Alex Avila – The Future of the Detroit Tigers

I have seen the future of the catching position of the Detroit
Tigers.  His name is Alex Avila.  The sturdy 5’11”,
210 pound rookie Tiger catcher has impressed me so much, in limited
playing time, this season that I feel compelled to write this
entry.

Question – Why am I so confident about
Avila?

Answer – He’s a professional hitter that
gives the Tigers a professional at-bat every time at the
plate.

Avila is a left handed hitting catcher that
is going to hit for average and power.  It looks like he has
either read, or been instructed by someone who has read, “The Science
of Hitting” by The Splendid Splinter, Ted Williams.  He comes
to the plate looking of a particular pitch, in a particular zone, and
doesn’t swing until he gets what he’s looking for.  He can
also protect his at-bat with two strikes by fouling off good
pitches.

Once he gets more playing time he’s going
to be hard to take out of the lineup even against left handed
pitchers. 

He stands with his right shoulder tucked in towards
the plate.  This allows him to stay on the ball which is
normally a problem for left handed hitters facing left handed
pitchers.

What impressed me most about Avila is not
his hot start, five homers and 14 RBIs in 29 games and 61 at-bats, but
rather his 0-2 performance against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday,
September 30th, 2009.  He had three plate appearances in that
game, arguably the most important game of the 2009 season to that
point.

In his first at-bat he popped out on the
first pitch from Carl Pavano to shortstop Orlando Cabrera.  In
his second at-bat in the bottom of the 4th, he struck out on six
pitches.  However, in his third at-bat, in the bottom of the
6th, he worked a 5 pitch walk off of Minnesota reliever Jesse
Crain.  In that situation it would have been easy for the
rookie, having a tough night, in an important game, to go up to the
plate over anxious and get himself out.  Instead, Avila went
to the plate with his game plan and got himself on
base.

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Tiger fans, we
should hear a lot from Alex Avila in the future.

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