Some forgotten Detroit Tigers players from the 2010s
Many players have qualified for the Detroit Tigers. All-Stars, future Hall of Famers and many prospects have played at the Motor City. But there have also been many forgotten players over the years. Today, let’s look back at some Detroit Tigers from the 2010s that you may have forgotten.
Forgotten Detroit Tigers: Brennan Boesch
Back in 2010, Brennan Boesch emerged as the outfielder of the future for the Tigers. He made his major league debut on April 23, 2010 against the Texas Rangers, replacing an injured Carlos Guillen. On the first big league pitch he saw, he hit a double high off the left field wall.
A week later, Boesch hit his first major league home run, a grand slam against Los Angeles Angels’ Joel Piñeiro. He was named America League Rookie of the Month in both May and June and finished fifth in the AL Rookie of the Year poll after hitting .256 with 14 homers and 67 RBIs.
Boesch earned a spot on the Tigers’ starting lineup the following season and started his sophomore year strong, leading the American League in hits (41) and batting average (.380) in June. Brennan had a career year, hitting .283 with 121 hits, 16 homers and 75 runs scored, but he suffered a torn ligament in August and was sidelined for the remainder of the season.
In 2012, he struggled for most of the year, although he sometimes caused a stir, including two home runs by White Sox ace Chris Sale — the only home runs Sale allowed left-handed all season. In 2013, the Tigers re-signed Boesch to a one-year deal worth $2.3 million, but they also signed veteran Torii Hunter, and Boesch was cut in March.
Forgotten Detroit Tigers: Andy Dirks
Another outfielder that Detroit Tigers fans may have forgotten is Andy Dirks. He played 78 games in 2011 and 88 in 2012, then became the team’s primary left fielder in 2013 when he registered a career-high 438 at-bats in 131 games. He usually rested against left-handed pitchers, but still posted a solid .256 average while hitting nine homers and driving in 37 carries.
Dirks was best known for his appearances this season, where he was a Gold Glove Award finalist alongside Alex Gordon and Yoenis Céspedes. He made just two errors all season and finished seventh in fielding percentage (.991), fourth in putouts (211), and sixth in outfield assists with (7). But in 2014, Dirks was sidelined with a back injury and only played a dozen minor league games. He was released the following season and never played a professional game again.
Forgotten Detroit Tigers: Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Salty was one of the biggest surprises early in the 2016 season for the Detroit Tigers. He started the year in a drag role with James McCann, but took over the starting position when McCann sprained his ankle after just five games of the season. Saltalamacchia batted just .214 in April, but he impressed with power, driving in 15 carries and hitting six homers, including a grand slam against the Pirates.
Unfortunately, after a successful April, Salty’s numbers went downhill and didn’t do much after that. He finished the year with a .171 average, 12 homers and 35 RBIs. He spent 2017 with the Blue Jays and then returned to the Tigers organization in 2018 where he played 67 games for Triple-A Toledo but went 7-0 in five games with Detroit.
Forgotten Detroit Tigers: Brayan Villarreal
Brayan Villarreal brought the Detroit Tigers out of spring practice in 2011, but he battled his way to a 6.15 ERA in 16 games and spent most of the season in Toledo. He didn’t make it to the club in 2012 but quickly bounced back after Doug Fister was put on the injury list. Villarreal emerged as one of the most dependable weapons in the bullpen this season, ending the year with a 2.63 ER, a 3-5 record and 66 strikeouts in 54.2 innings. But Villarreal had a disastrous start to the 2013 season, allowing 10 earned runs in just 4.1 innings, and he was traded to the Boston Red Sox in July as part of a deal to sign shortstop Jose Iglesias.
Many other Tigers players have had a great season or two such as Quintin Berry, Will Rhymes, Shane Greene etc. Which players do you remember or have been left off this list? I hope this article has helped you spot many of the Detroit Tigers’ year-old wonders.