However, the corner OFs went through a complete metamorphasis. Kelly, who was an important part of the 2011 Tigers, was a non factor this season. He would hit .186 in 113 ABs. Inge, who reluctently made the team after a tough spring training, was released by Detroit early in the season eventually signing with Oakland. Raburn was terrible, hitting just .172 in 205 ABs while playing more OF than 2B. Boesch played in 132 games, hitting .240, 12, 54 and was not in the starting lineup in any of Detroit's postseason games.
The emergence of Andy Dirks is not a huge surprise. The 26 year old hit .322, 8, 35 in 88 games this season. Though it was limited time, Dirks .487 slugging percentage trailed only Fielder (.528) and Cabrera (.606) among Tigers players. Manager Jim Leyland decided to go with Berry and Avisial Garcia as a platoon in RF. This dragged on into the postseason, where Garcia, at age 21, got some postseason ABs despite batting only 47 times during the regular season (15-47, .315).
On to Berry, who was taken in the rule 5 draft? in 2011 by the New York Mets, which I have no recollection of. That was the same offseason where the Mets took 2B Brad Emaus and RHP Pedro Beato in what would have been the same draft. Perhaps it was the minor league version, as Berry had no MLB spring training ABs that season. The prior season, he was taken on waivers by the San Diego Padres from the Philadelphia Phillies, where he had spent his entire minor league career. Before coming to the Tigers organization prior to the start of the 2012 season, he spent 2011 in the Cincinnati Reds farm system.
Berry has few numbers that stand out, but did play well with the Tigers this season. Perhaps Leyland trusted him a little too much in the World Series, but it makes sense to stick with the players that got you there. See how changing the entire lineup worked for the New York Yankees. He hit .258, 2, 26 with 80 Ks in 94 games. However, he did have 21 SBs without being caught as well as 6 3Bs. And lets be honest, he was a better option than Raburn and Kelly and possibly even Boesch.