One of 2014’s most frustrating players to watch for Tigers fans has been right fielder Torii Hunter. Torii’s a five-time All-Star and nine-time Gold Glover in his career. And he’s always been one of baseball’s more likable players. But this year, he has looked nothing like the old Torii. Instead, he looks like Old Torii. It’s like he has somehow aged a decade since the end of the 2013 season.
His defense is atrocious. I mean, it’s laughably bad. Magglio Ordonez was a statue at the end of his career in right. Ryan Raburn was a comedy of errors out there. And Brennan Boesch was a sick, bizarre combination of both. Torii is managing to outdo those three in the two and a half months we’ve seen this year. It’s sad.
And at the plate? Ugh. When Hunter arrived from the Angels last year, he seemed to be trying to hit every ball to right field. And he had success, lacing base hit after base hit the opposite way while putting up a .304/.334/.465 slash line. This year? He seems to be trying to pull everything. He does that goofy bat chuck after every swing, as if he thinks every ball is leaving the yard. And he takes walks about as often as Phil Coke throws clean innings. It hasn’t been a good combination.
It’s not surprising that Torii has been compared a lot to a former Tigers punching bag, Delmon Young, by several fans online. Bad defense? Check. No patience at the plate? Check. Embarrassingly low on-base percentage? Oh yeah.
But is the comparison fair? Has Hunter’s stock really fallen that far? Luckily, TigerSnark is here to solve this mystery with the exact science I like to call “Catfight”. Ten categories, Delmon vs Torii, and we’ll see who the better man is.