Carlos Guillen #9
- Height: 6′ 1″ | Weight: 215
- 2008 Stats: .286 – 10 HR – 54 RBI
You canâ€™t blame Carlos Guillen if heâ€™d like to forget the 2008 season. After being tapped as the starting first baseman, Guillen lasted there only a few weeks before moving across the diamond to third, where his lack of range became glaringly apparent.
Offensively, though, Guillen put together a solid, if not spectacular first half to â€™08 (.284/8/47). Back problems shortened his second half, limiting the Tigersâ€™ All-Star selection to a mere 93 at bats and shelving him altogether after Aug. 25.
A bad back likely is the cause for the dramatic drop off in power numbers from a career-high 21 homers in 2007 to just 10 in â€˜08.
The switch-hitting Guillen bats predominately from the left side and has few spots in the strike zone that he canâ€™t handle. Inside pitches â€“ both up and down in the zone â€“ give him trouble but heâ€™s skilled at hitting off-speed pitches, splitters and the fastball. From the right side (just 89 at bats in â€™08), Guillenâ€™s hot zone is the heart of the plate.
The Tigers are hoping a move to left field in 2009 will provide relief for Guillenâ€™s back and trigger a return to the production levels he had from 2004 to 2007.
Of course, if the transition to the outfield isn’t the answer, the club could be looking at another Bobby Higginson scenario: a fat investment with meager returns.