Boesch has displayed various skills since bursting on the scene as a rookie two years ago. He can run, he can throw and he can hit for power. Jim Leyland of course is most excited about Boesch’s ability to pepper the outfield seats with his mighty muscle. Leyland also has an affinity for power in the second spot in the lineup. So, assuming Boesch hits behind Austin Jackson and ahead of Cabrera and Fielder, he may be better positioned right now than anyone this side of Mark Zuckerberg’s broker.
Boesch is my pick to have a breakout season this year. I know, going out on a limb there. Regardless, Santa Monica’s favorite son must be licking his chops at the thought of how many opportunities he will get this season. I would imagine that plenty of fastballs will be on the menu with Cabrera and Fielder sitting behind him in the lineup. But let’s assume he sees fewer fastballs this year despite the protection following him. Boesch showed good progress in 2011 with off-speed pitches. When Boesch put a curveball in play last year, he hit .300. When he swung at a change-up he hit .344. Definite progress for a guy who struggled mightily at the end of his rookie season in 2010.
Boesch also hit 11 of his 16 homers hitting third in the lineup last year right ahead of Cabrera. His numbers this season should blossom with Cabby and Fielder lurking. After an inconsistent, but promising rookie season in 2010, Boesch seemingly had taken the next step in his maturity adding almost 30 points to his average over 2010 and also had a jump in OBP, slugging and OPS.
While Fielder and Cabrera will garner most of the headlines in 2012, don’t be surprised to see Boesch blossom into one of the game’s next stars.