Late last week the Tigers re-signed third baseman Brandon Inge to a two-year, $11.5 million contract (with an option for 2013).  He showed significant power in 2009, but the numbers just weren’t there last season:

  • 580 At Bats
  • .247 Batting Average (127 Hits)
  • 13 Home Runs
  • 70 RBI
  • 47 Runs
  • Four Stolen Bases
  • .321 On Base Percentage
  • .397 Slugging Percentage
  • .305 Batting Average on Balls in Play

He’s never been one to hit for a good average, with a career .237 mark.  The strikeout rate is the big reason why, posting a 26.1 percent mark last season.  He’s actually been consistently worse then that over the prior three seasons:

  • 2007 – 29.5 percent
  • 2008 – 27.1 percent
  • 2009 – 30.2 percent

Amazingly, the only reason he hit for as high an average as he did in 2010 was because he posted a .288 average at home (based on a .365 BABIP).  Over the prior few years his home average has been .247, .238 and .229.

It’s scary, but when you couple the likelihood that he strikes out more and struggles at home, there’s a good chance that his average regresses in 2011.

We all know that you don’t select Inge for his average, but you hope to get power out of it.  He hit 27 HR in 2009 based on a 15.4 percent HR/FB.  However, he regressed to 7.4 percent in ‘10 and has only posted a double-digit rate in one other season during his career (14.3 percent in 2006, when he also hit 27 home runs).

Outside of those two seasons, he has never hit more then 16 HR.  Is that really the type of power you want to see from a 3B that is not likely to hit above .250?

I know the position is shallow, but it’s not that shallow.

While he’s shown power in the past, he’s just not a lock to do so again.  Even in deeper formats, he’s a fringe corner infielder, at best.  While there’s upside, there is significantly more risk then fantasy owners should want to take.  Inge is a player that should be avoided on draft day in all formats (outside of AL-only leagues).

If he gets hot, use him while you can off the waiver wire and then move on.  That’s all he’s good for.

What are your thoughts?  Am I being too harsh?  Would you consider using Inge under any circumstance?

Make sure to check out our review of other players who struggled in 2010 and their prospects for a rebound:


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