2011: .250/.316/.401, 12 HR, 53 RBI (with Toledo)
Career: .253/.336/.391, 8 HR, 48 RBI
ZiPS: .215/.279/.337, 8 HR, 37 RBI
Expected Role: Reserve outfielder/Toledo
We’re discussing Clete Thomas because Jim Leyland has frequently cited him as an outfield option, although I don’t think he has much of a shot at making the team. Thomas is still not that far removed from microfracture surgery, and while he got a fair amount of playing time on the major league club in 2009, the 2012 Tigers are deeper and better than that team. Assuming the Tigers take Delmon Young, Austin Jackson, Brennan Boesch, and Andy Dirks north with them, there isn’t really a spot on the roster for Thomas. ZiPS is the only one to project him, and they don’t see him doing well at all. So while Leyland may be saying good things about Thomas, it’s really difficult to imagine him claiming a spot on the Opening Day roster barring injury or a staggeringly good spring.