose to address on the same page. But we have to throw you off every once in a while.
Holly and Kurt take their best shot at addressing the offenses of the M&M boys – Miggy and McCann. Here are this week’s Tuesday questions … and answers.
What do you think is contributing to Miggy’s inconsistency at the plate?
How nice it is to have one of history’s greatest hitters playing for the Tigers. But on the downside, Miggy has spoiled us into expecting perfection from him every year and anything less has us disappointed.
But this is a different kind of year in which a couple other players have really shined in their work and taken some of the attention and dependence upon Miggy to save the day away. While he leads the team by far in walks, his other stats are right near the top but with his BA just under .300.
However, it’s hard not to notice that Miggy’s attention to the game varies from day to day. Some days, he’s locked in while during other games, he appears elsewhere – which is what concerns me.
I don’t think injury or personal issues are involved but I do see a typical situation where you have someone immensely talented who is not being harnessed effectively. Having great skills doesn’t necessarily mean you know how to use them effectively all the time. In Miggy’s case, I don’t think there is a system in place to keep him focused on what he needs to do each day or moment.
Miggy undoubtedly has the highest natural talent on the team but he needs someone to keep him focused on the necessary structure and system to maximize those skills.
Since Miggy has been plagued by so many injuries over the years, there have been legitimate excuses for downturns during the season. But this year’s inconsistencies don’t alarm me; I am not at all concerned about Miguel Cabrera.
Has he been on hot streaks? Yes, the kind we have been accustomed to over the course of his career. Has he had cold streaks? Of course. And the only thing I can pin it on is that Miggy takes at-bats off. He’s focused when he’s hot, but when he isn’t on a streak, his attention wavers.
Jim Leyland used to challenge Miggy all the time in regards to taking at-bats off. He challenged him to see how good he could be by giving everything he had every trip to the plate; a reminder may be in order.
Should we be concerned about James McCann’s offensive performance?
Now that Nick Castellanos has matured as a player, fans are naturally gravitating towards McCann next as the player who is not “bringing it.” All part and parcel of this “fast food” mentality where everyone is supposed to be performing immediately at a top level.
Two things are going on with McCann, including the learning curve associated with a sophomore year and some continuing issues with his injury. He rolled his right ankle, supporting his pivot foot, which helps with anchoring and power so it should be no surprise that he’s had problems at the plate.
The good news is that he’s getting better at recovering some of his offensive capabilities. As we get deeper into June, his average has been consistently rising. June has him hitting .320 with a couple of HRs and 5 RBIs, so he’s headed in the right direction.
But I also look at a guy who did well for his first full(ish) season in 2015. A guy who held his own and also showed great leadership skills for a rookie. I have to believe that he is not going down without a fight and will push himself to regain and grow his offensive skills.
The Tigers have bigger fish to fry than worrying about James McCann’s offense. You can’t just pretend his stint on the DL with the ankle injury didn’t happen. We don’t have the right to judge how long he needs to get back to full strength; fans don’t have any idea to what degree the injury may still be affecting him.
We have seen him hit. We know he has power. So it will come and it is coming. With this lineup, it’s not imperative that James McCann hit .280 and hit 20 bombs. His importance on this team goes far beyond what he does at the plate.
What he does behind the plate and as a leader is where the Tigers need him to perform the best. The offense is coming, so focus your offensive concerns on one Justin Upton.