Saturday, September 18, 2010

What kind of numbers would Raburn put up if he played every day?

    For nearly two years now, I have wondered: What kind of numbers would Ryan Raburn put up if he was given the opportunity to play every day?
     Next season, we may finally find out.
    You can etch the name of Austin Jackson in stone in center field for next year.
    But left field and right field are very much up in the air.
    Will the Tigers bite the $15 million bullet and bring Magglio Ordonez back next season?
    If so, will he play right field or finish his career here as the designated hitter?
    Where does faded rookie sensation Brennan Boesch fit into the picture for next year?
    What about Casper Wells, whose stock has definitely risen in recent days with 21 hits, including five doubles, two HRs and 12 RBI, in his first 57 big league at-bats?
    Such speculation, of course, is assuming the Tigers don't trade for or sign a slugging corner outfielder this winter.
    One outfielder who probably doesn't have to worry about a job next year is Raburn.
    All that remains to be determined is whether Raburn's slugging September has earned him a starting job in left field or whether he will again be a valuable reserve. Raburn is hitting .426 this month with a .634 slugging percentage.
    His surprising finish has pushed his season numbers to a respectable .276 batting average with 13 home runs and 54 RBI in 312 at-bats.
    On Aug. 4 Raburn was hitting an anemic .209 with just two HRs and 23 RBI, putting his future in a Tigers' uniform in doubt.
    Since then, he has batted .357 while delivering 11 HRs and 13 doubles and driving in 31 runs. Since Aug. 5, Raburn leads the American League with 24 extra-base hits and a .683 slugging percentage.
    Raburn also came on strong during August (.327/.592) and September (.355/.677) last season to clinch his place as an extra outfielder on this year's team. Now, if only he could get off to a good start.
    If I had to guess at this point, barring a trade or a significant free agent signing, I think it will be Raburn in left, Jackson in center, and Boesch in right, with the versatile Wells and Don Kelly in reserve next year.



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