Torii Hunter | Right Field | #48
2014 salary: $14 million
2013 statistics: .304/.334/.465, 17 HR, 37 2B, 5 3B, 3 SB, 26 BB, 113 K
Projected role: Right field
Torii Hunter remains Torii Hunter, even at his advanced age. He’s still swinging more and walking less on account of batting second, but he hit .300 again and slugged better than he did in his equally age-defying 2012 season in Anaheim. If you look strictly at WAR, his 2013 was on par with some of his prime years in Minnesota.
Of course, no amount of dedication can fend off age forever, nor can it fend off a second straight season of slightly inflated BABIP. Hunter might not hit .300 again, but if he can maintain an OPS in the neighborhood of .750 – like ZiPS projects he will – he’ll be fine. It looks like he’ll still hit second so expect his aggressive approach to continue. Hopefully a bit less bunting for hits, though.
The biggest disappointment of Hunter’s first season in Detroit, though, would have to be his defense. Hunter came with a reputation as a leading defensive outfielder and, while it’s true that age was bound to slow him somewhat, Fangraphs’s defensive metric ranked his 2013 as the worst defensive season of his career. While defensive metrics are notoriously finicky, those who watched Torii regularly would certainly attest to the fact that he wasn’t quite as advertised. Improvement is probably too much to ask for, but further decay would be bad news.